Japanese hip-hop group matches Jeddah’s summer vibes

Taking place at City Walk’s Anime Village, ALI, which has members of several nationalities, hyped the audience with its unique hip-hop-funk music, playing tracks including ‘No Tomorrow,’ ‘Lost in Paradise’ and ‘Wild Side.’ (Supplied)
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Taking place at City Walk’s Anime Village, ALI, which has members of several nationalities, hyped the audience with its unique hip-hop-funk music, playing tracks including ‘No Tomorrow,’ ‘Lost in Paradise’ and ‘Wild Side.’ (Supplied)
Japanese hip-hop group matches Jeddah’s summer vibes
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Taking place at City Walk’s Anime Village, ALI, which has members of several nationalities, hyped the audience with its unique hip-hop-funk music, playing tracks including ‘No Tomorrow,’ ‘Lost in Paradise’ and ‘Wild Side.’ (Supplied)
Japanese hip-hop group matches Jeddah’s summer vibes
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Taking place at City Walk’s Anime Village, ALI, which has members of several nationalities, hyped the audience with its unique hip-hop-funk music, playing tracks including ‘No Tomorrow,’ ‘Lost in Paradise’ and ‘Wild Side.’ (Supplied)
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Updated 19 June 2022

Japanese hip-hop group matches Jeddah’s summer vibes

Taking place at City Walk’s Anime Village, ALI hyped the audience with its unique hip-hop-funk music. (Supplied)
  • ALI hypes audience with unique hip-hop-funk music at City Walk’s Anime Village

JEDDAH: Thursday night witnessed Japanese band ALI’s first concert in Saudi Arabia.

Taking place at City Walk’s Anime Village, ALI, which has members of several nationalities, hyped the audience with its unique hip-hop-funk music, playing tracks including “No Tomorrow,” “Lost in Paradise” and “Wild Side.”

An 18-year-old fan called Meciel said that she got to know ALI through anime. “I watch a lot of animes and I always check out the songs because I really like them. And I found out about ALI’s music through ‘Jujutsu Kaisen.’”

Meciel added that once she came across the announcement that ALI would perform in Jeddah, she prepared for the concert. “I first told my friends and booked the tickets two hours after the announcement was made,” she added. “We prepared our outfits, water and cameras, of course.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• ALI’s most famous song among anime fans is ‘Lost in Paradise’ from the 2020 hit anime ‘Jujutsu Kaisen,’ a show about a boy trying to experience a righteous death after swallowing a powerful curse.

• Besides singing their original songs, ALI also performed some freestyle music, with Leo pointing to each of the members to show off their talents. They also performed Jamaican music to match the summer vibes of Jeddah.

“This is my first time attending a concert for someone I actually know,” Meciel said. “I really enjoyed it! This is my first time, and it was really fun. I can’t hear anything right now, but I’m with my friend and it was really great.”




The audience danced and sang along with the Japanese hip-hop funk band. (Supplied)

After performing a few songs, the band took a break to interact with the audience. The main vocalist, Leo, delivered a speech in Arabic. “I want to tell you our message in Arabic,” said Leo, adding: “I want to tell you my feelings and truth from the bottom of my heart.

“I am happy for visiting Saudi Arabia and meeting wonderful and kind people with beautiful souls,” he said. “We came from Japan and our message is pretty simple: Nationality, skin color and type of music all don’t matter as long as we only focus on enjoying our time here together. We love you. Respect.”

ALI’s most famous song among anime fans is “Lost in Paradise” from the 2020 hit anime “Jujutsu Kaisen,” a show about a boy trying to experience a righteous death after swallowing a powerful curse.

I am happy for visiting Saudi Arabia and meeting wonderful and kind people with beautiful souls.

Leo, vocalist of ALI

“Like a lot of people, I knew them from the song they made for ‘Jujutsu Kaisen,’ and my friend showed me more of their songs later. And they are really a good band,” said 18-year-old Sheena. “This is my first concert ever! It was really fun!”




ALI and the musician ended the concert by bowing to the audience. (Supplied)

Besides singing their original songs, ALI also performed some freestyle music, with Leo pointing to each of the members to show off their talents. They also performed Jamaican music to match the summer vibes of Jeddah.

