4 pop-culture highlights from across the Middle East

4 pop-culture highlights from across the Middle East
Bahraini pop star Hala Al-Turk dropped a new single on Platinum Records. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 02 September 2022

4 pop-culture highlights from across the Middle East

4 pop-culture highlights from across the Middle East
  • From Hala Al-Turk to Rima Yussef, here are the stars – signed with international labels – making headlines in the region with their new music

Hala Al-Turk

‘Allo Ya Habibti’

The Bahraini pop star dropped her new single on Platinum Records last week and the accompanying video has already racked up over 1.3 million views on YouTube. The lively, danceable track is the first that Al-Turk has released in the Egyptian dialect, and the video plays on that country’s cinematic heritage with a glamorous old-school vibe.

Statues of Sinking Men

‘Al Sa’aa Al Oula’

Jeddah-based synthpop artist Statues of Sinking Men (real name Abdulmalik Zubailah) cites Depeche Mode and Arabic indie veterans Cairokee and Jadal among his influences. His latest single is, according to his label Wall of Sound, about the “inner struggle of an outcast, who seeks an impossible love, sinking in his despair not by choice, but because he is forced to.”

Sandmoon

‘Where Do We Go From Here’

The Lebanese indie outfit led by Sandra Arslanian have just released this second single from their upcoming album. It’s a subtle, evocative piece of melodic indie-pop which, Arslanian told Arab News, is “about seeking guidance from a trusted person. The person might have a mental health condition, such as Alzheimer’s, but it is her guidance within, her guidance to our hearts, that is sought.”

Rima Yussef

‘Anta’

The Lebanese singer and composer’s latest release on Universal Music is a collaboration with the popular Algerian producer ElJoee and introduces some North African raï melodies to Yussef’s repertoire in what the label describes as a “Maghreb electronic track.” ElJoee was surprised at how well the pair worked together: “I never thought a collaboration with a Middle Eastern voice would go this good,” the producer said in a press release.


French Algerian actress Lyna Khoudri nominated at Cesar Awards 

French Algerian actress Lyna Khoudri nominated at Cesar Awards 
Updated 26 January 2023

French Algerian actress Lyna Khoudri nominated at Cesar Awards 

French Algerian actress Lyna Khoudri nominated at Cesar Awards 

DUBAI: French Algerian actress Lyna Khoudri has been nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category at the 48th Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars. 

Khoudri has been nominated for her role in filmmaker Cedric Jimenez's “Novembre,” which tells the story of the terrorist attacks in Paris on the night of Nov. 13, 2015. She plays Samia, a charitable young woman who volunteers at a homeless camp. Her flat mate is bankrolling her cousin, one of the terrorists. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by lynakhoudri (@lynakhoudri)

The actress is no stranger to starring in films based on real-life incidents. In November 2022, she premiered “Nos Frangins” or “Our Brothers.” The movie tells the harrowing true story of French Algerian student Malik Oussekine who died in police custody in 1986 following several weeks of student protests against a university reform bill. Khoudri plays the role of his sister. 

Meanwhile, Louis Garrel’s “The Innocent” and Dominik Moll’s thriller “The Night of the 12th” are leading the race at the Cesar Awards, with 11 and 10 nods, respectively. 


Saudi-helmed Ashi Studio, Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali showcase new designs in Paris 

Saudi-helmed Ashi Studio, Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali showcase new designs in Paris 
Updated 26 January 2023

Saudi-helmed Ashi Studio, Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali showcase new designs in Paris 

Saudi-helmed Ashi Studio, Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali showcase new designs in Paris 

DUBAI: Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi, founder of Beirut-based label Ashi Studio, and Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali showcased their newest collections this week in Paris.  

Ashi’s new collection is called “Moon and Dust.”  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ashi Studio (@ashistudio)

The creations include glitzy gowns that mirror the sparkling night sky. Some of his new ensembles had voluminous, structured fabric around the waist and shoulders.   

The dresses came in white, beige and black hues.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ashi Studio (@ashistudio)

He treated fans who were not able to attend the presentation to a 14-minute video of the show published on his website.   

Some of his Grecian style dresses featured draped silhouettes and others had feathers in gold. (Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Al-Ali presented a pastel-colored collection that was inspired by the Golden Fleece, one of Greek mythology’s oldest fables. 

Some of his Grecian style dresses featured draped silhouettes and others had feathers in gold.


US Palestinian model Fai Khadra and Kylie Jenner spotted front row at Paris Haute Couture Week 

US Palestinian model Fai Khadra and Kylie Jenner spotted front row at Paris Haute Couture Week 
Updated 27 January 2023

US Palestinian model Fai Khadra and Kylie Jenner spotted front row at Paris Haute Couture Week 

US Palestinian model Fai Khadra and Kylie Jenner spotted front row at Paris Haute Couture Week 

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia-born Fai Khadra — a US Palestinian model and artist — has been spotted at a number of events during Paris Haute Couture Week alongside American reality TV star Kylie Jenner. 

