Saudi artists ready to unleash their musical talents

Saudi artists ready to unleash their musical talents
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Many Saudis have acquired their musical knowledge through self-teaching from YouTube or private classes, but that will now change with specialized schools. (Shutterstock)
Saudi artists ready to unleash their musical talents
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Many Saudis have acquired their musical knowledge through self-teaching from YouTube or private classes, but that will now change with specialized schools. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 29 December 2020

Saudi artists ready to unleash their musical talents

Saudi artists ready to unleash their musical talents
  • Warm welcome for ministry’s decision to issue the first licenses to two musical training institutes

JEDDAH: Saudis have welcomed the Minister of Culture’s decision to issue the first licenses to two musical training institutes in the Kingdom, with a specialized online platform to be launched in 90 days.

“I announce the issuance of the first license for two music institutes in the Kingdom,” said Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan on Monday.
He called on enthusiasts in the music sector to apply via the platform. “I call everyone interested in the private and nonprofit sectors to submit license applications for institutes in various cultural fields through the platform that will open in 90 days.”
In addition to providing cultural and artistic training programs, the platform will allow individuals in the cultural and artistic fields to officially obtain licenses.
The licenses cover different artistic and cultural fields, including theater, music, literature, publishing, translation and museums.
There are three licenses for music practitioners that cover musicians, music acoustics and music production.
Many Saudis have acquired their musical knowledge through self-teaching from YouTube or private classes, but that will now change with specialized schools.
“I am very pleased with the announcement as it only shows the country’s great efforts in achieving its vision when it comes to the arts and music,” Sawsan Al-Bahiti, the first Saudi female opera singer, told Arab News.
Al-Bahiti is also the owner of a music institute called the Soulful Voice, which focuses on vocal coaching, but teaches other areas of music including production and theory.

SPEEDREAD

● A specialized online platform to be launched in 90 days to allow cultural and artistic institutes and individuals to obtain licenses. ● More talented Saudi people will be able to receive appropriate music training.

She said that she would apply for the license and is looking forward to advancing her music institute. “Such an initiative, of course, gives a structure and legislative body to providers in the music sector, and it sets them to a certain standard in the Kingdom. We can now look forward to the quality of music training and education here.”
Loulwa Al-Sharif, a Saudi musician, is a pianist and soul, blues and jazz live singer who has six years’ experience. She hailed the initiative, and told Arab News: “It makes me so happy to finally have music schools as we have many interested in learning music and we really need these schools.
“I think this initiative is going to help the music sector in the Kingdom to grow bigger because we have a lot of Saudi youth with very amazing talents who are interested in learning music. Needless to say, the only guide available for them is YouTube, friends with music backgrounds or traveling abroad.”
The initiative will also contribute to raising the quality of output in culture and the arts. “We need to learn varieties in music genres in order to raise the quality of talented people we have and show the world the hidden talents of the Saudi community. I would love to apply and learn and be an effective part of the music world in the Kingdom,” Al-Sharif said.
Moiz Rehman, a musician from Jeddah, has been a self-taught music instructor since 2011. He plays guitar, bass and various percussion instruments. “I have mentored various local musicians with their work and refining their musicality over the years,” he said.
“I think the initiative is outstanding and rather long overdue. There is an abundance of musical talent in the Kingdom. The targeted demographic is ready for it, and this, in the long term, will bring about significant cultural and socio-economic change and progress.”
One of the crucial things about such an institution is that it would inform and educate musicians on two key aspects of their musical aspirations, said Rehman. “The first of which would be performance, which mainly includes building and practicing their craft. Second, the business and commercial side of it, which, to put it briefly, involves getting your craft out there, promoting and driving an income out of it.”
Aseel Ashary, who is interested in music and writing, told Arab News that everyone needs music in their lives. “The fact that there were no music institutes in Saudi Arabia was really devastating, so I had to learn through YouTube tutorials and it was not always as good as having an instructor.”
She expressed her thrill at the announcement, and hopes institute prices would be reasonable and affordable for the public. “I would love to have the experience of learning and understanding music better,” she said.
Through the decision, the Ministry of Culture aims to empower and support Saudi talents, and develop cultural and artistic capabilities to enrich the industry by creating educational and training opportunities in various creative disciplines in accordance with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.
The platform will later provide several services which provide applicants with information on how to obtain licenses and permits, and the procedures and requirements necessary to complete requests.

