Museum to be set up in memory of late Saudi maestro

Tariq Abdul-Hakim passed away in 2012 leaving behind a plethora of great works.
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Updated 19 August 2020

Museum to be set up in memory of late Saudi maestro

  • Tariq Abdul-Hakim’s personal belongings, works will be put on a display in late 2022

JEDDAH: A museum in Jeddah will be dedicated to the life and work of Tariq Abdul-Hakim, the maestro who composed the Saudi national anthem. Abdul-Hakim, who died in 2012 at the age of 92, was known as “the dean of Saudi art.”

“It’s a dream come true,” said the son of the late artist, Sultan Tariq Abdul-Hakim. 

The museum will be inaugurated in late 2022, and will be located in Beit Al-Manoufi in Historic Jeddah and will feature items showcasing local music history and the artist’s contributions to the Kingdom’s arts scene.

Sultan told Arab News about how the culture minister met him and put forward the suggestion to “obtain my father’s collectibles and display them the way they should be displayed.”

“We, the family of Tariq Abdul-Hakim, thank our government and the Culture Ministry,” he said adding that it was possibly one of the happiest moments since the demise of his father 8 years ago.

“This was his dream and he worked hard to achieve this dream for about 40 years. Even though he is not with us, his memory will remained etched in the memories of his loving fans, appreciated by his peers and what he gave back to the country in the form of art, music and traditional folklore,” Sultan said.

According to Sultan, the museum will include a collection of Abdul-Hakim’s personal archives and belongings, including musical instruments, 3,000 reels for his recordings, army uniform, photo albums, and some music pieces by leading Arab singers such as Umm Kulthoum and Mohammed Abdul Wahab, as well as visual and audio exhibits of him performing his compositions.

The museum will be divided into two main sections, the first to showcase the personal history of the late artist, and the second a center for musical research, including archives on Saudi and Arab music.

Tariq Abdul-Hakim  was a composer, musician and historian who collected musical artifacts, antiques and manuscripts, and had a passion for folklore.

Born in 1920 in Taif, he excelled in performing famous local dances and folk music before learning about oud as well as contemporary and new music.




Tariq Abdul-Hakim, left, with famous Palestinian violinist Abbud Abel Al. (Supplied)

His fascination with Saudi folklore grew from a young age as he helped his father till their land, singing folk songs with other farmers. 

“He bought his first oud for only SR15 ($4) much to the displeasure of many at that time,” said his son Sultan in a TV interview about the life of his late father. “But he soon excelled at it, paving the way to help spread his region’s folk music and his career later on in life.”

After joining the Saudi army, he was sent to Egypt in 1952 as the first Saudi to study military band music, where he learned to read and write musical notes on the request of the then-Defense Minister Prince Mansour bin Abdul Aziz. 

The prince called my father and told him about his idea of establishing an army music institute,” said Sultan. 

“He got the idea after King Abdul Aziz’s official visit to Egypt where he was welcomed by an army band and played the national anthems of both countries. That’s when my father’s skills as a composer came to be put to good use for generations to come.”

Upon his return to the Kingdom, and retiring from the army years later, the late composer worked with some of the greatest names in the Arab world such as Wadee Al-Safi, Samira Ahmed, Talal Maddah, Mohammed Abdo, Mohammed Qindeel and Najat Al-Sagheera. He composed music for poems written by Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal, Ibrahim Khafaji, Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Saleh Jalal and many others.

Abdul-Hakim brought great attention to national folk heritage, introducing Saudi music to the world. His first song “Ya Reem Wadi Thageef,” written by Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal and composed by the late artist was one of the top requested songs on Saudi television’s “Sawt Al-Arab” music show for 4-5 years straight. Some of Saudi Arabia’s most famous songs in the 1970s and 80s were composed by the late artist such as Heyam Younes’ “Talaq Qalbi,” Fahd Ballan’s “Ana Inta,” Talal Maddah’s “Aash meen shafak” and “Jameel wa Asmar.”

He wrote more than a dozen books and manuscripts covering regional music, instruments, and musicians. 

