Arab singer Dana Salah shines on New York’s Times Square billboard

Arab singer Dana Salah shines on New York’s Times Square billboard
Salah started her career by writing music and DJ-ing. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 21 June 2022

Arab singer Dana Salah shines on New York’s Times Square billboard

Arab singer Dana Salah shines on New York’s Times Square billboard

DUBAI: If you’re looking to add something fresh to your playlist, Palestinian-Jordanian singer Dana Salah’s fusion of Arabic, Latin and Western music could be just the thing.

Streaming service Spotify announced last month that pop-indie artist Salah, formerly known as King Deco, is the second ambassador for EQUAL Arabia, an endeavor that aims to amplify the work of women creators by giving them international recognition.

As part of Spotify’s campaign, the Amman-based artist, who lived in the US for seven years, was featured on a billboard in the heart of New York’s Times Square.




Salah is the second ambassador for EQUAL Arabia. (Supplied)

The singer told Arab News that seeing her picture there was a “pinch me” moment.

“It’s amazing that it was there because I was doing something I believe in — music that’s true to who I am and my heritage,” she said. 

“To see myself on arguably one of the biggest stages in the world and having accomplished this by making music in Arabic and expressing myself through my culture is an incredible feeling. I didn’t have to compromise who I am or where I come from to be there.”

Salah, who started her career by writing music and DJ-ing, said that she received a lot of support from her community. “It was so heartfelt seeing so many people post about this achievement and celebrate it as a win for the Jordanian artistic community,” she said. 

And the campaign seems to be working, with Salah explaining that her audience is already expanding across the globe.

She recalled a comment she read online from a new listener who said: “I am from Indonesia and I found you from Spotify and I like your voice.” 

“It meant the world,” Salah said. 

Salah believes music is universal and she hopes that her music not only introduces audiences to Arab culture, but also brings other cultures together. 

“It’s what I did with ‘Weino.’ I mixed traditional Arabic instrumentation with a Latin-type backbeat and Western song structures. I think there’s something very beautiful about mixing genres,” she said. 

“I’m obsessed with taking two contrasting elements and making them coexist in the same space. I live for it when it comes to art but also on a day-to-day — put me on a dinner table with the most diverse group of people and I’m happy,” she said.

Her early influences were also varied, with her mother and aunt introducing her to an array of musical films before she could even speak.

“They’d always put on ‘The Sound of Music’ and I would get so excited because I just wanted to hear the songs, especially the ‘Yodel’ song, and I would hum to it,” she told Arab News. “It wasn’t until I was maybe four to five years old that I discovered my love for singing watching ‘The Little Mermaid.’” 

As for her current playlist, the artist said: “I love Stevie Nicks and Max Martin as songwriters. I adore Lana Del Ray and Kanye West when it comes to aesthetic and creating worlds and visuals around their music. I love the instrumentation of Warda and Umm Kulthum’s songs,” she said. 

Most central to Salah’s identity as an Arab woman is her unwavering appreciation for the timelessness of Arabic artistry, from finding inspiration from Algerian singer Warda to using strings, tablas (twin hand drums) and riqs (the Middle Eastern tambourin) from veteran Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum’s “Alf Layla w Layla.”

Her visuals are just as important to her as an artist. She pays homage to the Arab world by using its landscapes, architecture, cultural elements and fashion to reignite a love for Arabic heritage in her videos and cover art.


Two Dubai eateries make World’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘extended’ list

Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. (Instagram)
Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. (Instagram)
Updated 05 July 2022

Two Dubai eateries make World’s 50 Best Restaurants ‘extended’ list

Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. (Instagram)

DUBAI: It seems that UAE restaurants are having a moment this summer. Mere weeks after the Michelin Guide launched in the country, two Dubai restaurants — Tresind Studio and Orfali Bros — have been added to an extended list by the World's 50 Best Restaurants list ahead of the unveiling of this year's awards on July 18 in London.

In the run-up to the main announcement, the extended 51 to 100 list is traditionally announced as a precursor, which “shines a spotlight” on restaurants to watch.

Tresind Studio came in at number 57 while Orfali Bros made the list at number 87. It’s the first time either restaurant has made it to the extended global listing. 

