A Fusion of Arabic and Jazz


Composing and singing with Mothana Anbar.

Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born and raised in Jeddah. I traveled at the age of 19 to finish my undergraduate studies at the University of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA and have been practicing music since the year 2000.

How did your musical journey begin?

I started learning about music from my uncle who studied music at an Egyptian institute; I’ve been experimenting with music ever since. When I was in college, I used music for class projects to express ideas and tell stories incorporating Arabic poetry in the process.

Your compositions are usually jazz, Arabic or oriental. How do you work with such diverse genres?

Living in New Orleans, also known as the birthplace and capital of jazz, was a major influence on my music taste. Even though I accept all genres with an open mind, I consider jazz my comfort zone. Then of course comes the oriental and Arabic poetry part, which is tied to my heritage and culture. It’s deeply rooted in my existence and I am simply trying to fuse both worlds to come up with new means of expression.

What would be one of your favorite moments on stage?

The moment I lose sense of place and time and all that’s left is the overall journey and emotions carried by the music and its meaning.

What is your dream project?

“Musical projection” is something I’ve been trying to develop for a while. Basically, it’s using the technology of “projection mapping” to create an interactive short play using music and poetry. Hopefully, it’ll become a reality one day.

What do you think needs to be done to enhance the music scene in the Kingdom?

  • Showing people that music can be beneficial.

  • Creating venues with easy access for musicians to openly perform.

  • Reintroducing music in schools and opening institutions that teach music and all kinds of arts is also an option.

What piece of advice would you give to upcoming musicians?

Be persistent in achieving your goals and dreams. Always work on improving yourself and remember that there will always be obstacles. Most importantly, have fun with the art you’re creating.

Twitter: mothannaanbar
Soundcloud: mothanna-anbar


Balad Opens Doors for the Disabled, Orphaned and Elderly


Unforgettable experiences for visitors and organizers, alike.

Every three months with directors of different organizations and sponsors, people who are physically challenged and children who have lost their parents are invited to take a tour of Balad and discover the wonders of this beautiful district. Another trip is arranged twice a year for the elderly coming from Makkah.

“Because it is a favorite for many, it becomes imperative that an informative and fun trip to Balad be organized for them,” says Abir AbuSulayman, co-founder of Jeddah’s Heart – an initiative aimed at renovating Balad.

The tours consist of assistants guiding the visitors in every way possible, like helping in pushing the disabled wheelchairs, describing the sites and showing all the main hot spots. There is always a stopover at Bayt Jeddah, where they get to enjoy folklore dances and participate in the performance. Next, a thorough tour of Bayt Jeddah is done, explaining the life of Jeddahwis in the past. The visit also consists of a trip to the library and gallery to hear more short stories and tales as well a chance for the visitors to draw with the painters. The residents of the district also make sure to welcome them with open arms.1

AbuSulayman adds, “They love the place and they recognize it. Even if there is no festival, once they step out of their bus, they look around and shout ‘balad balad’ with extensive excitement, calling me, ready for the tour. The elderly enter these old houses with tears in their eyes, reminiscing old times. It’s all truly heartwarming.”

Variations are made with each visit to make sure visitors stay excited and motivated to discover more.

“The highlight of their visit is that they always seem happy and comment in unexpected ways. It’s always surprising for us as well because we discover new things about them every time,” AbuSulayman concludes.

Facebook: JeddahHeart
Web: jeddahbliss.com
Twitter: jeddahbliss
Instagram: jeddahbliss


For the Love of Mandi!


By Aabiya Baqai and Sumaiyya Naseem

We know you crave local.

  1. Al Seddah: 9.5/10

Location: Tahlia St., next to Al Baik
Price Range: SR 15-20

Definitely the best option in town, Al Seddah serves the freshest of mandis with flavorful, colorful rice and softly well-marinated chicken that adds pizzazz to the rice. The cherry on top has to be the green and red sauce served with the mandi, that takes you on a whirlwind of tasty experiences.

  1. Raydan: 7.5/10

Location: Safa District
Price Range: SR 15-20

Providing an authentic majlis-mandi experience, Raydan’s offerings are delicious when topped with extra sauce. Though the flavors are up to the bar, some people might not be comfortable with the floor seating because of the lack of hygiene. We think take-away is a great alternative.

  1. Al Majd: 9/10

Location: Saba’een Rd., before Al Tazaj
Price: SR 15-20

The aromatic and flavorful rice was the highlight of the mandi at Al Majd. The chicken complemented the rice very well, but it could have been a little better in terms of that necessary oomph. Overall, it was great.

