RIYADH: The European Music Week in Riyadh is bringing audiences classical, pop, folk and jazz sounds to celebrate the “dynamism and richness of relations” between Saudi Arabia and the EU.
The EU delegation, in partnership with the embassies of EU member states and the Saudi Music Commission, inaugurated the event on Nov. 11.
Running until Nov. 20 at the Saudi Music Hub, the festival is hosting a rich selection of artists from Portugal, Denmark, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Estonia, Greece and the Netherlands.
Christophe Fernand, ambassador of the EU, told Arab News: “Tonight is the launch of the European Music Week. It is a unique occasion; it is an event that did not exist before. This is a very important moment for Saudi Arabia and the EU. It reflects the dynamism and richness of the relations. The economic partnership must be strengthened by a cultural partnership.”
The ambassador added: “We live in a world where trade is increasingly important. It is fundamental that people learn to know each other, to better understand each other and this goes through culture in the general sense of the term. Tonight, it is the turn of music to bring together two cultures as rich and diverse as each other.
“Music today is an opportunity to have a good time together and also to know each other.”
Faisal Al-Gain, director general of the Saudi Music Hub, told Arab News: “This is an important event because our goal is to celebrate culture. It is, therefore, an incredible opportunity that allows us to celebrate musical art, and to promote new co-creation and new content.
“So, we could really embrace this art and look at best practices and how we can work together, whether it’s in the form of performances or from an educational perspective, to see how we can improve the quality of music.”
Since Nov. 11, the Saudi public and music enthusiasts at the festival have explored European music, including contemporary Portuguese sound, courtesy of the group Almanata, a collective made up of Portuguese friends living in Riyadh.
Louise Tuxen, a Danish singer and composer, showed her rich and emotive repertoire at the festival. Whether singing in Danish or English, her melodies explore themes of life, family, friendship, happiness, sadness and death.
Tuxen captivated the audience with her warm voice, offering a delightful musical journey through a small corner of Denmark.
The Arcis Saxophone Quartet brought German sounds to the event through its four talented members: Claus Hierluksch, Ricarda Fuss, Anna-Marie Schafer and Jure Knez.
French-Maltese singer Cynthia Queenton blends charm and talent, and is widely recognized for her vocals through advertising jingles aired on French television.
Queenton blends “swing poppy jazz” with a “French touch.” Raised on the sounds of Ella Fitzgerald, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Cole Porter and Michel Legrand, she honed her craft at the Academie de musique et de danse Classique de Paris.
Audiences will also have the opportunity to attend concerts featuring artists from Italy, Estonia, Greece and the Netherlands.

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