Alkhobar’s Bohemia brings music to Saudi Arabia’s capital

Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)
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Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)
Alkhobar’s Bohemia brings music to Saudi Arabia’s capital
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Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)
Alkhobar’s Bohemia brings music to Saudi Arabia’s capital
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Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)
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Updated 08 March 2024
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Alkhobar’s Bohemia brings music to Saudi Arabia’s capital

Alkhobar’s Bohemia brings music to Saudi Arabia’s capital
  • Music cafe has carved out a new space for creative Saudi voices to be heard

RIYADH: Alkhobar-based Bohemia Art Cafe and Records has opened a new branch at The Warehouse in the Kingdom’s capital where visitors can enjoy coffee, buy vinyl records and vibe with live music.

Overlooking the picturesque rocky hills that showcase the beauty of historic Diriyah, the standalone vinyl shop and cultural music hub is situated at the end of a trail of warehouses. Approaching on foot, you’ll see the neon sign drawing you into the space. The cafe is smaller than the Alkhobar branch and has the same cohesive energy with a vibe that is all its own.

Co-founders Fawaz Alsulaim and Mansour Alhmaid met at university in the UK, where they studied mechanical engineering. They each had different tastes but both loved music. They opened Bohemia Art Cafe in Alkhobar in 2018 and it has become a sonic refuge for them and their clients.




Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

Alhmaid, who is from Riyadh, told Arab News about the significance of the new location: “We are very proud that this (Riyadh location) attracts the right clients. The client base in Riyadh is way bigger than Alkhobar; they enjoy different genres of music here — it’s all types, a bit of everything.

“We don’t have many walk-in clients, most follow us on our social media channels,” he said. As if on cue, several people arrived — all were enthusiasts from the Alkhobar branch.

The second branch was a long time coming. The Bohemia Art Cafe name has become synonymous with creatives in Alkhobar, a place for like-minded people to congregate and a space to amplify the Saudi talent brewing within.




Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

Building on the creative community, pulling from the nostalgic, retro vinyl culture was something the founders strived for.

Before COVID-19 put the world on hold, they had tried to open up a second branch in Riyadh.

“The plans were there since before COVID. Unfortunately, with COVID, the financial situation became tough. We had to delay it. And then when things settled, it became a good time to go there,” Alsulaim told Arab News.




Co-founders Fawaz Alsulaim and Mansour Alhmaid met at university in the UK. (Supplied)

Carving out a space for creative Saudi voices to be heard is the goal that unites the two branches. Open-mic events are one way to do it.

Alsulaim, who greets people at open mics in the Alkhobar branch, is always welcoming.

“We just had (one of) our last open mic in Alkhobar before Ramadan; we were very excited about it. First time for The Pineapple Jam Project, led by Sawsan, who has always been opening for people, so it was amazing to see her finally be a headliner in a show,” he said.




Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

Sawsan, who performed a medley of melodies at a recent show in the Alkhobar branch, said that she was elated that the cafe had blossomed recently.

“I can’t describe my feelings because it (had) been a year since my last gig. It feels amazing. These are my friends,” she told Arab News after her performance.

As a child, Sawsan would sing using a bottle of perfume as a mic in her bedroom and would belt songs out in the shower. Now, Bohemia Art Cafe is letting her voice flourish on a bigger stage.




Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

“The vibe at Bohemia is so good. I mean, I was so scared. Everyone here came to support me — half of the people here are my friends, the other half got to hear me sing so they might be my future friends — or something like that,” she said.

Both branches aim to foster local talent such as Sawsan’s and to serve as a hybrid space to collectively promote local voices.

“We have a great strategic partnership with The Warehouse. It works great for us and great for them. The shows are on the weekend so our work is done for us, in terms of shows,” Alsulaim said.




Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

“I’m surprised that records have been selling in Riyadh more than coffee — which is the opposite of what’s happening here in Alkhobar. People have been coming for the first weeks just for our records.”

Both branches have a “pre-loved” section in which clients can sell their records, something the founders are proud of.

Alsulaim plans to go back and forth between both locations. No matter what, he insists that the Alkhobar branch, which he calls “the OG” (or original), will remain.

During the month of Ramadan, Bohemia will be open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m in both Riyadh and Alkhobar. Artistic types in the Jax district will be able to step into Bohemia and enjoy their late night coffee and study, chill or listen to music — or all of the above.

“We plan to open a branch in Jeddah in the future,” Alhmaid said. “At Bohemia, we sell happiness.”

