Arabic music institute to be established in Saudi Arabia

The oud is one of the oldest and most important stringed instruments in the Arab world’s musical heritage. (Supplied)
The oud is one of the oldest and most important stringed instruments in the Arab world’s musical heritage. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 09 January 2022

Arabic music institute to be established in Saudi Arabia

The oud is one of the oldest and most important stringed instruments in the Arab world’s musical heritage. (Supplied)
  • Many people in Saudi Arabia enjoy the work of Abadi Al-Jowhar, who is known as the “Octopus of the Oud”

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Music Commission is establishing an institute to train the country’s musical talent.

Bait Al-Oud seeks to be a learning center for musicians so they can get the required training in playing traditional Arabic instruments and be educated about the instruments’ role in developing the region’s music culture.

The oud, which dates back more than 3,000 years, is one of the oldest and most important stringed instruments in the Arab world’s musical heritage and it has played a significant role through history.

The commission aims to develop the institute to be a globally recognized center, spread awareness about Arabic musical instruments, specifically the oud, and preserve the heritage of Arabic music.

“The oud is one of the most important musical stringed instruments,” oud player Hasan Iskandrani told Arab News. “It has been called the ‘sultan of instruments’ and is usually used by composers in shaping their melodies.”

Traditional Arabic musical instruments such as the oud, duf, rebab, and mizmar, which are used in many different celebrations in the Kingdom, have played a major role in establishing the musical culture of the country and its different forms of musical expression.

There are different types of oud - including Iraqi, Syrian, Egyptian and Turkish — and it is played in different styles across the region.

In recent decades, the Kingdom has become home to talented composers, singers, and oud players.

Many people in the Kingdom enjoy the work of Abadi Al-Jowhar, who is known as the “Octopus of the Oud.”

Alongside Al-Jowhar are Talal Salamah and Aseel Abu Bakr Saleem who, to this day, are influencing an emerging new generation of Saudi oud players.

The oud is distinctive for being fretless and pear-shaped. It is traditionally made from lightwood, has a short neck, and is normally built with 11 strings.

Being fretless, the oud is considered a versatile instrument that gives musicians the freedom to produce more fluid notes without having to retune.

And, unlike other string instruments which typically have one large hole in the center, the oud can have up to three holes, which gives it its distinctive and mesmerizing tune.

This makes it ideally suited for musicians to play the maqam, a system of melodic structure used in traditional Arabic music.

And, like other ancient musical instruments, the oud has its own fans and admirers who enjoy listening to its tunes.

But, had it not been for some great musical maestros, the legacy of the oud would have probably been lost. One cannot talk about the instrument without mentioning the legends who made it what it is today.

The oud has passed through prominent musicians, from the “King of Oud” Fared Al-Atrache, to Marcel Khalifeh in Lebanon, Munir Bashir and Naseer Shamma in Iraq, and Mohamed Al-Qasabgi in Egypt.

There are many beliefs about where the instrument originated from. It is believed that it evolved from the Persian barbat and was used during the Kassite period and Babylon in Mesopotamia, which later made its way to Europe through North Africa.

The institute, which will be run by an elite group of musicians, also aims to be a regional hub for Saudis of all ages to learn and develop techniques to play Arabic musical instruments.

“The Bait Al-Oud Institute will contribute to the development of the various types of stringed instruments. In addition, it will encourage the development of young music talent,” said Iskandrani. “Through the institute, it will be a forum for great music legends and new emerging musicians to share ideas, experiences, and culture for continuous development.”

The institute will also act as a platform for musicians to share and perform their musical projects with audiences who enjoy listening to oud performances.

 


Saudi king receives letter from Bangladesh president extending support for bid to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh

Saudi king receives letter from Bangladesh president extending support for bid to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh
Updated 10 August 2022

Saudi king receives letter from Bangladesh president extending support for bid to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh

Saudi king receives letter from Bangladesh president extending support for bid to host Expo 2030 in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received a written message from Bangladeshi President Mohammad Abdul Hamid, related to strengthening relations between the two countries, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.
Abdul Hamid expressed his country’s support for the Kingdom’s request to host the Expo 2030 in Riyadh.
The message was received by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan during a meeting with Bangladeshi ambassador to the Kingdom, Dr. Mohammed Javed Patwary at the foreign ministry in the capital.
During the meeting, they discussed relations between the two countries and ways to enhance them, in addition to exchanging views on regional and international issues of common interest.


