Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 

Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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Rabih Abou Khalil performing at the Arabic Jazz Music Festival. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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Salah Alawi performing with Majaz. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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Bahraini cello player Jehad Al Halal performing with Majaz. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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Bahraini band Majaz at the Arabic Jazz Music Festival in Dammam. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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Majaz and Mosaic jam together. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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Mohamed Abozekry performing at the Arabic Jazz Music Festival. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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Camille Maussion performing with the Mohamed Abozekry band. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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Rabih Abou Khalil performing at the Arabic Jazz Music Festival. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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The Arabic Jazz Music Festival in Dammam. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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The Arabic Jazz Music Festival in Dammam. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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Audience members enjoying the Arabic Jazz Music Festival in Dammam. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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The Arabic Jazz Music Festival in Dammam. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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The Arabic Jazz Music Festival in Dammam. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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The Arabic Jazz Music Festival in Dammam. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
Special Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
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The Arabic Jazz Music Festival in Dammam. (AN Photo / Essa Abdullah Aldobaisi)
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Updated 24 July 2022

Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 

Jazz power on full display at Dhahran’s Arabic Jazz Music Festival 
  • The lineup at the Arabic Jazz Music Festival in Dammam featured many of the region’s most popular musicians
  • Majaz guitarist and vocalist Hameed Al-Saeed: There’s something about the claps, I don’t know — everyone can do it

DAMMAM: On a humid Friday night, the Dhahran Expo — the venue where people received COVID-19 vaccines over the past year — had a different remedy to offer: Music.

The auditorium, with rows of plush white seats facing the large stage where oud, saxophones and singing inaugurated Shargiyya’s first Arabic Jazz Music Festival, organized by the Music Commission and the Saudi Ministry of Culture.

The lineup consisted of the region’s most well-known jazz musicians and composers from the Middle East and beyond, including award-winning German Jazz Music Award winner and German-Lebanese oud master Rabih Abu Khalil. The Bands Across Borders ensemble, a supergroup featuring leading musicians and top vocalists, instrumentalists, jazz, pop and rock musicians from around the Arab world, joined by legendary European musicians, managed by the renowned Jordanian artist Aziz Maraqa in a jazz orchestra performance of the most well-known Arabic tunes from the region.

The two-day event featured Egyptian oud master, the award-winning Hazem Shaheen in his new jazz formation. Muhammad Abu Zekry also performed, best known for being the youngest officially recognized Arab oud master at only 14 years of age, and has now moved on to being the founder of one of the most invigorating jazz ensembles in France. This lineup was supported by the rising stars from the Saudi music scene, including Bahraini-Saudi fusion band Majaz, Saudi band Al-Farabi, the Saudi National Music Group, featuring the best traditional music from the Kingdom, and Dammam’s very own Jazz fusion band, Mosaic.

The collective sounds of clapping and fingers tapping to the rhythm of the audience members were invisible but audible.

Dammam’s very own local jazz fusion band strummed gently, with no words or lyrics, allowing listeners to fill the gaps with feelings or words of their own. With clear Khaleeji-Latin-American influences, their set almost felt like a sonic collage or soundtrack for the day; upbeat and danceable at times but also melancholy and reflective and slow, too.

Majaz Bahraini band, known for what is referred to as “earth music,” came from across the bridge from Bahrain. With their bombastic, muffled sounds of rock-inspired melodies, the sound was also distinctively Khaleeji, with plenty of clapping. The stage lights also played a critical part in pulsing with the music beats, illuminating the space as audience members instinctively used their hands to clap along or to drum on their knees.

The event started fashionably early — nearly an hour ahead of schedule.

Local band member Fawaz Ba’assam, the lead in Mosaic who also plays keys, was bewildered and exhilarated after the show. Playing in larger venues was something the band hoped for when they formed years ago, but it seemed so far-fetched to be on stage in their hometown when they started — or even just a few short weeks ago.

“The festival is amazing. I’m really happy that that happened. And I’m really glad that happened here in Dhahran and Dammam where we grew up and where we live because it’s always in the big cities; it’s always in Riyadh and Jeddah,” he told Arab News.