 


Female entrepreneurs highlight success stories at AmCham Saudi Arabia event in Jeddah

The Women in Business Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia recently organized an event in Jeddah.
The Women in Business Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia recently organized an event in Jeddah.
Updated 21 May 2024
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Female entrepreneurs highlight success stories at AmCham Saudi Arabia event in Jeddah

The Women in Business Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia recently organized an event in Jeddah.
  • The event featured an enlightening panel discussion on women’s empowerment and economic inclusion

JEDDAH: The Women in Business Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia recently organized an event in Jeddah dedicated to honoring the remarkable achievements of female entrepreneurs in the Kingdom.

Maha Al-Juffali, founder, director, and supervising board member of the Help Center, highlighted her journey as an entrepreneur and the establishment of her NGO supporting individuals with intellectual disabilities in Saudi Arabia during a time when their needs were largely overlooked.

She said: “It demanded resourcefulness, innovation, and hands-on engagement at every turn. We overcame challenges, and with the support of my family and friends, we achieved significant progress in reshaping societal perceptions and providing essential support to individuals with disabilities.”

Al-Juffali highlighted the essential ingredients that empower women entrepreneurs to thrive, stating: “It’s about fostering a supportive ecosystem that nurtures their ambitions, providing access to mentorship, networks, and tailored financial instruments. Additionally, it involves changing the narrative and challenging outdated stereotypes by celebrating female role models and showcasing their achievements to inspire others.”

She also emphasized the significance of leveraging the digital revolution, stating: “It is crucial to embrace the opportunities presented by the digital revolution, which have opened unprecedented avenues for women entrepreneurs. Technology has become a great equalizer, enabling individuals with vision and determination to launch and scale businesses.”

The event featured an enlightening panel discussion on women’s empowerment and economic inclusion, moderated by Nora Al-Jindi, director of Dar Al-Hekma University’s marketing program.

Joining the panel were esteemed guests such as Marriam Mossalli, founder of Niche Arabia; Dania Shinkar, founder and creative director of Dania Shinkar Ltd; Jehan Alallah, IT manager at Amazon; and Mohammed Khan, associate professor in the marketing, entrepreneurship, and strategy department at Effat University.

The session delved into a range of topics, including effective scaling strategies, leveraging networks, and attracting investors, offering valuable insights from experienced business leaders. Moreover, the event served as a platform to showcase the exceptional talent, innovation, and resilience of female entrepreneurs who are playing a pivotal role in shaping the business landscape of Saudi Arabia.

Mossalli emphasized the importance of networking and relationships in the Saudi entrepreneurial landscape, saying: “Events like these facilitate networking and relationship-building. Despite the digital advancements and various platforms, it still boils down to who you know. I eagerly anticipate the next one.”

She highlighted the challenges of scaling a business, noting the psychological shift required to delegate responsibilities. “Scaling is the most challenging part, especially when your business is your baby. Delegating and letting go is a psychological change you have to get used to. It’s not about stepping down but about trusting others. Taking risks, like expanding Niche into large events, was scary but necessary. It's about pushing through fear and embracing competition.”

She also commended the government’s efforts in breaking down taboos around working women, calling it “a positive change from the top down.”

For aspiring entrepreneurs, Mossalli advised: “Immerse yourself in the industry you aim to enter. Work in various roles and gain a comprehensive understanding of all aspects of the business before embarking on their entrepreneurial journey.”

Shinkar said: “My involvement in the event centered around fashion female entrepreneurs. The event has been fantastic for networking and raising awareness about female entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia. The recent reforms under Vision 2030 have provided significant opportunities and support for female entrepreneurs through initiatives, programs, and incubators. These have been invaluable in offering mentorship, funding, and access to trade shows and fashion exhibitions, helping us gain brand exposure regionally and internationally.”

Zeina Alnouri, AmCham Saudi Arabia Jeddah chapter coordinator, emphasized the importance of women supporting each other in business to pave the way for current and future success.

She said: “To excel as women in business, it’s important to work with one another to pave the path for those who are currently working towards their success and those who will come after them. We are proud to have brought together so many influential females from various fields this evening. It is inspiring to witness the accomplishments and experiences of each of our guests, and we eagerly anticipate hosting similar events of this caliber in the future.”

Attendees had the opportunity to engage in networking and knowledge-sharing activities, gaining valuable perspectives on the successes and challenges faced by women in business.


Preservation of heritage and nature top priority for Soudah Peaks project, says head developer

The Soudah Development company plans to rehabilitate about 200 heritage sites within the Soudah Peaks project area.
The Soudah Development company plans to rehabilitate about 200 heritage sites within the Soudah Peaks project area.
Updated 21 May 2024
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Preservation of heritage and nature top priority for Soudah Peaks project, says head developer

The Soudah Development company plans to rehabilitate about 200 heritage sites within the Soudah Peaks project area.
  • Project prioritizes sustainable environmental practices and protection of natural landscapes, cultural heritage and region’s unique architecture, says Daniel McBrearty
  • The project aims to establish a luxurious mountain tourism destination at an altitude of 3,015m above sea level in the Asir region of southwestern Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Soudah Development company plans to rehabilitate about 200 heritage sites within the Soudah Peaks project area in Saudi Arabia, and the work will be carried out in ways that preserve the authentic nature and natural splendor of the area, said Daniel McBrearty, the organization’s chief development officer.