 


Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience

Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience
Photographers now use drones to reach places that once were too dangerous or remote, and the resulting images shed new light on the power of photography and the beauty of landscapes. (Photos: Instgram/ @mysloppyadventures)
Updated 8 min 43 sec ago

Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience

Picture perfect: Saudi Arabia’s ancient beauty finds a new audience
  • Online platforms have become a melting pot of images taken by photographers who travel the country

JEDDAH: A new generation of Saudi photographers is relying on the power of social media to showcase the Kingdom’s vast beauty.

Online platforms have become a melting pot of images taken by photographers who travel the country — from the sandy beaches of the east and west, to the mountains of the north and south, and the green oases of the deserts — discovering the beauty of each region one picture at a time.

Fahad Al-Mutairi, 22, started @thesaudigate on Twitter to promote Saudi Arabia’s “hidden wonders” to a growing tourist market.

“I wanted to be part of the future somehow — that’s why I started Saudi Gate and this is what has motivated me to go on,” he told Arab News.

Many other photographers who travel the country share the same outlook.

Faisal Fahad Binzarah, 41, said: “I had to work on a few projects and went to places I had never been before. I remember thinking, where has this been all my life? I never thought I would find such gems in Saudi Arabia.”

Binzarah said that he looks for dramatic landscapes and tries to “capture the overall feeling of the place.”

He said: “The pictures I take are not unique, the uniqueness comes from the places. I am just the conveyer of the beauty and nothing else.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Fahad Al-Mutairi, 22, started @thesaudigate on Twitter to promote Saudi Arabia’s ‘hidden wonders’ to a growing tourist market.

• Al-Mutairi said that about a third of @thesaudigate’s followers are international, and they are usually surprised by what they see.

“As a photographer, I try to capture the right objects at the right time, but often I feel like the beauty is not represented,” he said.

Al-Mutairi said that about a third of @thesaudigate’s followers are international, and they are usually surprised by what they see.

“Often they are amazed but also very happy because after going through the pictures they know that there is a part of the world that they must explore.”

Hadi Farah, 28, a Lebanese photographer who now lives in the Kingdom, said that he had traveled widely in Saudi Arabia and “always felt a sense of welcome and ease.”

“I think tourism is directly influenced by photographers. Whenever I upload something, I receive questions with people asking if this is really in Saudi Arabia or have I accidentally put the wrong name.

“Unfortunately, people think that it is just a desert and nothing else. So by posting pictures of these places we are educating them about possibilities and attractions they thought never existed,” he said.

Binzarah agreed, saying: “Undiscovered places are of interest for professional photographers, because they are always looking for challenges, and I think this ignites their interests to go to these places and explore.”

he added that “while the desert might be nothing new to a Saudi resident, it will be of interest to people who live in greener countries.”

Saudi Arabia, as a land of ancient civilizations, is extremely appealing for archaeologists and tourists interested in history, Binzara said.

Farah described the beauty of nature in different places, saying: “We associate beauty with life, and in our minds where there is green there is life, but we forget that there is also life in rocks and sand, and they are rich in history. So, we need to keep in mind that the beauty of AlUla is different from other areas.”

Technology is also having a major influence. Photographers now use drones to reach places that once were too dangerous or remote, and the resulting images shed new light on the power of photography and the beauty of landscapes.

“Being on social media gives us the drive to do better,” Binzarah said. “If there is no community or people to engage with, it gets dull.”

He added: “It is a personal journey and one for everyone to discover Saudi Arabia one picture at a time.”