Band member and bass guitarist Saud Al-Ashikh also reiterated how the band had to be quick on its feet and jump at opportunities that came to them without much prior notice. The collaboration on stage between both Majaz and Mosaic happened on the spot — they joked that the organizers simply needed to fill 20 minutes to stall for the next performer — so they just went on stage and moved their instruments on the fly. They mentioned how the city only received approval to put together this festival a fortnight ago and, in true jazz spirit, they enthusiastically simply went with the flow and improvised.

“This happened quickly. I didn’t expect five years ago that the Arabic Jazz Music Festival will happen anytime soon. Or even two weeks! Literally, before two weeks, I didn’t expect this. I’m really happy,” Al-Ashikh told Arab News.

Self-proclaimed “music hobbyist,” Ahmed Hindash, moved to Khobar during the pandemic and has been trying to connect with the creative community in Shargiyya ever since. As a Jordanian, he jumped at the chance to hear live music performed by local bands in an attempt to experience Saudi culture better. He serendipitously came across a post about the festival while scrolling through Instagram and immediately booked a ticket for both days — for himself and his friend. During the performance on opening night, he couldn’t help but continuously tap his hands on his legs.

“I’m a big fan of drums, and I enjoy whenever I see a drummer in front of me. I just get into the flow of music, get into the tempo of the music. Majaz, they play this fusion of reggae, Moroccan style, Khaleeji, Bahraini music and this fusion of everything really picks up the whole vibe. It’s a definite unique band that I would enjoy to see them again,” Hindash told Arab News.

Audience members using their hands to show appreciation was definitely the reoccurring theme of the night.

While speaking to Arab News, Majaz wholly agreed.

“There’s something about the claps, I don’t know — everyone can do it. And it’s like, you don’t need any kind of rhythmic knowledge. It’s kind of something that innately comes with every human being; you know how to clap. And think it is a very powerful aspect of our kind of music now that I actually think about it,” Majaz guitarist and vocalist Hameed Al-Saeed told Arab News.

“We want to make the audience feel like they’re a part of this, as well. We want them to immerse in this whole thing. And that’s the beauty of a live show. It’s like, yes, just come be a part of the band with us. Let’s all play together and clap,” Al-Saeed said.


Al-Sheikh leads Saudi delegation to G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit

Al-Sheikh leads Saudi delegation to G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit
Updated 07 October 2022

Al-Sheikh leads Saudi delegation to G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit

Al-Sheikh leads Saudi delegation to G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit

JAKARTA: A delegation from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, headed by speaker of the Shoura Council Sheikh Dr. Abdullah bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim Al Al-Sheikh, participated at the eighth G20 Parliamentary Speakers’ Summit on Oct. 5, 2022.

The summit, held in Jakarta, was themed “Recover Together, Recover Stronger.”

Indonesian President Joko Widodo, President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union Duarte Pacheco, and Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia Puan Maharani, were also present.

Widodo delivered the opening speech and welcomed the various parliament speakers, stressing the importance of the group, which seeks to solve all problems facing the world’s population, referring to the significance of communication among all countries to realize economic recovery and create a more prosperous and developed world.

Indonesia is the host of this year's gathering of the world's top 20 economies, coming next after Italy (2021) and Saudi Arabia (2020).

The G20 members are: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, UK, US, and the European Union. Spain is also invited as a permanent guest.


Saudi Arabia’s Qassim launches breast cancer awareness campaign 

Saudi Arabia’s Qassim launches breast cancer awareness campaign 
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Qassim launches breast cancer awareness campaign 

Saudi Arabia’s Qassim launches breast cancer awareness campaign 

QASSIM: Al-Qassim Health Cluster launched a breast cancer awareness campaign, “Qassim is Rosary,” on Wednesday as part of international Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. 

The Qassim Health Assembly said that more than 180 of its health centers and facilities have been designated to conduct initial examinations for the early detection of breast cancer.