He also wrote several works on a range of cultural and heritage topics, from traditional food to games, legends and sayings. He composed more than 500 musical pieces sung by over 100 singers from across the Arab world, 10 symphonies and 36 patriotic songs during the Gulf war.

In 1972, Abdul-Hakim helped found the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts.

FASTFACTS

• The museum will be located in Beit Al-Manoufi in Historic Jeddah.

• It will include a collection of Tariq Abdul-Hakim’s personal archives and belongings, including musical instruments, 3,000 reels for his recordings, army uniform, photo albums, and some music pieces by leading Arab singers.

• The second section of the museum will serve as a center for music research.

Four years later, he was appointed head of folklore in the Kingdom, and formed a national band to perform at major events.

He was recognized locally and internationally, and in 1981 he won the UNESCO International Music Award, thus becoming the first Arab to receive the award and the sixth musician in the world to be awarded the honor.

In 1983, he was elected president of the Arab Music Council of the Arab League, and re-elected in 1987, where he served as the representative of Saudi Arabia.

The “dean of Saudi art” passed away in 2012 leaving behind a plethora of great works still sung and loved by many to this day.


Saudi health authorities ready to join trials of COVID-19 vaccines

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Health is working with a different Chinese company to evaluate whether the vaccine it is developing is effective. (REUTERS)
Updated 22 September 2020

Saudi health authorities ready to join trials of COVID-19 vaccines

  • Ministry of Health and King Abdullah International Medical Research Center have been working with two Chinese drug companies

JEDDAH: King Abdullah International Medical Research Center (KAIMRC) in Saudi Arabia is preparing to take part in advanced trials of one or two COVID-19 vaccines.

About 40 potential vaccines are being tested on humans, nine of which are at the advanced stage of clinical trials to evaluate their safety and effectiveness in protecting people against a virus that has infected more than 31 million people around the world.

The center confirmed its readiness to cooperate with the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health and the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) and participate in tests of one or two of the nine vaccines that are in the third phase of clinical trials, during which large-scale testing on humans takes place.

Dr. Naif Al-Harbi, the head of KAIMRC’s drug-development unit, told Al-Ekhbariya TV news channel that it is unprecedented to have nine vaccines in stage three of clinical trials so soon, less than a year, after the emergence of a new virus.

“Approval or disapproval of any drug normally follows the third stage of its clinical trials, which is the last stage,” he added. “Since the pandemic, KAIMRC has been in continuous contact with a number of drug companies in four countries (that are developing vaccines).”

KAIMRC has been working with one Chinese pharmaceutical company in particular to help evaluate and accelerate the development of its vaccine, he said.

“Over the past two months, we have been in contact with Sinovac to scientifically evaluate its product, in term of the tests on animals and a study of the results of stages one and two on humans,” Al-Harbi said.

He added that the Kingdom’s Ministry of Health is working with a different Chinese company to evaluate whether the vaccine it is developing is effective. A number of factors are taken into consideration when reaching a conclusion.

“We examine the drugs and make sure they have caused no side effects when tested on humans, or that they just caused insignificant side effects,” said Al-Harbi. “We also look into the manufacturing company’s profile to ensure it follows the standards of the good manufacturing practices, and that the company’s products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.”

He added that SFDA is also doing a great job in ensuring that vaccines are safe, to avoid any risks to the health of people in the Kingdom.

In a message posted on Twitter, KAIMRC said that some countries, such as Russia, China and the UAE, have given doctors the green light to use some vaccines on patients before that have been approved, but only in emergency cases and when the results of early clinical studies indicate that the vaccine is safe.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia announced 27 additional COVID-19-related deaths. The death toll in the country now stands at 4,512.

Meanwhile, 492 new cases have been confirmed in the Kingdom, bringing the total number of people infected by the virus to 330,246. Of those, 14,235 cases remain active and 1,133 patients are in a critical condition.

The Ministry of Health said Makkah recorded the highest number of new cases, with 58, followed by Jeddah with 53, and Madinah with 38.

A further 1,060 people in the Kingdom have recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recoveries to 311,499. A total of 6,093,601 tests for the virus have been carries out in the country, including 43,652 in the past 24 hours.