 


United States strongly condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

United States strongly condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia
Updated 22 min 24 sec ago

United States strongly condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia

United States strongly condemns Houthi attacks on Saudi Arabia
  • US says these attacks threaten civilians and Yemen peace prospects
  • Washington remains committed to its longstanding partnership with Saudi Arabia

LONDON: The United States strongly condemned the attacks by Yemen’s Houthi militia on population centers in Saudi Arabia, the State Department said on Sunday.
The Iran-backed Houthi militia launched four drones targeting civilian areas in the Kingdom on Saturday, that were intercepted by Arab coalition forces.
“These attacks threaten not only innocent civilians but also prospects for peace and stability in Yemen,” the State Department said in a statement.
The US also called on the Houthi militia to “end these egregious attacks and engage constructively with UN Special Envoy. Martin Griffiths and US Special Envoy Tim Lenderking with the goal of bringing peace, prosperity, and security to the Yemeni people.”
Newly appointed veteran diplomat Lenderking is currently in the region holding talks with Yemeni, Saudi and UN officials to help bring a political solution to the Yemen war.
“The United States remains committed to its longstanding partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and to helping Saudi Arabia defend its territory as it faces attacks from Iranian-aligned groups,” the statement added.
US President Joe Biden reiterated to King Salman during a phone call on Thursday that Washington was committed to defending the Kingdom against any threats.


Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy

Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy
Having seen their father work while growing up, the three eldest children, Osama, Jawaher and Haya, are all now practicing lawyers. (Supplied)
Updated 6 min 22 sec ago

Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy

Family affair: Saudi siblings inherit father’s law legacy
  • Veteran lawyer Musaad Al-Saleh feels ‘sense of pride’ over children’s path

MAKKAH: Law firms in Saudi Arabia are very much a dime a dozen, but one law firm in Tabuk is showing their power through family unity.

Following one career path, three young lawyers are following their father’s footsteps in the legal profession.

Musaad Al-Saleh, 50, told Arab News that his children chose the profession without any pressure because they saw a career that meets their abilities, adding that they will be “a family that will be difficult to approach.”

Having seen their father work while growing up, the three eldest children, 29-year-old Osama, 25-year-old Jawaher and 23-year-old Haya, are all now practicing lawyers.

“It’s common to find families that inherit the medical, business, trade, carpentry and other professions. Women did not enter the legal profession until recently, and the first license for a woman to practice law was offered about five years ago,” said Al-Saleh.

“My children have followed my line of work. Some of them have specialized in commercial law and the others in criminal law, allowing for diversity in dealing with legal issues in the law firm.”

He said that many families follow older generations into a profession, and that now, through women’s empowerment in the Kingdom, women in the family have been able to play the societal roles assigned to them, adding that he worked in the legal field for more than 25 years until retirement.

HIGHLIGHT

Musaad Al-Saleh, 50, told Arab News that his children chose the profession without any pressure because they saw a career that meets their abilities, adding that they will be ‘a family that will be difficult to approach.’

Al-Saleh said that his two daughters graduated from the University of Tabuk’s law department, while his son graduated from Al-Jouf University. Years ago, Al-Saleh had graduated from Al-Madinah University. He stressed that he did not force any of his children to enter the field of law. Rather, it was a choice for each of them. “I only introduced them to the new opportunities awaiting Saudi female lawyers in the sector.”

Family or not, Al-Saleh said that it is business as usual, and that every member of their legal team takes their duties seriously by upholding a professional manner inside the workplace, discussing and analyzing cases, and expressing professional opinions regarding each case they receive.

Complacency, laxity or delay is unacceptable, Al-Saleh added, noting that family bonds should not interfere in the work process to ensure a healthy system.

He said that a common sentiment in the legal community is that a law firm will die with its owner. “But I wanted to change the accepted model, and I tried my best to have my children lead this law firm after me, and maintain its momentum and ensure longevity.

“Being from one family will give them the chance to learn from each other and deal with the issues more professionally.”