“I feel great! I can’t quite express how I feel after seeing them, but I think I was about to pass out from excitement and I was very happy that my heart was beating so fast,” said Tasneem Banjar, 26. “I actually played their songs on repeat the day before as a way of preparation for the concert. And if they are coming next year, I’ll be the first to attend.”




ALI performed in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, June 16, at Anime Village. (Supplied)

ALI, which stands for “Alien Liberty International,” debuted in 2016.

After being formed, the band was composed of nine multinational members, including Brazilian Japanese and American Japanese performers. But over the years, some members left, while Leo Imamura, Luthfi Kusumah, Cesar Aiichiro and Alexander Taiyo Fidel remained in the band.

Those four members performed in Jeddah along with two new members, Kazou and Imani J. The band ended their performance with a bow to the fans.


Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh
Updated 20 August 2022

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh

Quality of Life deal to open Unified Security Operations Center in Riyadh
  • Agreement targets boost to security sector in line with Saudi Vision 2030, CEO says

RIYADH: The Saudi Quality of Life Program and the General Directorate of Public Security signed an agreement on Thursday to open Unified Security Operations Centers in all regions.

Khaled Al-Bakr, CEO of the Center for Quality of Life program, told Arab News: "Soon, we are going to open the Unified Security Operations Center in many regions of the Kingdom in accordance with the best international standards and practices (in Quality of Life sector).”

They opened a Unified Security Operations Centers  in Riyadh in 2020.

The agreement comes within the framework of the two initiatives: “Leading Police Station” and “Security Platform Development.” The schemes aim to achieve the security objectives of Vision 2030.

As part of the agreement, the security field will benefit from aspects of modernization, whether through digitization on the “Amn” platform, the establishment of a leading police station in the capital, or the creation of mobile police stations in line with urban expansion in cities across the Kingdom.

The “Amn” portal is a public security electronic gate that provides a bundle of new IT services for relevant authorities, expediting the work of security services.

The agreement was signed in presence of Khaled Al-Bakr, CEO of the Center for Quality of Life program; Lt. Gen. Mohammed Al-Bassami, director of Public Security; and Sultan Al-Mutairi, head of the Vision Realization Office at the Ministry of Interior.

He praised the ministry’s achievements in security indicators, noting that it reflected positively on quality of life in the Kingdom. Al-Bakr also hailed the success of Unified Security Operations Centers, which he said have led to a “leap in the quality of security services provided to citizens, residents and visitors to the Kingdom.”

Al-Bakr also noted the importance of the Vision Realization Office at the Ministry of Interior in signing a number of contracts related to the General Directorate of Public Security within the initiatives of the Quality of Life program. The contracts include a number of national private sector companies that will connect security to the quality of life sectors.

“The Saudi Vision 2030 initiatives related to the security sector aim to enhance the capabilities of the sector with a vision that keeps pace with the developments witnessed by the Kingdom in all fields. Within the signed contracts, the ‘Amn’ platform will be developed, a leading police station will be established and mobile police stations will be established to increase the effectiveness of the security sectors,” said Al-Bakr.

“The security sector is a vital sector in the Quality of Life System and Saudi Vision 2030. It is not possible to imagine any improvement and upgrading of the quality of life anywhere in the world without security being stable and the security system keeping pace with developments, and being effective.”


Saudi Arabia’s Hanan Al-Anazi tastes sweet success with Al-Hasawiya date cake mix

Photos by Jasmine Bager
Photos by Jasmine Bager
Updated 20 August 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Hanan Al-Anazi tastes sweet success with Al-Hasawiya date cake mix

Photos by Jasmine Bager
  • It’s hardly been a cakewalk for local ‘Betty Crocker’
  • Some merchants thought she was nutty as a fruitcake

AL-AHSA: When Hanan Al-Anazi was 12, she had an insatiable appetite for creative concoctions in the kitchen. Her favorite pastime was to open up the family pantry and whip up tasty treats using whatever was available.

Her desserts combined “modern” recipes with local ingredients, such as Saudi dates. Her mother dreaded these little experiments because she made such a mess and used up all the sugar and baking powder.

Al-Anazi knew, even then, she wanted to eventually turn that passion into a profession, but like all good dough, this took some patience and time.

