Loulwa Al-Sharif: Saudi singer finds her passion on stage, from dancing to jazz

Loulwa Al-Sharif, a jazz singer from Saudi Arabia, is captivating audiences across the Kingdom with her mesmerizing voice. (Supplied)
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Loulwa Al-Sharif, a jazz singer from Saudi Arabia, is captivating audiences across the Kingdom with her mesmerizing voice. (Supplied)
Loulwa Al-Sharif, a jazz singer from Saudi Arabia, is captivating audiences across the Kingdom with her mesmerizing voice. (Supplied)
2 / 3
Loulwa Al-Sharif, a jazz singer from Saudi Arabia, is captivating audiences across the Kingdom with her mesmerizing voice. (Supplied)
Loulwa Al-Sharif, a jazz singer from Saudi Arabia, is captivating audiences across the Kingdom with her mesmerizing voice. (Supplied)
3 / 3
Loulwa Al-Sharif, a jazz singer from Saudi Arabia, is captivating audiences across the Kingdom with her mesmerizing voice. (Supplied)
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Updated 02 July 2023
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Loulwa Al-Sharif: Saudi singer finds her passion on stage, from dancing to jazz

Loulwa Al-Sharif, a jazz singer from Saudi Arabia, is captivating audiences across the Kingdom with her mesmerizing voice.
  • After the sudden loss of her father to a heart attack at 24, Al-Sharif found solace in singing, using it as a way to sing away her sorrow
  • Al-Sharif believes that singing heals her soul, and is an expression of feelings and pain — and more expressive than playing an instrument

RIYADH: Loulwa Al-Sharif, a jazz singer from Saudi Arabia, is captivating audiences across the Kingdom with her mesmerizing voice, establishing herself as a unique presence in the world of jazz music.

She likes singing famous jazz songs such as “What a Wonderful World,” “Comes Love,” “I’ll Be Seeing You” and “My Funny Valentine.”

Al-Sharif took the stage with the Jazzdotorg band, who had traveled from New York, for their inaugural performance in Saudi Arabia in May. The unforgettable night took place at the Ithra Center in Dhahran.

“I recently became aware of my purpose during my most recent performance at Ithra, where I was invited as a guest of honor as a Saudi jazz singer to perform with a fantastic jazz band that was visiting Alkhobar for the first time from New York. Following that, I want to concentrate on jazz compositions with a Saudi touch with the hopes of promoting Saudi jazz globally,” Al-Sharif told Arab News.   

At the age of 5, Al-Sharif discovered her talent for the stage, finding joy in moving and dancing to music. Over time, she nurtured her skills and taught herself the art of singing.

“As I grew older in my teenage years, I discovered my love for singing on my own. My mother has always supported my love for art, such as painting and, nowadays, singing.

“She is a huge supporter and my backbone who believes in my talent and loves me. I’ve always loved music and listening to Disney movies songs,” she said.

After the sudden loss of her father to a heart attack at 24, Al-Sharif found solace in singing, using it as a way to sing away her sorrow. She believes her late father was a significant support and feels he would continue to be if he were alive.

“My father was a musician who used to play the oud instrument and loved music, I know that if my father were still living today, he would be extremely proud.”  

In her journey to discover her music style, Al-Sharif initially began singing in Arabic. However, at the age of 23, she crossed paths with an underground music band in Jeddah called Disturb the Balance, who assisted her in transitioning to English music.

“When I first tried to sing in English, I started with alternative rock like evanescence and learned the timing and harmonies. Then, in 2016, I met a blues musician who, after hearing me sing, encouraged me to listen to jazz and blues. At the time, I thought singing in English was very difficult and I wished I could do that, which was a big challenge. 

“I chose to remain with blues and jazz because it spoke to me and felt natural to me.” 

Al-Sharif believes that singing heals her soul, and is an expression of feelings and pain — and more expressive than playing an instrument.  

“I used to be hard on myself for not knowing how to play the piano, but then I realized that I was surrounded by wonderful musicians with whom I could collaborate. I love to share energy with kind people and produce art that comes from various souls.” 

In 2019, Al-Sharif participated in an episode of “Arabs Got Talent” to gain more experience in performing and overcome her stage shyness. Since then, she has graced various stages, including MDLBeast and the Saudi International Golf Tournament at KAEC.

She has performed at many events in AlUla, Ithra in the Eastern Province, as well as at King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, and MDLBeast in Riyadh. 

“I’ve been working on breaking the barrier of creating songs from the heart, which I believe is really difficult and profound. I’m in the process of writing original songs with the assistance of friends and writers,” she said.


Many Hajj pilgrims begin final rituals before returning home

Many Hajj pilgrims begin final rituals before returning home
Updated 11 sec ago
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Many Hajj pilgrims begin final rituals before returning home

Many Hajj pilgrims begin final rituals before returning home
  • More than 1.8m have performed Hajj this year

MINA: Hundreds of thousands of this year’s total of more than 1.8 million Hajj pilgrims began performing the final rituals of their pilgrimage early on Tuesday morning before preparing for the return home.