Rock stars: Saudi climbers chase a new high in NEOM

Rock stars: Saudi climbers chase a new high in NEOM
Updated 10 August 2022

Rock stars: Saudi climbers chase a new high in NEOM

Rock stars: Saudi climbers chase a new high in NEOM
  • The single-pitch routes, near NEOM, have become a favorite destination for a fast-growing and tight-knit group of climbers and adventurers
  • Wide variety of rock types in Saudi Arabia could play a huge role in attracting overseas climbers

JEDDAH: Saudi climbing enthusiasts in search of a “new high” have been gathering in the desert near NEOM to try out 100 new routes opened late last year as part of Rise 100, the Kingdom’s first climbing festival.

The single-pitch routes have become a favorite destination for a fast-growing and tight-knit group of climbers and adventurers.

Single-pitch climbing routes are up to a half-rope length (about 30 meters) with an anchor at the end, and are accessible to climbers of all abilities.

Rise 100 last December set the stage for NEOM’s diverse adventure sport offerings, which are designed to encourage greater environmental awareness, educating thrill-seekers beyond just the sport.

Now indoor climbing gyms are opening around the country, while a growing number of events bring international and local climbers together.

The result is a fast-growing community of young, but highly committed, climbers.

Abdul Rahman Abughazala, a 25-year-old mechatronic engineer, said that after developing an interest in the sport in college, “it took over my life.”

The young adventurer’s day now revolves around climbing.

New routes opened in NEOM “mean a lot to the climbing community,” he added.

“Newer climbers can experience different rock types and styles of climbing that are absolutely beautiful. And it is easier for Middle Eastern climbers from the north to visit Saudi and try climbing here,” he told Arab News.

Bolting more routes around the Kingdom will offer climbers more exposure and variety as they learn how to deal with different climbs and rock types.

Pioneering Saudi climber Faisal Al-Dosary said that hard granite rock gave Tanomah, a popular climbing destination in the Kingdom’s southwest, an advantage.

“Granite is stronger and more difficult to break,” he said.

“In NEOM, they are a bit closer to sandy rock, which makes them fragile. Fortunately, the routes are safe because they are bolted extremely deep. These kinds of differences will ensure that the climbers will be able to deal with any type of rock around the world.”

Abughazala agreed that the wide variety of rock types in Saudi Arabia could play a huge role in attracting overseas climbers to the Kingdom.

Al-Dosary, who was part of a team that worked together to open the first dedicated indoor climbing center in Saudi Arabia, said that it is encouraging to see so many younger climbers joining the sport.

“It is a skill that we need to develop at an early age, and it helps with flexibility and strength,” he said.

Follow this path, the climbing veteran said, “and we will have Olympic-level climbers.”

Abughazala said that he is excited about the future “because I know our potential, and I know that it is just a matter of time until our community thrives.”

Growth in the sport will also lead to greater environmental awareness and have “a big impact on the perception of nature,” he said.

“As climbers and nature lovers, leaving the place as it is, or in even better condition, is as important as the action of climbing. It is every single person’s job to care for it as much as the workers or the government body around the area.”

Climbers believe the NEOM routes are merely the start for Saudi Arabia, with the Kingdom’s desert areas and mountains destined to attract climbers from around the world.


Saudi water safety body launches new training programs

Saudi water safety body launches new training programs
Updated 10 August 2022

Saudi water safety body launches new training programs

Saudi water safety body launches new training programs
  • Water safety is a global concern, with one person drowning every two minutes around the world

MAKKAH: The Saudi Life Saving Federation has introduced two initiatives to help reduce drowning cases in the Kingdom.

The federation’s chief, Ahmed Al-Shammari, said that the programs will focus on training and qualification.

He said that the federation will introduce a six-day, 50-hour training program for men and women, after which trainees obtain an international rescuer certificate through which they can work in Saudi Arabia and in all member states of the International Life Saving Federation (ILS).

He added that another program will allow Saudis who qualify in international courses to submit them through the federation’s “rescuer” platform. A theoretical and practical evaluation process is then carried out. Once cleared, rescuers will obtain official certificates.

Al-Shammari said that the Saudi Life Saving Federation has provided its services to over 500 beneficiaries and works to increase community awareness on water safety through social and traditional media.

Water safety is a global concern, with one person drowning every two minutes around the world.

Al-Shammari told Arab News: “We regret the drowning cases occurring in several Saudi cities,” adding that avoiding these incidents is an integrated societal responsibility and everyone must join hands to prevent drowning cases.

He said that a society-wide response is what the federation works for through training, rehabilitation and a legislative calendar that benefits every rescuer, citizen, and resident, allowing them to obtain official certificates when they are available to train.

