The General Culture Authority in Riyadh has announced its latest initiative; a one-of-its-kind music ensemble entitled the Saudi National Music Band. Opening to a warm reception earlier this week, the band gave its first performance during the 12th edition of the Kingdom’s much-loved Souq Okaz. In attendance, to enjoy the beautiful sounds of the newly-formed band, was the chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage, Prince Sultan bin Salman.
According to Arab News, the night began with instrumental Arabian music, to the delight of the audience. The band then played Saudi Arabian favorite “Jina Min Al-Taif,” and paid tribute to King Salman with “Aash Salman.”
The band features some of Saudi Arabia’s best musicians, hailing from every part of the Kingdom and led by Saudi singer Dr. Abdel Rab Idris. The ensemble is comprised of a maestro, Emad Zaree, who is on the qanun, a string section with violins and cellos, solo artists, a ney flute player, oud players, a pianist, and a keyboard player.
“We have a chorus section of more than five singers. Of course, the number of musicians depends on the size of the stage, on the event itself, but the band itself can have as many as 35 musicians,” explained Zaree.
Speaking to the news site, the head of the music sector at the General Culture Authority, Diya Azzony, explained that the band is currently focusing on Saudi folkloric cultural music from all corners of the Kingdom.
“We mainly focus on playing the songs instrumentally and also modern Saudi national music. When it comes to Saudi national music, we have a lot of songs, both classical national music, national anthems or songs, and also modern ones […] Everyone in this band is Saudi, it’s a Saudi band 100 percent,” said Azzony.