Cuban-Khaleeji Project keeps Dhahran clapping

Cuban-Khaleeji Project keeps Dhahran clapping
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On a cool, breezy Dhahran night, the Cuban-Khaleeji Project brought its fusion of musical cultures to Ithra on Thanksgiving. (Supplied)
Cuban-Khaleeji Project keeps Dhahran clapping
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On a cool, breezy Dhahran night, the Cuban-Khaleeji Project brought its fusion of musical cultures to Ithra on Thanksgiving. (Supplied)
Cuban-Khaleeji Project keeps Dhahran clapping
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The final performance at the Ithra Theater will take place on Nov. 25. (Supplied)
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Updated 26 November 2023
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Cuban-Khaleeji Project keeps Dhahran clapping

Cuban-Khaleeji Project keeps Dhahran clapping
  • The musical fusion is playing for three nights only, Nov. 23-25
  • This marks the first time the ensemble has performed outside of NYC and the UAE

DHAHRAN: On a cool, breezy Dhahran night, the Cuban-Khaleeji Project brought its fusion of musical cultures to Ithra on Thanksgiving.
Originally commissioned by The Arts Center at New York University Abu Dhabi in early 2019, this is the first time an audience has heard the ensemble play live outside of New York and the UAE. The final performance at the Ithra Theater will take place on Nov. 25.
“The show is a rediscovery of friendships, roots, and relationships that have their source in ancient realities — and in the future. And I can prove this because when I first met Ghazi Al-Mulaifi, I could have sworn I’d known him my whole life,” Grammy-winning jazz musician Arturo O’Farrill told the crowd on opening night.
O’Farrill was referring to the Kuwaiti-American professor of music and his all-male jazz band Boom.Diwan — named after ‘The Boom,’ an important Kuwaiti ship used for pearl diving — who helped him bring some of the sounds of the sea to life on the Ithra stage.
O’Farrill, born in Mexico and raised in NYC, brought a flair and consistency to the sounds throughout the evening. He has been a fierce advocate for the preservation of Afro-Cuban culture for decades — following in the footsteps of his Havana-born father. Together with the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra, the younger O’Farrill has worked to push the boundaries of the sounds of Cuba to bring them to the world.
The show, which lasted almost two hours, was followed by a Q&A session hosted by Energy Radio. Bill Bragin, who is the first artistic director of The Arts Center at NYUAD was on the panel.

Bragin told the crowd how the project originated. While in NYC some time ago, he said, he was immersed in the music of the region and was introduced to Al-Mulaifi’s music.
“A few years later, I went to Kuwait to see the group and, right around the same time, I was going to Cuba for the first time and I was reading a book by an author named Ned Sublette, called ‘Cuba and its Music.’ And, usually, you think a book like that is going to start in Africa, but actually it started talking about Arabic music and poetry and the influence around Andalusia, and then into Africa,” he explained. “And I started thinking, ‘There’s something here.’”
Bragin recognized that the music from various areas — including Cuba and Kuwait — were, in essence, sounds that were extracted from nature, especially the sea. He then started to assemble a way to create a unique sound through which he could channel the sonic connections which have been there for centuries. His challenge was to bring them to a contemporary audience in a cohesive way.
The Ithra performance included Yazz Ahmed, the Bahraini trumpeter and composer, who was clearly at ease on stage, nodding to her fellow musicians, part-conductor part-player. Her graceful movements and slick sounds could not be ignored.
But the undoubted star was Emirati oud player Ali Obaid, from Fujairah. His elegant performance captivated the crowd, and was complemented beautifully by the other musicians, who elevated his playing, but never competed with it.
The award-winning Moroccan ‘enchantress’ Malika Zarra completely shifted the show’s energy, the audience instantly became livelier and more spirited in response to her wild hair, infectious smile, dainty dance and powerful voice. The clapping was constant as her singing turned to scat and she seamlessly transitioned from faster to slower melodies.
The grand finale was when the show’s Cuban sounds were fully highlighted. All of the performers returned to the stage for the final song, “Desert,” which expertly showcased the talents and strengths of each of them and left the audience thirsty for more.
Tickets for the show start at SR100 ($26) and can be purchased on the Ithra website or app.