The campaign, targeting women aged between 18-60, aims to educate the community about the dangers and causes of breast cancer, as well as methods of prevention and early detection. 

It also encourages women to book mammogram appointments at clinics available in the region. 

The event also featured stories of women who recovered from breast cancer as well as folkloric performances.

The awareness campaign will be held at women’s government facilities, universities and colleges, and parks.


Global Health Exhibition starts in Riyadh Sunday

Global Health Exhibition starts in Riyadh Sunday
Updated 06 October 2022

Global Health Exhibition starts in Riyadh Sunday

Global Health Exhibition starts in Riyadh Sunday

RIYADH: Thousands of medical professionals and industry leaders are heading to Riyadh for this year’s Global Health Exhibition.

The conference is being held at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center from Sunday to Tuesday under the patronage of Minister of Health Fahad Al-Jalajel. 

It is expected to attract more than 10,000 specialists and 250 companies from 30 countries.

The exhibition provides opportunities for visitors to meet fellow professionals and policymakers, and coincides with large investments by Saudi Arabia into healthcare under its Vision 2030 reform plan.

The forum will host conferences on public health, integrated care, and the future of medical laboratories and radiology.

The event will also launch the Leaders Forum, which will bring healthcare leaders and government officials together to discuss digital transformation and efficiency.

The GHE attracted thousands of healthcare professionals and companies in 2018 to 2019 and virtually in 2020 to 2021.


Saudi Arabia’s Al-Baha to double Shadawi coffee production

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Baha to double Shadawi coffee production
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Baha to double Shadawi coffee production

Saudi Arabia’s Al-Baha to double Shadawi coffee production
  • Over 1,000 new jobs, tourism boost expected, says agriculture official
  • Farmers provided funding, irrigation equipment and seedlings

Al-Baha plans to double its production of its famous Shadawi coffee beans, a move that would create jobs and income for the region, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

Al-Baha is home to more than 200 farms that have over 22,000 trees growing beans of the highest quality, SPA reported.

There is room for growth, with an overall area of 1.6 million square meters available that has the capacity for 300,000 trees.

Fahd bin Muftah Al-Zahrani, director of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture in the region, said: “Coffee production will increase by 100 percent. It will also create 1,000 new jobs. It will have a business, training, and exhibition center, making the region a distinct agricultural tourism destination.”

Al-Zahrani said the mountainous terrain requires careful cultivation to allow the trees to flourish.

The ministry has started providing farmers with access to water sources, and tanks for storage with the capacity ranging from 60 to 240 tons.

Farmers have also been supported with modern irrigation equipment and seedlings. This initiative has so far benefitted 122 farmers.

In addition, the ministry is providing financial support for small farmers through its Rural Program, which will help them produce, manufacture and market the coffee beans.


Saudi Red Crescent Authority courses benefit 113,000

Saudi Red Crescent Authority courses benefit 113,000
Updated 06 October 2022

Saudi Red Crescent Authority courses benefit 113,000

Saudi Red Crescent Authority courses benefit 113,000

 

RIYADH: The Saudi Red Crescent Authority has successfully organized 918 training courses and awareness lectures across the Kingdom, benefitting more than 113,000 people this year, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.

On the occasion of World Teacher’s Day, Abdulaziz Al-Suwaine, the authority’s official spokesperson, said: “The authority is keen to spread the culture of first aid in educational institutions and introduce people to ways to deal with cases of sickness that require urgent intervention before the arrival of the emergency teams.

“This aims to save more lives and alleviate suffering, which would strengthen the health safety means in communities and educational facilities. Therefore, the authority held numerous awareness-raising training courses and lectures in these institutions.”

Of the 214 training courses organized at educational institutions, the Qassim region had the highest share with 52. Meanwhile, the Eastern region received 704 awareness lectures.

“The authority has previously launched several awareness-raising initiatives. The most significant of these initiatives was ‘A Safe School,’ which aims at training all those working within the educational system, be it teachers, administrative employees or students, to introduce them to the basics of first aid. The initiative included the provision of a set of training courses and lectures that suit different age groups,” Al-Suwaine said.