Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh was treated to a rare musical event this week by legendary Pakistani Qawwali singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan. Known as one of the world’s most loved, contemporary South Asian artists and playback singers of Bollywood and the Pakistani film industry, Rahat sang for the first time ever in Saudi Arabia, mesmerizing an audience of around 3,000 fans with some of his most popular Qawwali (a genre of devotional of Sufi poetry) songs.
The show, which was completely sold out in a matter of days, brought in many people from across the Kingdom and even the United Arab Emirates, all who travelled to Riyadh to attend the one-of-a-kind event. The concert was organized by the Pakistani Embassy in collaboration with the Ministry of Media.
According to Saudi Arabia’s Center for International Communications website, the Pakistani singer has also planned dozens of Qawwali concerts across the world, in countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Turkey, Morocco, South Africa, Kenya, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Also known as the nephew of late maestro Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Rahat has won many national and international awards throughout his career such as Pakistan’s Lux Style Awards, Pakistan Media Award, and International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA Award).
Rahat’s concert in Riyadh is one of many that have taken place in Saudi Arabia since the ascension of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to his role. In line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which is being spearheaded by the Crown Prince, Saudi Arabia has been relaxing restrictions on public modes of entertainment and, as a result, bringing in musicians from all over the world to regale audiences across the country. In addition, Saudi Arabia has rescinded former bans on public entertainment such as cinemas and women attending football matches in stadiums.