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Music of Saudi Arabia: Wikis

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The music of Saudi Arabia includes both Western and traditional music. Like many of its Persian Gulf neighbors, khaleeji folk traditions are popular styles. The most distinguished musician in recent Saudi history is Tariq Abdulhakeem, who composed hundreds of famous Saudi songs for himself as well as for other singers. Saraj Omar has become a very prominent composer after composing the music for the Saudi national anthem. In 1999, the 1st Arab Pioneers Festival, which was held in Cairo under the patronage of the Arab League, honored four of the lead composers in Saudi Arabia: Tariq Abdulhakeem, Ghazi Ali, Mohammed Al-Senan, and Mohammed Shafique. Mohammed Al-Senan is the first Arab composer who won the 1st Place World Wide Award in the first Children International Nile Song Festival which was held in Cairo in September 1998, for his song "I Love You Mom".

Later musicians include the pan-Arab star Mohamed Abdu, Saudi Arabia's first pop star, and the late Talal Maddah, known as the "Sound of the Earth", who died in August 2000 while singing in the summer festival on the stage of Al-Muftaha Theatre in the southern region of Saudi Arabia. Of the same generation was the 'ud virtuoso Abadi al Johar, and lately Abdul-Majeed Abdullah came strongly to the scene.

Saudi traditional music is quite limited, however. The migratory lifestyle of the bedouin militated against carrying excess baggage, including musical instruments. Simple rhythms, with the beat counted by clapping or striking together everyday implements formed the basis of the music. Instruments like the double-reeded ney or the stringed rababa were sometimes used, after being obtained in cosmopolitan cities such as Basrah, Baghdad, and Jeddah.

Music, however, is considered "sinful" by some Muslims. This is based, in part, on certain ahadith which speak negatively of non-percussion musical instruments and the idea that music and art are distractions from God. Particularly in the early days of the current Saudi state, religious authorities were quick to repress music other than the rhythmic percussion that still dominates contemporary Saudi music. The advent of radios, tape and CD players in the country saw the attendant growth of shops supporting them. Most cities of any size now have crowded music shops. With the coming of satellite TV, music video stations, ranging from MTV (Europe and Lebanon versions), VH1, and assorted European and Arabic music channels are very popular.

Samri is a popular traditional music and dance.


Rock artists from Saudi Arabia:

  • Sound of Ruby
  • Wry Wreathe
  • Wasted Land

References

  • Badley, Bill. "Sounds of the Arabian Peninsula". 2000. In Broughton, Simon and Ellingham, Mark with McConnachie, James and Duane, Orla (Ed.), World Music, Vol. 1: Africa, Europe and the Middle East, pp 351-354. Rough Guides Ltd, Penguin Books. ISBN 1-85828-636-0
  • For Folk traditions, see:

Urkevich, Lisa. "Saudi Arabia." The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd ed. Ed. Stanley Sadie. London: Macmillan, 2000. <http://www.grovemusic.com>

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