Many began stoning the pillars in Mina at noon on Tuesday and then headed to the Grand Mosque to perform the final ritual of circumambulating the Kaaba seven times, known as Tawaf Al-Wadaa, concluding their pilgrimage.

However, those who remain in Mina until sunset on the second day of Tashreeq are required by Islamic teachings to stay for a third day before leaving Makkah.

Speaking to Arab News, Aminatu Haruna, a Nigerian pilgrim, said she will be leaving Makkah on Tuesday to return to her homeland after completing Hajj with her two children.

A majority of this year's 1.8 million Hajj pilgrims began their final rituals early Tuesday morning in preparation for their return home. (AN photo Huda Bashatah)

Talking about the services provided to pilgrims, she said: “All I can say is Alhamdulillah (thank God).

“The Saudi government is really trained, and we have seen so many improvements. They introduced electric cars and scooters. Of course, all the officials, when I stopped to ask them, were always there to help.”

A majority of this year's 1.8 million Hajj pilgrims began their final rituals early Tuesday morning in preparation for their return home. (AN photo Huda Bashatah)

Doran Ahmed and Gina Amin, an Iraqi Kurd couple, were also planning to leave Mina on the same day after fulfilling the stoning ritual.

Ahmed and Amin expressed their gratitude to the Kingdom for preparing Hajj in a “great and seamless way, without any problems.”

They told Arab News: “Today, we bid farewell to this blessed land.”

A majority of this year's 1.8 million Hajj pilgrims began their final rituals early Tuesday morning in preparation for their return home. (AN photo Huda Bashatah)

Many pilgrims, after completing their farewell tawaf, journey to Madinah to pray at the Prophet’s Mosque and visit the city’s numerous Islamic landmarks.

Security staff and Hajj and health officials have confirmed that all their plans were successfully carried out, and no pandemic diseases were recorded.

A majority of this year's 1.8 million Hajj pilgrims began their final rituals early Tuesday morning in preparation for their return home. (AN photo Huda Bashatah)

According to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, more than 170,000 personnel have served the 1,833,164 pilgrims who performed Hajj this year. Of these, more than 1.61 million came from over 200 countries worldwide.

About 40 million bottles of Zamzam water had been served to pilgrims up to Monday, while 300 food supply contractors had provided 9 million daily meals.

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Meanwhile, the Presidency of Religious Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque had been preparing to welcome pilgrims arriving to perform the farewell tawaf to complete their Hajj rituals.

A comprehensive package of services had been prepared, including guidance, field awareness, educational lessons, initiatives, and enriching religious activities for pilgrims, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

A majority of this year's 1.8 million Hajj pilgrims began their final rituals early Tuesday morning in preparation for their return home. (AN photo Huda Bashatah)

The Haramain Presidency has painted white more than 11,000 sq. meters of the areas adjacent to the Grand Mosque, using materials which help to reduce the temperature at the site for pilgrims.

This fast-drying chemical can be used both indoors and outdoors, on asphalt or concrete surfaces. The paint used at the mosque reflects sunlight and mitigates the effects of climate change, helping to provide a more comfortable environment for waiting, walking, and gathering.

The temperature in Makkah and Mina reduced from nearly 49 C to 38 C on Tuesday morning, according to a report by the National Center for Meteorology.

 


Islamic affairs ministry starts distributing over 1.8 million copies of Qur’an to departing Hajj pilgrims

Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance has started distributing 1,879,352 copies of the holy Qur’an to pilgrims.
Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance has started distributing 1,879,352 copies of the holy Qur’an to pilgrims.
Updated 18 June 2024
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Islamic affairs ministry starts distributing over 1.8 million copies of Qur’an to departing Hajj pilgrims

Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance has started distributing 1,879,352 copies of the holy Qur’an to pilgrims.
  • The copies, printed by the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an, are available in various sizes

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah, and Guidance has started distributing 1,879,352 copies of the holy Qur’an to departing Hajj pilgrims, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The copies, printed by the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an, are available in various sizes.

Translations of the holy book are available in more than 77 languages, a testament to the ministry’s commitment to inclusivity and respect for all pilgrims departing for their home countries via King Abdulaziz International Airport, Jeddah Islamic Port, and other crossings.

Hajj 2024 ended on Tuesday and some pilgrims have started departing for their home countries having visited Madinah before the pilgrimage.


Saudi health minister hails success of Hajj plans

Saudi health minister hails success of Hajj plans
Updated 18 June 2024
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Saudi health minister hails success of Hajj plans

Saudi health minister hails success of Hajj plans
  • Fahad Al-Jalajel: Despite the large number of pilgrims and the challenges posed by high temperatures, we experienced no outbreaks or public health threats
  • Al-Jalajel praised the Supreme Hajj Committee for its measures to protect pilgrims from extreme heat and other health risks during rituals

RIYADH: The Saudi minister of health has hailed the success of preparation for Hajj after no outbreaks or threats to public health were recorded during the annual pilgrimage.