Saudi Arabia launches project to help citizens find jobs in top global organizations

Saudi Arabia launches project to help citizens find jobs in top global organizations
Updated 5 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia launches project to help citizens find jobs in top global organizations

Saudi Arabia launches project to help citizens find jobs in top global organizations

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has launched a recruitment platform aimed at helping citizens find jobs in top organizations worldwide.

 

The Dawli platform was launched on Monday during the LEAP 2024 technology conference in Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

 

Announcing the platform, government official Abdulhadi Al-Mansouri said the aim was to ensure citizens gain international experience.

 

Al-Mansouri thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for initiating and supporting the project.


Saudi Interior Minister meets with Korean Minister of Interior and Safety

Saudi Interior Minister meets with Korean Minister of Interior and Safety
Updated 05 March 2024
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Saudi Interior Minister meets with Korean Minister of Interior and Safety

Saudi Interior Minister meets with Korean Minister of Interior and Safety

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Interior Abdulaziz bin Abdulaziz received the Korean Minister of Interior and Safety Lee Sang-min in Riyadh on Monday.

The ministers discussed ways to enhance existing security cooperation between the nations, in addition to addressing a number of issues of common interest.


Saudi Shura Council Foreign Affairs Committee meets with British politicians

Saudi Shura Council Foreign Affairs Committee meets with British politicians
Updated 05 March 2024
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Saudi Shura Council Foreign Affairs Committee meets with British politicians

Saudi Shura Council Foreign Affairs Committee meets with British politicians

RIYADH: Shura Council's Foreign Affairs Committee met with a delegation from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee at the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament in Riyadh on Monday.

The committee was chaired by council member Wael Al-Idrisi and the British delegation was headed by select committee chairman Alicia Kearns.

During the meeting, Al-Idrisi reviewed the historical relations between the Kingdom and the UK and stressed the importance of strengthening relations in all fields to achieve common interests.


Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future

Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future
Updated 04 March 2024
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Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future

Reading marathon promotes library culture, greener future
  • Bookworms’ efforts over three days concluded with pledge to plant over 2,500 trees in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco

DHAHRAN: A reading marathon to promote library culture and environmental awareness was recently organized in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Morocco, with over a quarter of a million pages read.

The Arab libraries that participated in the three-day event were King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, also known as Ithra, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Egypt and the National Library of Morocco.

The goal of the marathon was to plant one tree for every 100 pages read, which Ithra estimates would take an average reader one hour. The center said that 326,250 pages were read during the reading marathon, equivalent to 2,504 trees.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

The printing of physical books consumes a large percentage of trees, so the planting of new ones directly arrests some of that loss.

Upon arrival at the designated library during operating hours, participants registered at the reception and received a QR code which they used throughout the experience. They were gifted a bookmark and a notebook to log their details. Upon completing their reading for the day, they returned to the reception area to declare the number of pages they read, which were then logged.

HIGHLIGHTS

• According to Ithra, 326,250 pages were read during the reading marathon, equivalent to 2,504 trees.

• Ithra will plant the trees on the readers’ behalf in collaboration with the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification in Saudi Arabia.

• A token of appreciation was awarded to those who read 100 pages, 200 pages, 500 pages and 1,000 pages.

In an effort to encourage reading in public spaces, all had to read books in-person in order for it to count, participating on one, two or all three days depending on availability.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

A token of appreciation was awarded to those who read 100 pages, 200 pages, 500 pages and 1,000 pages.

At Ithra, a large screen updated the number of pages completed in real time, as well as showing the updated numbers from Morocco and Egypt.

