Behind the scenes

In the last couple of weeks, I had the opportunity to go to wonderful events, interview admirable people, meet other journalists and photographers in Jeddah, and experiment a lot with my camera. All things I love doing!

The all-female Mary McBride band performing in Jeddah

The all-female Mary McBride band performing in Jeddah

One such event was the Mary McBride band concert at the American Consulate, an all-female band that travels the world to perform at embassies, museums, schools, shelters, hospitals, etc. Mary McBride, the lead singer, is mainly known from singing the soundtrack of the Academy-award winning film “Brokeback Mountain”. The concert was very good, and it was quite refreshing to attend a musical event in a country that has no cinemas or theaters.

Mary turned out to be an extremely down-to-earth and friendly person, I discovered when I interviewed her following the concert. The article I wrote for the Saudi Gazette can be found here.

Interviewing Mary McBride after the concert

The opening band of the evening, Saudi band Al-Farabi, was quite good as well I must say. The band plays fusion music on the classical lyrics of Arabic poets, including Al-Farabi, combining modern, Western instruments with traditional Arabic ones, such as the oud.

Saudi band Al-Farabi was the opening act of the evening.

Saudi band Al-Farabi was the opening act of the evening.

The following week I covered another concert – a totally different genre than the Mary McBride band. This time, it was Saudi hip-hop artists who stole the show at the German Consulate.

Qusai performing one of his songs

Qusai performing one of his songs

Saudi hip-hop artist Qusai aka Don Legend the Kamelion was the major act of the evening, but there were other good bands, such as Jeddah FAM and Run Junction. In January, the German Consulate had organized a jam session between Saudi musicians and a German hip-hop singer, Max Herre. Together, they had written and composed a song – From Berlin to Jeddah – that was released on YouTube on September 25.

Again, I got the chance to interview some of the artists when the concert was finished. My article appeared a week later in the Saudi Gazette. Read it here.

Interviewing Qusai (photo courtesy Ahmed AlQassem)

Interviewing Arabi and Toronto, two members of hip-hop group Run Junction (photo courtesy Ahmed AlQassem)

There was so much more going on in Jeddah. There was the opening of the exhibition Majazz (Metaphor) by Saudi artist Faisal Samra, who criticizes the way the media manipulate and even brainwash us. Read the article here.

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There was an interesting event at Park Hyatt Jeddah, in which participants experienced coffee cocktails and even a coffee-infused dinner, and I won an amazing Nespresso coffee machine! I made around 300 pictures that day and wrote about it in the Saudi Gazette.

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Apart from these, I went to some events without camera or wrote about other issues, such as the dangerous traffic situation in Jeddah. In fact, Saudi Arabia is one of the most dangerous countries in terms of traffic accidents and casualties. Another remarkable event was the Merlin Award evening at the InterContinental Hotel. Saudi Magician Mumdo won the prestigious award – the Oscar of the magic world – for best illusionist in the Middle East. Read my article here.

I met a remarkable German chef who works for a 7-star hospital – the first in the Middle East and Africa and interviewed him for the newspaper. And then there was the Rosewood Collection Review, which was perhaps the least interesting one but nevertheless worth mentioning.

All in all, these are events I love to attend and write about, especially the cultural ones. In the meantime, I am working on a few articles about social issues going on in Jeddah and the rest of the country. They take much more time and effort to write but are for me the most important things to publish. Hopefully, I will write about them in a next post.

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