As a veteran lawyer, Al-Saleh said he is mostly interested in personal interviews when young men and women apply for work or training at his law firm, adding that a personal touch is important to the formation of a lawyer’s approach.

He said that female lawyers must be attentive, able to present a clear case and communicate information without ambiguity. They will face judges and members of the trial committee and disciplinary bodies — some of whom will be tough. “She must be strong, firm, voice loud and clear and make her case without hesitation.”

Al-Saleh said that he retired after 22 years of service following several positions in the Public Prosecution, and after his young children began to show interest in the legal profession.

First-generation lawyers carry a lot of weight on their shoulders, he said, adding that he “feels a sense of pride” as his children follow his path and pave their own way into the world of law.

 


GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day

GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day
The GSO attached great importance to consumer protection in the GCC countries. (Photo/Twitter)
Updated 28 February 2021

GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day

GCC Standardization Organization celebrates consumer protection day
  • The celebration aims to highlight the importance of consumer safety, strengthen the role of authorities in raising awareness, promote a culture of standardization among consumers, and develop legislation

RIYADH: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Standardization Organization (GSO) is joining national consumer protection bodies and authorities to celebrate “Gulf Consumer Protection Day.”

Celebrated on March 1 every year, GSO Secretary-General Saud bin Nasser Al-Khusaibi stressed the vital role that standardization bodies and their activities play in ensuring consumer safety, which improves the quality of living and welfare of society.

A total of 23,500 GCC standards and technical regulations cover commodities and products.

The celebration aims to highlight the importance of consumer safety, strengthen the role of authorities in raising awareness, promote a culture of standardization among consumers, and develop legislation, regulations and technical procedures that protect people from fraud and commercial misinformation. This ensures that consumers have access to quality products and full information to make the right decisions about the goods and services available on the market.

The GSO, Al-Khusaibi said, contributes to educating consumers about the damage that results from using materials and products that do not conform to standard specifications.

Al-Khusaibi said that the GSO attached great importance to consumer protection in the GCC countries. This was reflected in the preparation and development of GCC standard specifications and technical regulations for commodities, products and systems, and relevant legislation in cooperation with the national standardization bodies in the member states.

The goal is to serve the needs of the trade and industry sectors in GCC countries, in addition to serving consumers by ensuring quality and safety requirements.

Celebrating Gulf Consumer Protection Day is at the recommendation of the Consumer Protection Committee of the GCC General Secretariat. The occasion was approved by the GCC Trade Cooperation Committee in its 32nd meeting in 2005 and celebrated for the first time on March 1, 2006, under the slogan “Consumer protection is everyone’s responsibility.”

 


Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority

Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority
Updated 28 February 2021

Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority

Who’s Who: Nabil Khojah, secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority

A royal order has recently approved Nabil Khojah as the secretary-general of the Economic Cities and Special Zones Authority.

Khojah received a bachelor’s degree in management information systems from the College of Industrial Management of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in 1996.

Nearly three years ago, he attended a leadership program designed for senior executives, Harvard Business School (HBS).

Khojah, who has served as CEO of Mosanada Logistics Services since 2019, brings extensive experience in the logistics industry to his role.

For four years beginning in 2008, he worked as the managing director at Exel, a joint venture business between DHL and Al-Olayan Group, a multinational enterprise with an actively managed portfolio of global investments.

Between 2012 and 2018, he served as the chief executive officer of Saudia Cargo, one of the Middle East’s leading air cargo carrier and cargo ground handling companies. His responsibilities included reporting to the company’s board of directors and overseeing a business with an extensive global network.

He has also held leadership positions with Unilever KSA and the Royal Saudi Air Force, among others.

From 2001 to 2003, he worked for Unilever, where he occupied a series of more senior positions, including manager of business systems, manager of the supply chain and logistics department, and manager of market demand planning. For three years beginning in 2003, he served as the regional manager for logistics and imported products in Dubai.

Khojah then moved to DHL as the general manager for transport and logistics, later becoming general manager of the company at its headquarters in Saudi Arabia.