The duo were most recently seen front row at the Jean Paul Gautier show on Wednesday. Hollywood stars Timothee Chalamet and Tilda Swinton were also present at the show. 

Khadra and Jenner were also seen together at the Maison Margiela Co-Ed Collection show on Sunday in Paris. 

The two friends were joined by “Elite” star Manu Rios on the front row, as well as singer Noah Cyrus and supermodel Naomi Campbell. 

Jenner also stepped out for the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring Summer 2023 show on Monday, wearing a faux taxidermy lion’s head on the front of her dress, creating quite a stir on social media. 


Lebanon’s Zuhair Murad presents latest designs at Paris Haute Couture Week  

Lebanon’s Zuhair Murad presents latest designs at Paris Haute Couture Week  
Updated 26 January 2023

Lebanon’s Zuhair Murad presents latest designs at Paris Haute Couture Week  

Lebanon’s Zuhair Murad presents latest designs at Paris Haute Couture Week  

DUBAI: Lebanese designer-to-the-stars Zuhair Murad joined the stellar line-up of Arab designers who presented their Spring/Summer 2023 collections during Paris Haute Couture Week.  

The couturier on Thursday offered up gowns that will most certainly be sported by his A-list clientele on red carpets around the world for film festivals and movie premieres this year. 

Murad presented his Spring/Summer 2023 collection during Paris Haute Couture Week. (Getty Images)

The Ras Baalbek-born designer’s new collection features form-fitting gowns, voluminous capes, high-slit dresses, asymmetric ensembles and more. Feathers, sequins, fringes, ruffles, hooded dresses and geometric patterns were all seen on the runway. 

His feminine suits featured cut-out detailing to add an elevated touch to his designs.

Zuhair’s new collections features satin scarves. (Getty Images)  

Headgear seems to be making a comeback this season. Zuhair’s new collections features oversized hats, satin scarves and beaded headpieces.  

Italian Lebanese designer Tony Ward’s collection also featured hats. Made from the same fabric and patterns as the dresses, the asymmetric, geometric and structured hats will make a statement on red carpets.  

Lebanese designers Elie Saab, Georges Chakra, Georges Hobeika and Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi, founder of Beirut-based label Ashi Studio, showcased their latest collections in Paris this week.  


Review: Shababik Restaurant — follow in Ronaldo’s footsteps at this authentic Lebanese hotspot in Saudi Arabia  

Review: Shababik Restaurant — follow in Ronaldo’s footsteps at this authentic Lebanese hotspot in Saudi Arabia  
Updated 26 January 2023

Review: Shababik Restaurant — follow in Ronaldo’s footsteps at this authentic Lebanese hotspot in Saudi Arabia  

Review: Shababik Restaurant — follow in Ronaldo’s footsteps at this authentic Lebanese hotspot in Saudi Arabia  

RIYADH: Shababik restaurant’s pop-up location in Diriyah, Riyadh, made headlines recently when Portuguese football legend Cristiano Ronaldo, who recently signed for local team Al Nassr, stopped by for dinner with Saudi Minister for Sport Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal.  

Shababik serves authentic Levantine cuisine. It launched in 2014 in Jeddah, and the pop-up will be open until Feb. 22 as part of Diriyah Nights. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shababïk (@shababikksa)

Shababik’s outdoor terrace makes it an ideal place to visit while the weather is cool (there are heaters provided to make sure it’s not too chilly). Sitting outside gives you the opportunity to take in the surrounding palm trees and urban art, and the nearby architecture, which is inspired by the traditional Najdi style. It’s a relaxed, peaceful atmosphere — although the restaurant does occasionally host live music.   

We visited earlier this month to sample a little of the Ronaldo lifestyle.  

For starters, we selected the hummus with meat. It was fresh and tasty, but lacked the all-important final touch: a drizzle of olive oil. The Fattah — a staple dish of cooked eggplant and toasted croutons — was a great way to begin the meal, and we also enjoyed the cheese roll, which was dusted in wild thyme and served grilled rather than fried, giving it that slight crunch without the grease. 

The oriental potatoes were fine, if a little lackluster. They needed more flavor to really bring the dish to life.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shababïk (@shababikksa)

From the seafood menu, we selected the grilled prawns in a marinade of buttery garlic and lemon sauce with chopped cilantro. The prawns were tender and beautifully cooked, and the sauce complemented them well.   

The highlight of the meal was the lamb shank oriental rice wrapped in pita bread. The cinnamon-and-pistachio aftertaste was especially interesting and really worked to enhance the flavors of the meat. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Shababïk (@shababikksa)

Throughout our visit, the staff were friendly, prompt and eager to help. 

As you might expect, given the restaurant’s recent high profile, those wishing to dine at Shababik must first reserve a table on the MyTable app and pay SR350 per person up front. 

Overall, the food was good, but it’s the Diriyah location that really makes a visit to Shababik worthwhile — giving it a vibe inspired by authentic Saudi roots.