EDM star Marshmello’s first Saudi gig is anything but mellow

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Marshmello performing at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Basketball Arena at King Abdullah Sport City on Wednesday. (Supplied photo)
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Marshmello performing at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Basketball Arena at King Abdullah Sport City on Wednesday. (Supplied photo)
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Marshmello performing at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Basketball Arena at King Abdullah Sport City on Wednesday. (Supplied photo)
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Marshmello performing at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Basketball Arena at King Abdullah Sport City on Wednesday. (Supplied photo)
Updated 11 July 2019
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EDM star Marshmello’s first Saudi gig is anything but mellow

  • Masked DJ and producer gets Jeddah crowd pumped up during a show packed with his hits
  • Saudi DJ duo Dish Dash kick the evening off with a well-received opening set

JEDDAH: American EDM artist Marshmello enthralled fans in Jeddah with a brilliant live performance on Wednesday night, his first in Saudi Arabia.

The evening began with a well-received opening set from acclaimed Saudi DJ duo Dish Dash, who are no strangers to performing in front of large crowds in the Kingdom.

After they finished up, the stage was set for the main attraction, and the eager fans who had filled the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Basketball Arena at King Abdullah Sport City began to chant his name. The chant turned to cheers when the opening bars of his song “Wolves,” featuring Selena Gomez, filled the venue, and when Marshmello appeared on stage the crowd erupted and many abandoned their seats.

Along with his undoubted musical talents, the mystery surrounding Marshmello’s peculiar stage persona has helped to fuel his rise to fame as a producer and DJ. His identity is hidden by a light-up, marshmallow-shaped helmet that completely covers his head, and he speaks as little as possible, happy to let his music do the talking.

Many people in the crowd were wearing replicas of his mask and others took selfies with them. Some fans danced along to the star’s music, at times attracting almost as much attention as their hero on stage.

One fan who attended the gig wearing a replica Marshmello outfit — and who, like the star, would not reveal their real identity — said: “I always cosplay as Marshmello at all the comic cons and everything, so him coming here was such good news I couldn’t believe it at first.”

Marshmello played all his best-known hits and remixes, including “Happier,” featuring Bastille, and “Silence” featuring Khalid. During the latter, he encouraged the audience to sing alternate lines, and throughout the show he kept the crowd engaged and energized by asking them to sing along and keep their hands up in the air.

Marshmello performing at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Basketball Arena at King Abdullah Sport City on Wednesday. (Supplied photo)

His performance was filled with enthusiasm and energy, but when it finally came to the end it seemed very abrupt — he simply snapped a photo of his fans and left the stage. The audience cheered and clapped in the hope that he would return for an encore, but it was in vain.

As the crowd filed out of the venue, some of the Marshmello cosplayers danced outside to provide further entertainment for fans still buzzing with excitement.

“Seeing Marshmello in real life was so much better” than simply listening to his music, said Basma Mohammad, 30, as he left. “I just couldn’t sit down throughout the whole concert.”


Korean language rising in popularity among Saudis

Updated 2 min 9 sec ago
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Korean language rising in popularity among Saudis

  • Korean is the 20th most spoken language in the world, and is gaining popularity as the second foreign language across Asia

JEDDAH: Korean music and TV, better known as K-pop and K-drama, have relished a momentous rise in popularity all over the world.

As Korean soap operas and pop groups have captivated audiences, Korean has become an appealing language to learn. Now, Saudis are joining the growing crowd of enthusiasts.

There are a variety of reasons why Saudis want to learn Korean: To enjoy watching their favorite shows in the original language, to visit and experience the culture of Korea first-hand, or even to move to South Korea. 

“Most of my students loved K-pop and Korean dramas, and they wanted to expand their knowledge by learning the language,” Myung Hee Park from the Korean International School in Jeddah told Arab News.

“Sometimes they learned the language because they wanted to understand the shows without having to read the English subtitles.”

People from all over Saudi Arabia are traveling to Korea to attend concerts and watch their favorite artists perform.

“Lots of the people who come to learn from me have an experience of visiting Korea and enjoying concerts by artists such as BTS, Monsta X or SM Town,” Myung said.

Saudi appreciation of Korea does not stop at entertainment. “Some of my students wanted to study at Korean universities too,” Myung said.

Last November, 51 people took part in the first Ambassador’s Cup Korean Speech competition, held at the official residence of the South Korean ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Jo Byung-wook. The competition was organized to promote the country’s culture, language and heritage.

“The growing interest in learning the Korean language in Saudi Arabia shows the strength of our bilateral relations,” said the ambassador.

“Korean is the 20th most spoken language in the world, and is gaining popularity as the second foreign language across Asia, the US and even the Middle East.”

Myung said: “There are many (cultural) similarities between the two countries, and I think that’s one of the reasons why Saudis have fallen in love with Korean culture so easily.”

She said Prince Sultan Al-Faisal Al-Saud “is an amazing student. Even when he comes back from long business trips, he resumes his lessons the very next day. I can see joy in the eyes of the people I’m teaching, and it makes my profession very rewarding.”

English teacher Amira Mohammad Al-Khateeb, who has been learning Korean, said: “It’s one of the languages that I’ve always wanted to learn. I’ve been watching Korean dramas for years, and at some point I sat myself down and said, ‘Amira you must learn the language now.’ I was delighted to find the school in Jeddah.”

She added: “After I learn the language, I intend to go to Korea and become a teacher there. I don’t just want to speak Korean for fun, I want to become a part of Korean culture.”