The preservation of the sites and the natural landscapes around them is of paramount importance to the company as it undertakes its transformative tourism project, he added.

McBrearty told the Saudi Press Agency: “The Soudah project’s master plan places sustainable environmental practices at the forefront, ensuring the protection of natural landscapes, cultural heritage and the unique architectural style of the region.”

The Soudah Peaks project aims to establish a luxurious mountain tourism destination at an altitude of 3,015 meters above sea level in the Asir region of southwestern Saudi Arabia. In keeping with the objectives of the Saudi Green Initiative, only 1 percent of the 627-square-kilometer project area has been allocated for development.

“We will focus on safeguarding the environment and mitigating climate change impacts,” McBrearty said. “Soudah Development is committed to translating climate ambitions into tangible sustainability efforts aimed at restoring and reviving the area’s exceptional biodiversity.”

Several environmental initiatives are already underway, he said, most notably an afforestation project that aims to plant more than a million trees by 2030, in support of the Saudi Green Initiative and to help offset carbon emissions by 4 percent.

Soudah Development has already planted 165,000 indigenous trees, SPA reported, including species such as juniper, wild acacia, Dodonaea and katam (wild olive). This has taken place in collaboration with the National Center for Vegetation Cover Development and Combating Desertification, to help achieve environmental balance and climate resilience.

And in partnership with the National Center for Wildlife, the company has reintroduced 23 mountain ibexes and 10 idmi, or mountain, gazelles in the past three years, supporting efforts to protect the species from extinction.

McBrearty said that working under the auspices of the Public Investment Fund, the company is leading the development of Soudah Peaks to enhance the Kingdom’s increasingly diverse tourism offerings.

“The luxury mountain resort will feature 2,700 hospitality keys, 1,336 residential units and 80,000 square meters of commercial space across six development zones: Tahlal, Sahab, Sabrah, Jareen, Rijal and Red Rock,” he explained.

“By 2033, the project is projected to create thousands of direct and indirect job opportunities, contribute over SR29 billion ($7.7 billion) to the non-oil GDP (gross domestic product), and attract 10 million visitors annually by 2030, aligning with the nation’s tourism goals.”

Developers say Soudah Peaks will offer a wide range of attractions and activities, including mountain trails, long-distance hiking paths, paragliding, mountain biking, horseback riding and zipline adventures. Nature lovers will be able to immerse themselves in the natural splendor of its attractions, including national parks, biodiversity and agricultural terraces, and indulge in luxurious wellness experiences at eco-resorts, meditation centers and yoga retreats. There will also be an 18-hole golf course atop Soudah mountain, and mild temperatures of around 15 degrees Celsius will allow visitors and residents to enjoy the outdoor pursuits year-round.


Saudi Arabia, Japan leaders exchange views in video summit meeting

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio held a productive video meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday. (SPA)
Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio held a productive video meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday. (SPA)
Updated 21 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia, Japan leaders exchange views in video summit meeting

Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio held a productive video meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday. (SPA)
  • The crown prince expressed his desire to visit Japan as soon as possible to further strengthen ties with Japan
  • Kishida expressed his wishes for King Salman’s early recovery