  1. Makaronah Restaurant 6.5/10

Location: Makaronah Street
Price Range: SR 15 – 20

The white rice might be a bit oily, but the chicken is tasty and fresh. The highlight of the mandi experience was the sauce provided.

  1. Soroor Restaurant: 8/10

Location: Al Sharafiyah Dist.
Price: SR 50 – 60

Although the restaurant is at a bit of a dodgy place, it is worth the trip because of the super tasty lamb mandi. The softness of the meat combined with the rice equals to a valuable experience.

    1. Soroor Makaronah 7/10

Price Range: SR 15 – 20

The highlight here is the fresh chicken. However, the rice doesn’t have enough flavors and needs to be enhanced with extra sauce.

    1. Mat’am and Matbakh: 8/10

Location: Intersection of Arba’een and Sab’een
Price Range: SR 15-20

The rice is on the more okay side, but the chicken is well marinated and cooked. The chili sauce definitely added the flavor we were looking for.


Musical Talks with Talsam


Bringing back the 90’s grunge rock sound.

How and when did Talsam come about?
Talsam was formed in September 2015 when Abdullah Al Zaher, Shaher Karkashan and Ayman Shawly wanted to recreate that 90’s grunge rock sound. It wasn’t too long before Abdullah found the perfect vocalist via Facebook for that role, Moe Dahmous, and that was the beginning of Talsam.

You say you’re bringing back the flavor of the 90’s rock music, so why specifically the 90’s?
It is the music that all the Talsam members love and have in common. Some of us grew up listening to it in during that era and for others the 90’s music just grew on. We think that rock in the 90’s was at its best. Most of the rock sub-genres were revived at some point except for grunge, which didn’t really have its share and disappeared with the beginning of the new millennium, so we’re bringing back that 90’s sound to the crowds and everyone loves it.

What have been some of your favorite performances and remakes?
When we played Otherside by Red Hot Chili Peppers and people started singing along, it was the best feeling; seeing people interact with our performance and us. We also loved playing our originals and watching people enjoy our own music, it made us very proud.

What do you think about the music scene in Jeddah and what do you think is lacking?
Music is a universal language and you can find it anywhere you go. There are definitely so many great talents in Jeddah and a lot of people who enjoy good music. We just need more support and the right platform so these talents can be heard.

Any upcoming projects?
Performance-wise, we are appearing at the 2016 Rock Fest this summer and then doing our own show in Jeddah, as well as working on more original songs.

What piece of advice would you give to other upcoming bands and aspiring musicians out there?
First, find the right sound that defines you. Make sure the chemistry between the band members is great with good communication, but most importantly, have fun doing what you do.

Facebook: talsamband
Soundlcloud: talsamband
Instagram: itstalsam


Hassan Enany Mosque – An Architectural Wonder


One of the most beautiful architectural wonders in the city, the Hassan Enany Mosque is an attraction point right at the corner of the Middle Corniche Park, next to the famous Jeddah fountain.

Besides its prestigious location, this mosque is an example of grandeur Islamic architecture and interior design. Islamic architecture has a few identities that remain constant no matter where the building is in the world and these elements are what we’re going to break down and explain:

        1. The Dome:
Religiously, a dome represents a vault of Heaven just like a garden represents Paradise. Architecturally, the magnitude of the dome is a location point for mosques, informing worshippers that a mosque exists there.
The dome in the Enany Mosque is not very circular, making the four vaults connected to make the dome more obvious. Furthermore, the outside of the dome is made of small golden tiles, another recurring concept in Islamic architecture.

 dome mosque

        2. Minarets:
Inspired by the Byzantine Empire, minarets were taken from the church towers concept. The height allows for the call to prayer to reach further distances. The basic structure of a minaret includes a base, shaft and gallery, and also acts as a visual focal point for worshippers to see.
At this mosque, the minarets start off with a simpler structure, evolving into more detailed carvings and ornamentation, ending with a gallery and same tiles used on the dome.


        3. Calligraphy:
Usually adorned with Qur’anic verses, calligraphy is a beautiful way to represent the words of Allah and act as a reminder to all those who enter the mosque. There are a bunch of calligraphic methods, but the one used in the Enany Mosque is the thuluth script.

Credit: wikimedia.org

Credit: wikimedia.org

        4. Arabesque:
Arabesque refers to the floral and geometric patterns that we see in Islamic architecture. It could be in the form of writings, carvings or 3D motifs. It adds to the beautification of a place and is usually one pattern that is repeated consistently. Because drawing animals or humans is not allowed in Islam, artists chose to use such patterns, which still represent everything the world consists of.