While Tresind Studio, which offers set tasting menus featuring fusion Indian food, received its first Michelin star this year, Orfali Bros also made it to the Michelin guide’s Bib Gourmand category. Founded by brothers Mohammad, Wasim and Omar, Orfali Bros feature dishes with a “certain nostalgia and whimsy.”

In addition to the two Dubai restaurants, Istanbul-based restaurant Mikla also made the list at No. 86. Showcasing picturesque views of Istanbul, the restaurant is the brainchild of Turkish-Scandinavian chef Mehmet Gurs. 


Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presents Fall 2023 collection in Paris

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)
Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)
Updated 05 July 2022

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presents Fall 2023 collection in Paris

Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika presented his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)

DUBAI: Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika returned to the runway this week as he unveiled his Fall/Winter 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. 

This is Hobeika’s first show with his son Jad Hobeika, who was recently named the co-creative director of the celebrity-loved brand.

During the label’s first physical show since the pandemic, Hobeika wanted to pay tribute to our planet through couture. The collection’s title, “Eternal Gifts,” reflects the presents that Earth gives to us, according to the show notes. 

His designs were inspired by waterfalls and waves, with gowns in Mediterranean blues along with sunset hues. 

German influencer Leonie Hanne opened the show wearing a mini dress with metallic feathers and crystal embroidery.

“Pinch me!!! Your girl opening the haute couture show for @georgeshobeika in Paris. So much love for Georges and Jad Hobeika,” wrote the runway star to her 4.3 million Instagram followers.

Hanne is one of Hobeika’s loyal clients and has previously been spotted wearing Hobeika’s glamorous creations during fashion weeks and film festivals. 

The father-and-son duo’s newest release featured glamorous gowns with metallic feathers, ornate embroidery, dynamic cuts and daring silhouettes. 

Unexpected cut outs marked the collection, with the models’ midriffs and hips on full display in some of the eye-catching gowns.  

They also showcased a few menswear designs, including blazers, luxurious coats and tailored pants in earthy tones, complete with Hobeika’s signature embellishments and pattern work.

Hobeika is not the only Arab designer on the Haute Couture calendar, however. 

Designers Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab will present their latest collections on Wednesday, while Lebanese fashion house Maison Rabih Kayrouz presented its couture and ready-to-wear lines on Monday.

“I think about the woman, I like to dress her for her real life,” Kayrouz explained to Vogue US. “For me design isn’t a mood, but a thought, a consideration,” he added.

His most recent collections built upon the designer’s famed reputation as a master of refined, understated style.

Taffeta and recycled polyester jostled for attention as fashion lovers took in an offering that was marked by voluminous trapeze-shaped sweeping evening gowns and billowing shirts.

Diaphanous fabrics worked to make the collection seem airy, while expert tailoring ensured it remained faithful to the house’s distinctive style.


Scottish star Lewis Capaldi heads back to the UAE for first Dubai concert

The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries. (AFP)
The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries. (AFP)
Updated 05 July 2022

Scottish star Lewis Capaldi heads back to the UAE for first Dubai concert

The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries. (AFP)

DUBAI: After sold out shows in the cities of Sharjah and Abu Dhabi, Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi is set to return to the UAE for his first concert in Dubai. The 25-year-old balladeer, famous for his powerful tunes, will take the stage on Nov. 24, 2022, at Dubai’s Coca-Cola Arena, which most recently hosted One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson. 

Capaldi last performed in the country at Abu Dhabi’s F1 after-race concert in 2021.

The musician first found fame in 2019 when his single “Someone You Loved” charted in more than 29 countries and spent seven weeks at the No. 1 spot in the UK. His first album, “Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent,” was the biggest selling album of the year and was also certified platinum.

Fans attending his concert can look forward to hearing tracks like “Bruises,” “Don’t Get Me Wrong” and “Before You Go.”


Celebs remember late Tunisian designer at Alaia show in Paris

Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)
Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)
Updated 04 July 2022

Celebs remember late Tunisian designer at Alaia show in Paris

Model Karlie Kloss attended the show. (Instagram)

DUBAI: The who’s who of the fashion industry, including French model Tina Kunakey and Jordanian Romanian footwear designer Amina Muaddi, attended a runway presentation by Alaia on Sunday.