TOKYO: Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio held a productive video meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the prime minister of Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday.
Kishida offered his best wishes for King Salman’s health, a gesture that was appreciated by the crown prince.
The crown prince expressed his desire to visit Japan as soon as possible to further strengthen ties with Japan. Kishida expressed his wishes for King Salman’s early recovery and said that he was also looking forward to strengthening the strategic partnership between Japan and Saudi Arabia, according to the foreign ministry in Tokyo.
As the two countries approach the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations, the Japanese prime minister expressed his desire to work even more closely with Saudi Arabia. He emphasized the shared goal of realizing peace and stability in the Middle East, a sentiment that was echoed by the crown prince. The leaders agreed to establish a “strategic partnership council” chaired by them to further strengthen bilateral relations.
Kishida expressed gratitude for Saudi Arabia’s stable supply of crude oil to Japan over the years. He also expressed his anticipation for Saudi Arabia to continue playing a leading role in stabilizing the global oil market, including through production increases, a sentiment that was appreciated by the crown prince.
Kishida added that he would like to cooperate in establishing a global supply chain for clean energy, such as hydrogen and ammonia, and promote cooperation in the field of mineral resources while using Japanese technology under the “lighthouse initiative” agreed between the two countries in July last year.
The crown prince said that Saudi Arabia would like to cooperate with Japan in various areas, including clean energy, and the Kingdom remained committed to providing a stable supply of crude oil to Japan.
Kishida expressed interest in creating business opportunities in Saudi Arabia, and making direct investments in Japan in a wide range of fields, including construction, power transmission, hydrogen, digital fields, information and communications technology, space, health, medicine, food and agriculture.
He also said that he would like to work together to achieve an early realization of the Japan-GCC free trade agreement. This agreement, once implemented, will significantly boost trade and investment between Japan and the GCC countries, creating new business opportunities and fostering economic growth. Negotiations are scheduled to resume soon.
The crown prince said that he welcomed the resumption of negotiations for the Japan-GCC free trade agreement and cooperation with Japan in fields beyond energy.
On peace and security, Kishida explained Japan’s diplomatic efforts and contributions in Gaza, including humanitarian aid and diplomatic initiatives. The crown prince said that he envisioned continued cooperation with Japan on diplomatic efforts to realize peace and stability, appreciating Japan’s active role in the region.
Kishida said that he would be pleased to hand over the symbolic “torch” of the expo to Saudi Arabia following Expo 2025 in Osaka-Kansai. This act symbolizes the continuation of the spirit of international cooperation and cultural exchange. He added that he would like to encourage cultural exchanges in entertainment, tourism, academia and football.
The crown prince said that Japan was an outstanding country in terms of culture and that he sought to strengthen cooperation with Japan in this area.
Read More: Saudi, Japan discuss ties at Vision 2030 business forum in Tokyo  


300 tons of Zamzam supplied daily in Madinah

300 tons of Zamzam supplied daily in Madinah
Updated 21 May 2024
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300 tons of Zamzam supplied daily in Madinah

300 tons of Zamzam supplied daily in Madinah
  • To ensure that Zamzam water is safe, a specialized technical staff takes more than 80 samples daily and examines them with the latest equipment

RIYADH: The General Authority for the Affairs of the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque exerts all efforts to provide Zamzam water at the Prophet’s Mosque so that worshippers and visitors can enjoy the blessed water.

The authority supplies 300 tons of Zamzam water, brought daily from Makkah to the mosque in Madinah on bowsers equipped for this purpose, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

To ensure that Zamzam water is safe, a specialized technical staff takes more than 80 samples daily and examines them with the latest equipment.

Meanwhile, Zamazemah Co. and the Coordination Council for Institutions and Companies Serving Domestic Pilgrims (Mutahed) signed a memorandum to provide Zamzam water bottles to domestic pilgrims during Hajj.

Deputy Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat attended the signing. This agreement aims to ensure high-quality services for pilgrims.


Saudi Arabia a ‘faithful friend’ of Cameroon, says envoy

Cameroon celebrates its national day at a diplomatic event in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Cameroon celebrates its national day at a diplomatic event in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2024
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Saudi Arabia a ‘faithful friend’ of Cameroon, says envoy

Cameroon celebrates its national day at a diplomatic event in Riyadh. (Supplied)
  • Cameroon’s ambassador to Saudi Arabia said that cooperation between his country and the Kingdom has “continued to deepen over the decades”

RIYADH: Cameroon has celebrated its national day at a diplomatic event in Riyadh, with the country’s ambassador hailing Saudi Arabia as a “faithful friend.”

Iya Tidjani, speaking at a reception on Monday in the Saudi capital to mark Cameroon’s 52nd national day, said that cooperation between his country and the Kingdom has “continued to deepen over the decades.”

Riyadh Mayor Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf was the guest at the reception, which was attended by diplomats in Riyadh, Saudi officials and businessmen, the Cameroonian community and embassy staff.

“Since 1966, the year of establishment of relations between the two countries, these ties have continued to deepen and diversify to the mutual benefit of both countries,” Tidjani said.

The ambassador praised Saudi Arabia for sending medical missions every year to support the Cameroonian health sector.

“Our government also expresses sincere thanks to Saudi Arabia for their laudable efforts for the Hajj, both in terms of organization and infrastructure,” he added.

In 2019, the Great Mosque of Maroua in northern Cameroon was inaugurated, built with the support of Saudi Arabia.

The mosque can accommodate up to 5,000 worshipers and is “considered one of the most beautiful achievements in mosque construction in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Tidjani.

The ambassador highlighted Cameroon’s battle against the Boko Haram militant organization, describing Saudi Arabia as a “friend and a major player … as can be seen from its role in the fight against terrorism.”

He added: “Cameroon and Saudi Arabia share similar views on international issues and Cameroon joins the international community to support Saudi Arabia in its effort toward peace in the Middle East and beyond.”

Cameroon’s national day on May 20 saw citizens celebrate the “unity, peace and stability of a country firmly committed to the path of emergence,” the embassy said in a statement.