The patterns in Enany Mosque are floral and stem from circular designs, repeating throughout the interior of the space.
interior HE

        5. The Floor Plan:
All spaces serve a purpose and reflect on the concept of the mosque – bringing the community together in prayer. The Mosque has been designed on a cornered land area besides the sea, which made way for a more hexagonal or star-shaped plan. There is a bit of landscaping outlining the space, as well as parking spaces surrounding two sides of the mosque.
There are a few elements that, like any Islamic structure, can be found in the Enany Mosque:

  • Courtyard:A large open space for worshippers to gather, either for shopping of ablution as was done in the past, or pray is there’s not enough space indoors. As can be seen in the floor plan of the Enany Mosque, the courtyard surrounds the Masjid, indicating the start of the Masjid.
  • Riwaq: A riwaq is an arcade or portico open on at least one side and serves as the transition space between interior and outdoor spaces. It also provides shade from rain and sunlight. Based on the floor plan, the area just above the dome seems to serve as a riwaq with a line of vaults.
  • Mihrab:It is a niche at the front of the mosque signifying the Qibla. The Mihrab of the Enany Mosque is white and has arabesque patterns, going well with the overall theme of the mosque.
  • Minbar:Usually a raised platform made of wood that the Imam uses to do his sermon (Khutbah). The Minbar here is also made of wood, with detailed carvings similar to the ones in the balcony and a raised platform for the Imam to stand.


Comment below and tell us about the next Mosque you’d like us to analyze.


The First Photographs of the Open-top LaFerrari


By Ferrari Media

The first ever photographs of the open-top version of the LaFerrari, the new limited-edition special series for clients and collectors who refuse to compromise on the joy of al fresco driving, have now been revealed.

The name and technical characteristics of the new car will be announced at the Paris International Motor Show, in addition to the number of examples Ferrari will build.

The new limited-edition special series will be available with a removable carbon-fibre hard top and a removable soft top. It has the same running gear and performance figures as the original LaFerrari, sporting 800 cv V12 (with a specific power output of 128 cv/l) coupled with a 120 kW electric motor (163 cv), unleashing 963 cv in total.

Significant and extensive modifications have been made to the chassis such as further honing the aerodynamics to guarantee the same drag coefficient when driving in the open configuration.


A Scuba Story with Nouf Al Osaimi


Encouraging eco-friendly diving for women in Saudi.

Trying to get away from the cold and rainy days of Manchester, Nouf Al Osaimi decided to go on holiday to Sharm El Sheikh one day and enjoy the beaches, but fate had other plans. Her friends convinced her to go on a boat excursion, which included a diving spot, changing her life goals forever.FullSizeRender-(6)

With Sharm El Sheikh being the starting point, in 2009 she went back to complete her basic PADI certifications, followed by PADI’s Rescue Diver and Divemaster certifications in Jeddah; eventually becoming a scuba diver instructor in 2013 by completing the instructor development course.

Al Osaimi wanted to provide a platform for women to be motivated and experience the wonders of underwater life of the Red Sea like she did, and that’s how Pink Bubbles came about. Its concept is to serve as a club for the rising demand of females to learn scuba diving and to spread environmental and marine awareness among the community. By getting women involved in diving, she hopes to expose them to an exciting hobby and way of life.10

Furthermore, Al Osaimi is a contributor to the Obhur Magazine due to her background in tourism management. She randomly came across an advertisement on Facebook asking for contributions, and Al Osaimi took it as the perfect opportunity to collaborate with the magazine and write articles on her underwater experiences. She is also part of the Eco Obhur campaign aimed at spreading marine environmental awareness.9

When asked about her favorite diving experience till date, Al Osaimi replied,

“Diving with sharks in the healthy virgin reefs of Sudan was definitely an extraordinary and unforgettable experience. It was amazing because everybody thinks that sharks are deadly creatures but it’s not true. It’s a media biased against sharks because in reality, 15 sharks attack humans per year while we kill 100 million sharks every year.” 3

Al Osaimi has always emphasized environmental awareness and believes that the protection of the underwater environment is key to protecting underwater life. “We need more facilities, good diving centers, more open and not specific to instructors, more beaches open to Saudis, protected marine reserves and environmental awareness for divers and instructors. We also need marine national parks.”4

Diving Hacks

  • Remember that we are just visitors and are not allowed to touch or disturb anything underwater.

  • Take nothing but photos and trash.

