Music of Saudi Arabia

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Music of Saudi Arabia

Both Western and traditional music are very popular in Saudi Arabia. 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 Jawhar, 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.


Talal al Maddah Music                                 Abbadi al Jawhar Music

Saudi Video Music

Traditional Khaleej Music -DVD 1

Mohammad Abdo:  Ayyouh, Ma Fi daii, Qataltani, Laila Laila
Asmaa Limnawwer: Variety Khaleej Tunes
Abbadi Aljawhar

Traditional Khaleej Music- 1
Video DVD- $10.50
Traditional Khaleej Music - DVD 2

Abbadi Aljawhar, Abdalla Ruweishid, Abdilmuhsin Mhanna, Diana Haddad , Asmaa Limnawwer and others performing several Traditional and popular Khaleej Music and songs

Traditional Khaleej Music- 2
Video DVD- $10.50
Traditional Khaleej Music - DVD 3

Abu bakr salim, Gharreed Alshatii, Saud Alaroush and other Kuwaiti and Yemeni artists perform Traditional Kuwaiti and Yemeni Music

Traditional Khaleej Music- 3
Video DVD- $10.50