Top UK band Jamiroquai lauds ‘magical’ concert venue for Saudi festival performance

We can’t wait to see how our funky sounds work in what looks like a truly one-of-a-kind venue — Maraya Concert Hall. Jay Kay
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Updated 04 February 2020

Top UK band Jamiroquai lauds ‘magical’ concert venue for Saudi festival performance

  • Jay Kay: “We were delighted to be invited to this ancient and unique city and are eager to learn more about its culture and history”
  • During their career, Jamiroquai have sold more than 26 million albums worldwide

ALULA: The lead singer of world-famous band Jamiroquai has said he “can’t wait” to perform at AlUla’s “magical” concert venue this weekend.

The award-winning English funk and acid jazz group will be taking to the stage at the Maraya Concert Hall during the second Winter at Tantora festival.

Singer-songwriter and the band’s lead vocalist, Jay Kay, said: “We were delighted to be invited to this ancient and unique city and are eager to learn more about its culture and history.

“We also can’t wait to see how our funky sounds work in what looks like a truly one-of-a-kind venue, the magical, mirrored Maraya Concert Hall. It is a privilege to be able to play around the world and look forward to bringing the party to AlUla.”

The hall is the largest mirror-constructed theater in the world, can hold 500 people, and is fitted with a high-quality sound system. The event, organized by the Royal Commission for AlUla, is being held in the city to showcase its unique location, scenic landscapes, history and culture.

Jamiroquai, from London, will perform a selection of their greatest hits which helped define music in the 1990s and beyond.

Fronted by Kay, the group was formed in 1992, and is best known for hits including “Canned Heat,” “Virtual Insanity,” which won video of the year at the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, and “Deeper Underground,” which topped the charts in the UK. All eight of their albums made it into the British top 10 charts with three reaching the No. 1 spot.  

During their career, Jamiroquai have sold more than 26 million albums worldwide. Their third album, “Traveling Without Moving” (1996), was named in the Guinness Book of Records as the best-selling funk album in history.

The band also won the Ivor Novello Award for outstanding song collection from the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, in addition to a Grammy, two Billboard Music Awards, and 16 nominations for The BRIT Awards. The Winter at Tantora festival includes many other attractions including local markets, a winter garden, farms and the Old Town of AlUla.

Over the course of 12 weeks, the festival is presenting a range of activities merging Eastern and Western culture, embodying AlUla’s heritage as a meeting point for different civilizations from around the world.

The event takes place every weekend until March 7, and visitors will get the chance to tour the historic heritage sites before they close to the public until October this year. Musical and artistic performances by some of the most respected Arab and international artists will also be staged.

The rebirth of AlUla
Hegra, ancient city of the Nabataeans in Saudi Arabia’s historic AlUla Valley, is emerging from the mists of time to take its rightful place as one of the wonders of the world

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Pompeo arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks on Iran

Updated 19 February 2020

Pompeo arrives in Saudi Arabia for talks on Iran

  • Pompeo will hold talks with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as well as Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan
  • After Riyadh, he will fly to Oman to meet the new sultan, Haitham bin Tariq, on Friday

RIYADH: The US Secretary of State landed in Riyadh on Wednesday for talks with Saudi Arabia’s leaders focused on countering Iran.
Mike Pompeo’s visit is his first to the Kingdom since the US killed Iran’s powerful military commander Qassem Soleimani.
He will hold talks with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as well as Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan, State Department officials said.
"We'll spend a lot of time talking about the security issues with the threat from the Islamic Republic of Iran in particular," Pompeo told reporters in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa before heading to Riyadh.
Pompeo said the United States was "prepared to talk anytime" to Iran but emphasised that the Iranian regime has "got to fundamentally change their behavior".
"The pressure campaign continues. It's not just an economic pressure campaign, its diplomatic pressures, isolation through diplomacy as well," he said.

US President Donald Trump in 2018 withdrew from a nuclear accord with Iran and imposed sweeping sanctions aimed at reducing Tehran's regional clout.

Pompeo's three-day visit to Saudi Arabia comes after an increase in regional tensions following the drone strike last month in Baghdad that killed Soleimani. 
Iran responded with missile strikes on US forces in Iraq.

Speaking in Riyadh, Pompeo said that the US will not tolerate Iran’s attacks on American troops in Iraqi bases.

Earlier, he warned that the US would respond to Iranian attacks on its troops in Iraq.

“We are mindful that it cannot become ordinary course that the Iranians through their proxy forces in Iraq are putting the lives of Americans at risk,” he said.

He added that there “has to be accountability connected to those very serious attacks.”

Iran has also been blamed for a drone and missile strike on two Saudi Aramco facilities in September that temporarily shut down more than 5 percent of global oil supply.

Pompeo also said he would discuss a broad range of issues including the economic relationship between the two countries during his visit to the Kingdom. 

Last week, Saudi Arabia and the US celebrated the 75th anniversary of the USS Quincy meeting between President Franklin Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz.

Roosevelt and King Abdulaziz met on board the USS Quincy in 1945 and the first encounter between a US president and a Saudi King laid the foundation for the broad strategic partnership shared by the two countries today.

After Riyadh, Pompeo will fly to Oman to meet the new sultan, Haitham bin Tariq, on Friday.
Pompeo will offer condolences over the death of his predecessor Sultan Qaboos, who was the Arab world's longest-serving leader and served as a go-between for Iran and the United States.

*With AP