  • Leave nothing but bubbles.

  • Stay hydrated.2

Mob: +966-535353128
Instagram: PinkBubblesDivers
Facebook: Pink Bubbles Divers
Email: pinkbubblesdivers@gmail.com


Instrumenting with Maan Balila


An architect by day, musician by night, and a falafel advocate.

Who is Maan Balila?          

By profession I’m an architect and by passion, a musician. I play five instruments and write/record music at my home studio usually for fun, and sometimes publish it online.

How did you get into composing and recording music?

It all started 16 years ago. A school friend whose dad owned a music shop lent me an electric guitar and we started learning with one another. I eventually found myself on drums because it’s the best stress reliever. I started playing covers of other people’s songs and soon afterwards realized I can make my own versions, so I eventually started writing my own music. My friends encouraged me to publish it online, and thus the Soundcloud page started in 2011.cj1KRBOO9XdXX_s1lYfmEKqYePkBdXm4v0HbBH3dC9s

Your compositions are usually rock-oriented. Why have you chosen this specific genre to work with?

I find that I express myself best playing rock music. It’s high-energy, loud, full of emotions and doesn’t limit itself with too many musical rules.

There’s an interesting version of the Saudi National Anthem that you did. Could you tell us the process of creating that piece?

It was a gift for my best friend. We grew up listening to Punk Rock, and I thought he’d enjoy this version and it was a lot of fun to make.

What has been your favorite performance moment?

Germany was a truly humbling experience. They were very genuine and helpful with their comments and criticism of my playing technique afterwards. Another moment was a compliment I received from a kind old lady after a performance. She approached me as I walked off stage and said, “Your drum playing is graceful; you play drums as if you were playing the piano.” Her comment helped me understand the difference between musicianship and showmanship.XYW8_Y0_hmYKZhIXwZ90hiCjtqfeKBKlWKGMkGdp_M4

It says you’re a Falafel Sandwich on your Twitter. Why not shawarma?

I have to admit that I’m not a fan of shawarma. I don’t like meat in general; I rarely have it, but falafel! Oh man, falafel is my fuel. My first love. It goes like this: 1- Falafel. 2- Everything else.

What’s next for you?

At the moment, I’m working on writing and recording music for an upcoming film titled Madayen, scheduled for release in August. You can find out more about the project on visitmadayen.com. I’ve also recently joined local band Disturb the Balance on drums, and we’ve been writing music together and working on a new album.

Soundcloud: maan-balila
Twitter: maanbalila

YouTube: Hereticity1


Zakat Al Fitr – The How, The When, The Why

Credit: Shawana Aziz

Here’s a breakdown of what Zakat Al Fitr is all about and how do it the right way.

The What:

Zakat Al Fitr is a small amount of charity given either in the (preferably in the form of food according to most scholars) or money (according to some scholars as well) to the poor and needy at the end of Ramadan as a means of ending on a positive and spiritual note, summing up the concept of the entire month.


Credit: mosqueedeparis.net

The Why:

It is a chance for us to be grateful as a representation of being able to successfully complete fasts in the holy month. It is an opportunity to help the poor, further expiate our sins and gain the blessings of this charity.

The How:

The amount to give equals to one sa’ of food, which equals four times the amount that may be held in the two hands of a man of average build.

It can be given in the form of money or actual food (according to different scholar teachings) and to someone you believe would need it. This includes the poor and those in difficulty.

The When:

It becomes obligatory when the sun sets on the last day of Ramadan, and must be paid before the Eid prayer. It is permissible to pay it two or three days before that, if necessary.

Credit: nlightmentz

Credit: nlightmentz


Bisat Al Reeh – Festival and a Cause

2 (2)

Bisaat Al Reeh, one of the biggest charity bazaars in Jeddah, recently concluded its 17th run. The exhibition was launched by Princess Adela bint Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, the chairwoman of the Board of Directors at the National Home Health Care Foundation.

The bazaar is the perfect place for local and international entrepreneurs and craftspersons to showcase and market their products and creativity. This Ramadan, thousands of women visited to explore the various fashion, lifestyle and beauty brands. While the event is an excellent marketing venture, it also serves a higher purpose. Princess Adela, at a press conference for the event, spoke about the positive impact Bisaat Al Reeh has on the NHHCF’s chronic patient home care programs. Around 2,000 patients were able to receive around 4,422 social and medical services provided to them by the foundation.

The exhibition was open for a week in the middle of June. Sponsors included Salman Foundation, Jeddah Economic Company, Miras Holding Company amongst others.