RIYADH: Saudi pianist Rowida Raffa took to the stage last September at Expo 2020 Dubai and amazed everyone with her skills, performing on Saudi National Day and playing different kinds of music. She also had an encouraging message to all female artists who aspired to be in her position one day.
“Different media agencies contacted me to represent the National Day at the expo, and I never imagined one day that I would be here representing my own country abroad. And, as a Saudi woman, I am very happy that the Kingdom is setting new regulations for practicing musicians,” Raffa told Arab News.
Raffa said she was prepared when media agencies approached her as she enjoyed playing the piano and had been practicing for 20 years.
Coming from a musical family, she said she had been encouraged by them to pursue her dream of becoming a pianist.
“My grandfather was a violinist, and music was always something that connected the family together. My brother is also a violinist, and I chose to be a pianist because I found myself in it.”
As a Saudi woman, I am very happy that the Kingdom is setting new regulations for practicing musicians.
Rowida Raffa, Saudi pianist
As well as the expo, Raffa has also performed with the award-winning international composer William Ross, whose work has graced feature films, the recording industry, and TV. His projects include “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
“In 2018, I was invited to work with William Ross when the foundation stone for Qiddiya, (an entertainment megaproject to be built in Riyadh), was laid,” she said. “We did the opening song together and he is such a nice man. I’m glad my first participation in a national project was this significant.
“I played the opening of Alicia Keys’ concert in AlUla. The experience was amazing and working with international artists is a dream.”
She always played the piano for the passion and love she had for the instrument, and she strived to practice so that she could play more difficult music.
Raffa praised the Kingdom’s attention to music and for establishing a specialist commission, saying opportunities were available and that young talent should take advantage of these from a young age.
She believed that music was a universal language and a strong form of communication that enriched people’s lives, unified nations, and created cultural bridges.
“The Saudi people maybe led to a worldwide level by the Music Commission and other organizations and schools that teach you the essentials,” Raffa added.