Al-Shammari said that the federation, established in 2019 by Sports Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal, was certified by the ILS in 2020.

“We need a wide media mobilization to raise awareness about the importance of rescue and water safety. We aim to train the largest number of qualified lifeguards,” he said, noting that the federation has recently been granted seven seats at the ILS in Belgium.

Al-Shammari noted: “We focus on providing theoretical and practical qualifications by offering a range of courses for beginners working in water bodies, swimming pools and beaches, and contributing to the development of technical standards and regulations with all relevant authorities. We are currently working with the relevant authorities on forming a national committee to set national policies to prevent drowning cases.”

He stressed that work is currently underway to develop rescue sports competitions in various regions to prepare for the Kingdom’s representation in upcoming international forums.


KSrelief holds joint meeting with UNHCR, WHO in Poland 

KSrelief holds joint meeting with UNHCR, WHO in Poland 
Updated 10 August 2022

KSrelief holds joint meeting with UNHCR, WHO in Poland 

KSrelief holds joint meeting with UNHCR, WHO in Poland 
  • The officials also discussed several issues regarding refugees, including the humanitarian response to Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Poland and neighboring countries

WARSAW: The King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief) held on Tuesday a joint meeting with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported. 

The meeting took place in Poland in the presence of Saudi Ambassador to Poland Saad bin Saleh Al-Saleh; Advisor at the Royal Court and Supervisor General of KSrelief Dr. Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah; Advisor to the High Commissioner and Regional Representative of the UNHCR Khaled Khalifa; and WHO Representative for Poland Dr. Paloma Cuchi. 

During the meeting, Al Rabeeah praised the strong strategic partnership between the three organizations, adding that their humanitarian and relief projects have benefited millions around the world, according to SPA. 

He also said he hoped to expand their cooperation to reach even more people, SPA reported. 

Meanwhile, Khaled Khalifa praised the aid provided by the Kingdom to refugees in various countries around the world, while WHO’s Poland representative said Saudi Arabia’s efforts have greatly impacted the lives of millions. 

The officials also discussed several issues regarding refugees, including the humanitarian response to Ukrainian refugees fleeing to Poland and neighboring countries. 


Saudi Arabia reaffirms full support for the stability of Yemen

The session was chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
The session was chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
Updated 09 August 2022

Saudi Arabia reaffirms full support for the stability of Yemen

The session was chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. (SPA)
  • Cabinet appreciated UN’s efforts for a ceasefire in Yemen

JEDDAH: The Saudi Cabinet on Tuesday reaffirmed the Kingdom’s firm support for all action that can help to guarantee the security and stability of Yemen and its people.

The session was chaired by King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah. According to Issam bin Saad bin Saeed, the member for Shoura Council affairs and acting minister of media, the Cabinet members expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the UN to improve the adherence to the ceasefire in Yemen, in line with the Saudi initiative, announced in March last year, to end the crisis in the country and reach a comprehensive political resolution.
The ministers also expressed their hopes that the Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum, which is being organized by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center in partnership with the UN and will take place in February, will contribute to efforts to find innovative and practical solutions that can help provide humanitarian aid to the highest standards and achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

FASTFACT

The ministers also expressed their hopes that the Riyadh International Humanitarian Forum, which is being organized by the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center in partnership with the UN in February.

Ministers also reiterated the Kingdom’s assertion, made this month during the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, of support for international efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and place its nuclear facilities under a comprehensive system of safeguards under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The council said it considers the stability and balance of oil markets as one of the pillars of the Kingdom’s energy strategy.
It described oil as an important element in supporting the growth of the global economy, as reflected in Saudi Arabia’s pivotal role in establishing and maintaining the OPEC+ agreement on production quotas. Members stressed the importance of full compliance with those quotas by all OPEC+ member nations.
The council session concluded with the approval of a number of decisions. The chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence was tasked with negotiating with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development a draft administrative agreement between Saudi Arabia and the bank on a multi-donor trust fund for a digital development partnership.
The minister of energy and the minister of tourism were asked to draft and sign a cooperation agreement between their ministries and their counterparts in Thailand in the fields of energy and tourism.
A memorandum of understanding on labor cooperation between the Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development and Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population was approved, as were two MoUs for cooperation in the transport and logistics sector between the Kingdom’s Ministry of Transport and Logistics Services and the French Ministry of Ecological Transition. Ministers also approved an MoU for cooperation between the Saudi General Authority for Statistics and the British Office for National Statistics.