The label, founded by late Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa, released a statement ahead of the ready-to-wear Spring 2023 show that explained why the latest offering is being marketed with the slogan “Rough and Real.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ALAÏA (@maisonalaia)

“Real – as creation should remain far from the likes, far from the screen. These clothes are meant to be worn, meant to be touched and felt. Raw and imperfect, to effect and affect,” a statement signed by creative director Pieter Mulier read.

Shown on the eve of couture week in Paris, Mulier’s third collection for the iconic fashion house took natural fabrics and elevated them into fashion statements. Entire cowhides were shaped into skirts and lengths of boiled cashmere were transformed into cocktail dresses worn with high-heeled fur booties in a line that was equal parts raw and chic.

“It’s about taking all the codes of Azzedine and explaining them to the young generation that don’t really know it,” the designer said backstage, according to WWD. “It’s basically empowering women in a different way than other brands can do,” he added.

The Belgian designer explained that he took many cues from one of Alaia’s 1984 collections, while one design was a replica of a 1992 creation by the Tunisian creative talent that never made it onto the runway.

The glittering front row added to the glamor at the event, with Kunakey joined by her husband, French actor Vincent Cassel, as well as Naomi Campbell, Elle Macpherson, Karlie Kloss and Laura Harrier.

They took in the show in a gutted out space that is set to be a future Alaïa flagship store and offices.

Known to be a fan of the fashion house, Kunakey has showed off Alaia looks on a number of occasions, including in September 2020 when she attended a lavish Bulgari bash in Rome.

For the occasion she donned an elegant fuchsia-colored gown with a scooped, exposed back and a halter neckline. She elevated the look with a selection of sparkling Bulgari diamond rings and a serpent necklace.


Restaurateur Natasha Sideris talks Saudi plans, new dining concept in Dubai

Natasha Sideris is the founder and CEO of Tashas Group. (Supplied)
Natasha Sideris is the founder and CEO of Tashas Group. (Supplied)
Updated 04 July 2022

Restaurateur Natasha Sideris talks Saudi plans, new dining concept in Dubai

Natasha Sideris is the founder and CEO of Tashas Group. (Supplied)

DUBAI: It’s one of Dubai’s most buzzed about eateries and while the Instagram-worthy Flamingo Room readies to open its doors in Riyadh later this year, we caught up with restaurateur Natasha Sideris to find out more about her success and worldwide expansion plans.

The founder and CEO of Tashas Group, which has a portfolio of varied dining concepts, shed light on why she sees Saudi Arabia as a growing market, as well as her plans for new dining outlets.

“Our decision to expand into Saudi was informed by two things. Firstly, the location that we have found for Flamingo Room by tashas is extraordinary in Bujairi Terrace. Secondly, I think that there are wonderful opportunities in the country. It is a previously untapped market with a large population that is open to new concepts,” Sideris told Arab News.

“As with any new market, there will be challenges,” she added, explain that “we have spent eight years in the UAE forging great relationships with suppliers, shopfitters (and) photographers. It will take time to build relationships with new suppliers, but we are well on our way.”

Curating the concept specially for the Kingdom’s market, the group will open the destination restaurant in a three-storey building inspired by Najd architecture in Diriyah, on the banks of Wadi Hanifah.

The group, which was founded in South Africa and operates out of Dubai in the UAE, has seven brands under its umbrella: tashas, Le Parc by tashas, Flamingo Room by tashas, Avli by tashas, Galaxy Bar, Collective Africa, and 1701.

In addition to its expansion into Saudi Arabia, in the next six to 12 months the group plans to open five other locations, in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, South Africa and London.

“We are going to enter the UK market slowly and sensibly,” Sideris revealed. “The pandemic, as well as Brexit, have made a major impact so we want to make sure we adapt the concept to the market and, all going well, we will expand the number of locations. “

The group is also introducing a brand new concept in Dubai’s Alserkal Arts hub. Called Nala, the project will offer diners luxury quick-service, something the founder said is important to her.

“This concept is close to my heart and we have been working on it for a couple of years. So many people are strapped for time yet would like to eat beautiful food in a stunning environment. Our goal is to serve our guests freshly prepared meals quickly and provide fantastic quality at the same time.”