Last year, the now 35-year-old, took part in a local date exhibition as a vendor. After working in the business of selling dates for years, she decided to try her luck and asked if she could sell a cake mix she had made, but nobody wanted to bite.

The date merchants who had been in the industry for many decades told her to just leave the dates alone, that her little cake mix wouldn’t likely succeed. Who would buy it, they asked her.

Not easily deterred, she decided to prepare something anyway. She had taken a few culinary courses over the years and learned how to incorporate dates in her sweets. It was her secret ingredient. She thought she’d start with a recipe in the Hasawi date cake style.

Always the innovator, she decided to try handing out free samples. She placed the ingredients in a bag that was designed for coffee and put a sticker on top and wrote “Date Cake.” She made 50 bags herself. When people stopped by her booth at the date exhibition, she handed out her samples to customers and hoped for the best.

At the end of the five-day exhibition, many people came back — they had tried making her mix at home and loved it and asked where they could get more. They were willing to buy it.

She was elated. Hanan ‘Crocker’ — a homage to the fictional character Betty Crocker on the well-known brand — was born. She applied for the necessary work permit, had a logo designed, built a website and got to work.

The dates have always been key.

Born in Riyadh, she moved to Sharqiyah (Eastern Province) when she was six. During those formative years, living with fresh Hasawi dates (from Al-Ahsa) ignited her love for the sweet fruit.

Al-Ahsa was named in the 2020 Guinness Book of World Records for having the largest date palm oasis in the world. In 2021, it broke the Guinness World Record for having the largest date farm.

Al-Anazi tried to take that cultural pride and include it in her products.

The cake mix requires only a few simple ingredients, just like the Betty Crocker products. The difference is, Al-Anazi’s version uses dates in every dish. Even her Cinnamon Rolls recipe uses it in the filling.

“A month after the exhibition date, it was evident that there was a market for my product and I had to get serious. So I decided to build my brand and change the basic packaging — couldn’t continue to use those brown coffee bags forever — and applied for the freelance work certificate and got a permit.

“I used to do everything by hand but now, thank God, I have machines and four people on staff to help me. If it gets overwhelming, I will hire freelancers to assist during the busy season, which is coming up in the winter. It’s still all out of my kitchen in Riyadh,” Al-Anazi told Arab News.

Al-Anazi is working on perfecting several new products and is excited to introduce them into the market soon.

“I started almost exactly one year ago — I remember, it was the Saudi National Day. It was also, coincidentally, the anniversary of the start of my journey, too,” she said.

Al-Anazi’s culinary delights are available in select stores across the Kingdom, as well as on her instagram: @Hanan_Secret222, and can be shipped to anywhere in the country.

 


Saudi aid agency celebrates World Humanitarian Day

KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries. (SPA)
KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries. (SPA)
Updated 20 August 2022

Saudi aid agency celebrates World Humanitarian Day

KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries. (SPA)
  • Projects target a range of vital sectors, including food, education, health, nutrition, water, environmental reforms and accommodation

RIYADH: King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center celebrated World Humanitarian Day on Friday.
Since its establishment, the center has aimed to unify government, civil and popular humanitarian and charitable endeavors to help the needy and poor.
In the past seven years, KSrelief has implemented more than 2,000 humanitarian projects worth nearly $6 billion in 86 countries.
Projects target a range of vital sectors, including food, education, health, nutrition, water, environmental reforms and accommodation.
KSrelief has also formed partnerships and strategic ties with 175 UN-sponsored, global, regional and civil society organizations.
One of its major initiatives, the Masam project, focuses on protecting Yemeni territories from land mines planted by Houthi militias. Since its establishment in 2018, the project has defused more than 353,000 mines.
Meanwhile, as part of its relief work, the center signed an agreement to operate the Specialized Hospital for Ophthalmology in Marib governorate, Yemen, for one year, in cooperation with Al-Basar International Foundation.