Fahad Al-Jalajel said in a statement: “I am pleased to announce the success of this year’s Hajj health plans. Despite the large number of pilgrims and the challenges posed by high temperatures, we experienced no outbreaks or public health threats.

“The health system was equipped with 189 hospitals, health centers and mobile clinics, offering a bed capacity exceeding 6,500. Over 40,000 medical, technical, and administrative staff and volunteers were mobilized, supported by more than 370 ambulances, seven air ambulances, 12 laboratories and 60 trucks.

“We also provided more than 1,860 medical supplies and, in a significant move, deployed three mobile medical warehouses across the holy sites,” he added, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

More than 390,000 pilgrims received healthcare services during the pilgrimage this year, of which 28 underwent open heart surgery, 720 received cardiac catheters and more than 1,169 had dialysis sessions, the minister said.

Virtual health services through Seha Virtual Hospital were provided to more than 5,800 pilgrims, and heat stress cases were managed with appropriate medical care. Proactive awareness efforts helped limit the increase in cases.

The minister attributed the success of the plans to the integration among all government agencies, including the Makkah Health Cluster of the Health Holding Company, the Red Crescent Authority, the Public Health Authority (Weqaya), the Food and Drug Authority, and significant contributions from the National Unified Procurement Company (NUPCO), the Health Volunteering Center and other entities in the Kingdom.

Al-Jalajel praised the Supreme Hajj Committee for its measures to protect pilgrims from extreme heat and other health risks during rituals. He also expressed gratitude to the Ministry of Interior for its active role in executing the health plans.

The achievement reflects the integration of all government entities and preparation for the Hajj season within the framework of the Guests of God Program, the minister said.

He highlighted the Central Hajj Committee’s recommendation for pilgrims to avoid peak heat times, saying the guidance contributed to maintaining safety and managing heat stress cases.


Niger PM leaves Jeddah after performing Hajj

The Prime Minister of Niger Ali Lamine Zeine leaves Jeddah on Tuesday after performing Hajj. (SPA)
The Prime Minister of Niger Ali Lamine Zeine leaves Jeddah on Tuesday after performing Hajj. (SPA)
Updated 18 June 2024
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Niger PM leaves Jeddah after performing Hajj

The Prime Minister of Niger Ali Lamine Zeine leaves Jeddah on Tuesday after performing Hajj. (SPA)
  • Zeine attended a Hajj reception hosted by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday

RIYADH: The Prime Minister of Niger Ali Lamine Zeine left Jeddah on Tuesday after performing Hajj, Saudi Press Agency reported.

Zeine attended a Hajj reception hosted by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Monday.

Other notables who performed Hajj this year include Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and the Prime Minister of Yemen’s internationally recognised government Ahmed Awad bin Mubarak.


Minister praises efforts of workers during Hajj 

Minister praises efforts of workers during Hajj 
Updated 18 June 2024
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Minister praises efforts of workers during Hajj 

Minister praises efforts of workers during Hajj 
  • Ahmad bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi praised the efforts of workers and volunteers during Hajj, saying their work had ensured that pilgrims could perform their rituals with ease and in safety
  • Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched several services and initiatives as part of its efforts to serve pilgrims, workers, and establishments during the Hajj

MINA: The Saudi Minister of Human Resources and Social Development Ahmad bin Sulaiman Al-Rajhi has praised the efforts of workers and volunteers during Hajj, saying their work has ensured that pilgrims can perform their rituals with ease and in safety.

He added that their efforts were in line with the directives of leadership, which call for providing support and facilitating many services for pilgrims, through integration and cooperation with all government and private sectors.

His comments came during his visit on Tuesday to the main operations center of the human resources and social development system for Hajj.

He was briefed on the progress of work and the efforts of the ministry’s inspection teams in enhancing the compliance of establishments operating during Hajj.

He also observed prominent initiatives, services, and tasks carried out by volunteer teams within the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the holy sites.

The ministry has launched several services and initiatives as part of its efforts to serve pilgrims, workers, and establishments during the Hajj season, including enabling seasonal work through the Hajj employee service and the seasonal visa service.

The ministry’s inspection committees, in partnership with the relevant authorities, carry out continuous monitoring of the work system provisions. The ministry has also launched an anti-begging initiative for the season in multiple languages, and supervised over 22 child hospitality centers in Makkah and the holy sites through another scheme, in addition to several other volunteer and service plans to serve pilgrims.

These efforts are a continuation of the work being done to enhance and improve the effectiveness of services, while increasing volunteer opportunities to facilitate Hajj rituals and serve pilgrims.