“This is the largest reading marathon in Arab libraries, held for three days from Feb. 29 to March 2. It seeks to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life,” an official statement by Ithra said.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

Abdulrhman Al-Qahtani was one of the participants at Ithra. An avid reader, he drove a short distance to the center to join in the fun after coming across a post about it on social media. With his cup of black coffee situated on a small round table, he found a comfortable spot in a plush seat in the middle of the plaza and was immediately immersed in a book written by the late, great Egyptian author Taha Hussein.

Speaking to Arab News, Al-Qahtani said: “I have a ritual of reading every afternoon during the weekend, but this time, it’s with an even greater purpose. Normally, people read for their own personal pleasure or growth but this was an opportunity to do what I already do — and the world would also benefit.

Planting trees is going to help make the world more beautiful, but the lasting impact on our planet will be immense.

Abdulrhman Al-Qahtani, Reading marathon participant, Ithra

“Planting trees is going to help make the world more beautiful, but the lasting impact on our planet will be immense. I’m happy to do my part.”

Talking about the experience, he added: “Usually, I read on my own at various places with the sounds of laughter swirling around me. Here, I’m amongst other readers. Ithra did a great job in making this a suitable environment for reading. Instead of reading 100 pages, you’ll read 200.

“This is my first time participating and it has been such a great experience. I brought my own book but once I’m done, I’ll browse the books available here and I’m sure I’ll read pages from those, too,” he concluded.

The largest reading marathon in Arab libraries was organized ‘to inspire the society to read in public libraries, believing in the library’s role in enriching the scientific and cultural life.’ (Supplied/AN photos)

While many of the books on the shelves at Ithra were in Arabic, readers were encouraged to read any book in any language. They could bring their own, like Al-Qahtani, or borrow some from the shelves. The pages could also be from the same book or from multiple books.

The space directly beneath the iconic Ithra library also had seats for people to sit and read on. Ithra added temporary booths with books in the middle of the plaza for easy access.

Ithra will plant the trees on the readers’ behalf at a later date, in collaboration with the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification in Saudi Arabia. The other participating countries will also plant trees in their local communities.

 


Exhibition at Saudi creative hub shows anonymous artist’s personality

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)
‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)
Updated 04 March 2024
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Exhibition at Saudi creative hub shows anonymous artist’s personality

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

RIYADH: A collaboration between Saudi creative hub Burble and anonymous artist Mo Lazim Tearef has brought a personality-themed art exhibition to Riyadh.

“Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition” is at Huna Takhassusi until March 7. It features seven blue and red paintings created with acrylics, along with a bare space representing unfinished works. Together, the works tell MLT’s story (whose name translates as “You don’t need to know”) as he confronts two traits that annoy him about his own character — haste and excuses.

Mohammed Al-Kabeer, curator and founder of the exhibition, said this was the third and final episode of MLT’s story, following on from “Grandpa’s Kid” and “My friend is a vampire.”

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

“MLT created this exhibition (by) rushing everything with an incomplete vision, which showcases how hasty he is,” he said.

The artist has created square characters to symbolize his excuses. The blue one is “the father of excuses” while the red ones are the small ones who follow.

Al-Kabeer said: “Father of excuses is a character that resides within each of us. He constantly rationalizes our actions, providing excuses that enable us to persist and persuade ourselves of the righteousness of our deeds regardless of their merit. He holds excuses in high regard, treating them as his own offspring.

‘Finally it’s my incomplete exhibition’ is at Huna Takhassusi until march 7. (AN photos by Rahaf Jambi)

“The persona takes inspiration from the (purple) dot on the Burble logo. MLT opted for blue and red (because the) amalgamation results in the color Burble (purple).”     

The exhibition walks viewers through MLT’s perception of excuses in every action he performs, touching their hearts along the way. The abandoned paints, brushes and mop in one corner represent his unfinished work.

“We have collaborated with more than 30 artists, but MLT is the only (one we have) adopted and who we have a lifetime contract with,” Al-Kabeer added.

Burble is a multidisciplinary creative hub that focuses on exhibitions, talks, courses and pop-ups.