Young Saudi pianist shines in Riyadh Season

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Suliman Al-Mayouf. (AN photo by Noor Nugali)
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Suliman Al-Mayouf.
Updated 28 October 2019

Young Saudi pianist shines in Riyadh Season

  • The lack of music institutes in Saudi would have forced many others to quit, but Al-Mayouf refused to give up and kept following his passion by learning from YouTube and other sources

RIYADH: A young Saudi pianist winning fans with his dazzling displays in Nabd Al-Riyadh as part of Riyadh Season has revealed he is self-taught — and began playing only two years ago.
Suliman Al-Mayouf’s performances have marked him as one of the season’s outstanding talents.
However, the young musician told Arab News his passion for piano developed completely by chance while on a family holiday in Paris.
“I woke up late and there was a piano in our hotel. Out of curiosity I went and played it,” he said.
“The next day I watched a tutorial on how to play and went back and tried the same piece. My father was listening and was amazed. He said, I can tell from your fingers that you are made to be a pianist.”
The self-taught pianist wants to make music that Saudi audiences enjoy. His unique compositions explore Arab heritage and culture, while he also performs popular pieces including the theme to “Titanic” and “Fur Elize,” one of Beethoven’s best-known works.
Al-Mayouf said that his main source of inspiration for creating his pieces is the Italian pianist and composer Ludovico Einaudi.

Creating art is a basic part of building a society.

Suliman Al-Mayouf, Saudi pianist

The lack of music institutes in Saudi would have forced many others to quit, but Al-Mayouf refused to give up and kept following his passion by learning from YouTube and other sources. Now he wants other Saudi beginners to follow the same path.
“Creating art is a basic part of building a society,” he said.
The pianist said that Vision 2030 reforms have brought endless opportunities for talented artists and musicians to perform in public places such as cafes, restaurants, events and festivals.
“The best part of being a pianist is the love of the people,” he said.
Al-Mayouf said that the future belongs to “artists and dreamers” who will express the beauty of the Kingdom through art and music.
“You don’t need to learn from a music institute. You only need to be passionate about music, and to rely on yourself and teach yourself,” he said.


Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”