JEDDAH: The inaugural Kingdom’s Melody Festival is taking center stage in Jeddah, captivating audiences with a celebration of Saudi Arabia’s musical heritage.
The three-day festival began on Thursday with a mission to illuminate the history of music and composers in the Kingdom, highlighting their deep-rooted cultural ties to the local community.
The festival opened with a poignant tribute to pioneers of Saudi composition.
Deputy Minister of Culture and Vice Chairman of the Music Commission Hamed Fayez honored Saudi composer Abdulrab Idris and late artist Omar Kadars.
Singer Mohammed Abdu opened the musical evening with a stirring performance of compositions by Kadars and Idris.
Before the concert, Abdu said: “Kingdom’s Melody is a wonderful initiative by the Ministry of Culture. Today, we honor the distinguished figures in Saudi music, and this is a new beginning for us.”
The Jeddah Superdome was transformed into a vast musical tent, resonating with applause and cheers from a capacity audience mainly clad in the traditional Saudi shemagh, a red-and-white headscarf.
The festival continued with two events: “Send Love” allowed the audience to send greetings to beloved composers, while “Melodic Memories” showcased songs from various musical figures.
Samar Moghrabi told Arab News: “I am very happy about the Kingdom’s interest in Saudi song composers, and I thank the Ministry of Culture for this unique event.”
Shadi Tashkandi, who was attending with his family, said: “This grand event brings together iconic artists who have shaped the musical history of our country. I am proud to attend this event in my beloved city, Jeddah.”
The festival also featured performances by Abdel Majeed Abdallah, who presented a selection of songs composed by Fawzi Mahsoon and Saleh Al-Shehri.
The final night promises a showcase by Saudi composer Abadi Al-Johar, featuring songs composed by Talal Bagher.
Complementing the performances, an accompanying exhibition narrated the stories and experiences that shaped Saudi music and its composers.
Jeddah’s historical significance in Saudi music was underlined, as diplomatic missions recorded the earliest Saudi musical compositions. Smart screens and high-definition speakers allowed visitors to explore Saudi music from its inception to the present.
The festival is set to become an annual event, with each year focusing on the influence of other cultures on Saudi music.
This initiative aligns with the Quality of Life program, part of the Vision 2030 framework, which strives to enhance cultural experiences and foster the arts in Saudi Arabia.