 


Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show
Updated 19 August 2022

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show

Week six of Gamers8 rocks audience with sold-out show
  • Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled join gaming festival’s star-studded line-up
  • The performance on Thursday was Walker’s third in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Week six of Gamers8 kicked off with a sold-out show featuring Russ, Alan Walker, and Saudi artists Jeed and Ntitled, along with Disco Misr, in Riyadh Boulevard City.
“I was here for Formula E, that was the first time. After that I was here for the PUBG event, and this time I am here for Gamers8,” Walker told Arab News.
“I love traveling and seeing the world, and last time we had a lot more time to go out and explore Riyadh. We had a lot of fun and felt so warmly welcomed that we did not hesitate to come back,” the Norwegian DJ said.
The performance on Thursday was Walker’s third in the Kingdom, and he played some of his biggest hits, including “Lily” and “Darkside,” as the audience cheered along.
“Since the first time that I have come here I have always been surprised and didn’t know what to expect,” he said.
“When we were here for the first and second time, it was just high energy and great. I just felt the love and passion from the Saudi audience, and I am super happy to be back.”
Walker said that he created a special show for Riyadh. “For today, I have tried to plan more of a different show because I am also preparing for a show I am doing in Norway. I wanted to try out some new stuff and a new way of mixing, keep it high energy.
“I have tried to sneak in some gaming songs and, of course, a lot of my songs are huge within the gaming community, so there are a lot of gaming references.”
Walker highlighted his openness to collaborating with artists from the region to create new music.
“It could be amazing to do a crossover or just, in general, do a collaboration with a Middle Eastern artist because my arms are open to working with anyone and I think it could be incredible,” he said.
Walker ended his interview with some advice for young artists pursuing a career in music.
“What I know and will always say is, find yourself, find what represents you as an artist and not necessarily try to peruse what everybody else is doing. Find your sound, your image and something that will make the fans connect to you,” he said.
Another international artist, Russ, took to the stage in the penultimate performance of the night, singing hits such as “Pull the Trigger,” “What They Want,” and “Entertained.”
Before leaving the stage he thanked the Kingdom for supporting his music.
“Saudi, I just want to say, thank you to all the fans and thank you for all of the love you have shown me.
“You all were really like my first fans seven years ago, you all really changed my life, Saudi Arabia really changed my life, I appreciate all of the love and support.”
He added: “I love you all forever and I am always going to come back to Saudi. Thank you, Riyadh.”
Two 17-year-old friends, Rola Kanafani and Jowelle Al-Salti, attended the concert to see Russ perform.
“We know that he came here before; we want to know why he comes to this country more than other artists,” Al-Salti said.
“I feel like it’s a place of respect,” she added.
This was the first concert the two friends have attended as a part of Gamers8.
“We are here to have fun and, hopefully, it is going to be a great time,” Kanafani told Arab News.
Saudi Arabian rapper Jeed blew away the packed NXT LVL crowd at Gamers8 with favorites including “Everything Different” and “Sweet.” A potential new release, “Private,” ended the powerful set.
The Gamers8 festival is bringing international music artists to Riyadh for the eight-week event. Artists will perform each weekend for fans and participants. The seventh week of Gamers8 will kick off on Aug. 25 with performances from the Engineers, Lebanese singer Myriam Fares, Black Eyed Peas, and DJ Snake.


Ghana’s envoy to Saudi Arabia visits Buraidah Date Festival

Ghana’s envoy Mohammed Habibu Tijani visits Buraidah Date Festival. (SPA)
Ghana’s envoy Mohammed Habibu Tijani visits Buraidah Date Festival. (SPA)
Updated 20 August 2022

Ghana’s envoy to Saudi Arabia visits Buraidah Date Festival

Ghana’s envoy Mohammed Habibu Tijani visits Buraidah Date Festival. (SPA)
  • The ambassador praised the festival and its diversity of dates and ideal economic environment

BURAIDAH: Ghana’s envoy to the Kingdom, Mohammed Habibu Tijani, visited Buraidah Date Festival on Friday.

During his visit, Tijani was briefed in the market square on the economics of the market and auctions in the forests selling dates. He also met farmers and sellers (brokers).

The ambassador praised the festival and its diversity of dates and ideal economic environment. He also praised the festival’s distinguished events, programs and activities.

The festival was launched by Qassim’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture, in partnership with Qassim municipality, the Culinary Arts Commission and the National Center for Palms and Dates.

The ministry’s director general, Abdulaziz Al-Rajehi, said that Qassim Gov. Prince Faisal bin Mishaal has “given great attention” to the month-long festival, which will showcase more than 45 kinds of dates.

The event will also feature scores of activities and marketing schemes to promote Qassim’s date industry.