Music fans in Saudi Arabia mourn country legend Kenny Rogers

In this Oct. 24, 2017 file photo, Kenny Rogers poses with his star on the Music City Walk of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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Updated 25 March 2020

Music fans in Saudi Arabia mourn country legend Kenny Rogers

  • Kenny Rogers visited Saudi Arabia in 1977 for a series of concerts at Saudi Aramco compounds
  • The country music legend died at the age of 81 on Friday

JEDDAH: Fans of country music in Saudi Arabia were in mourning on Saturday after the death of Grammy award-winning legend Kenny Rogers.

The American singer, who was 81, is remembered in the Kingdom for playing a series of concerts at Saudi Aramco compounds in the summer of 1977.

Rogers performed for oil company staff and their families at Ras Tanura on June 30, Abqaiq on July 6 and Dhahran on July 7, just as his career was beginning to take off with his break-out single Lucille.

Donna Grothus-Collington, an American teacher in Ras Tanura, told the aramcoexpat website: “We loved having Kenny at our school gym and how excited everyone was. What grand memories, what golden years.”

This Feb. 20, 1978 file photo shows Kenny Rogers at his home in Brentwood, California. Just months before, he visited Saudi Arabia and entertained in a series of concerts at Aramco compounds. (AP file photo)

Colleen Wilson, who lived in Abqaiq, wrote about the concert in her diary. She remembered tickets cost SR10, and the show was a 500-person sellout.

“He had a beard, a moustache that grew down into his beard, and long, straggly hair, but we thought he was the most handsome thing we had ever seen,” she said.

“He sang ‘Lucille’ of course, and we sang along with every word, as we had memorized it. He also sang ‘Rollin’On The River” from his TV show, and a lot of other songs we weren’t so familiar with. It was great.

“He did two shows that night, and we danced in between, so it was a lot of fun, and one of the highlights of that period of our life in Saudi Arabia.”

Rogers began a farewell tour in 2016 but in April 2018 he canceled the last few shows because of “health challenges.”

He “passed away peacefully at home from natural causes under the care of hospice and surrounded by his family,” the family said.

From the UAE to Jordan, viral songs keep thousands entertained during self-isolation

Emirati social media star Rashid Al-Nuaimi has become a viral sensation. (Instagram/@r__a__n)
Updated 30 March 2020

From the UAE to Jordan, viral songs keep thousands entertained during self-isolation

DUBAI: From singing opera on their balconies to performing online concerts, musicians all around the globe are finding different ways to keep themselves — and others — entertained while self-isolating at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Some are doing their part by rewriting the lyrics to their favorite songs into COVID-19 parodies, while others are creating clever new compositions to bring a little levity to these unprecedented times.

Emirati social media star Rashid Al-Nuaimi has become a viral sensation after taking to his Instagram on Sunday to upload a coronavirus-themed song about being bored in quarantine.

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What a moment to be alive. So many emotions take place at the same exact time. It’s important however to remind ourselves that we are all in this together. The world comes together for once in a common cause, and I personally will aim to not let this tragic scenario send me into a pit of fear, but use it to dig for every ounce of love. Love is expressed is many ways, and right now it’s expressed by staying at home. We will come out of the other side of this changed humans! Changed for the better. So let’s start being better now and stay home. My heart is filled with gratitude for every effort and risk the people are taking to protect the whole! Thank you to food delivery drivers, thank you to nurses and hospital workers, thank you to government officials who are working day and night to keep us safe. Thank you thank you thank you! #خلك_في_البيت Piano credit / Sing2piano

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“Has it been a month/No it’s only been a day,” croons the singer, who is surrounded by a pile of books and a cup of tea while wearing yellow sweatpants paired with a hoodie. “I read through a pile of self-help books/ The Uber Eats on the way,” continue the ultra-relatable lyrics.

“Bored in quarantine/I’ll sit with the parts of myself that I have never seen/I’ll be bored in quarantine/I know for a fact, it’ll all be over one day/So I’ll stay in today,” the young jazz singer belts out.

As of this week, the musical clip has garnered nearly 30,000 views and over 200 comments. “Love this. Embracing individual boredom for the greater good,” wrote one user. “Thank you for making this,” quipped another user.

Meanwhile, Jordanian choir The Mosaica Singers came together online to record the song “Khalik bil Bait,” which translates to “stay at home.” 

Legendary singer Neil Diamond remixed his own song, “Sweet Caroline” with some new lyrics, while former “The Voice” contestant Chris Mann released a brilliant coronavirus parody based on Adele’s “Hello,” wittingly titled “Hello (From Inside).”

During troubled times, people often turn to music for comfort, a distraction or to calm the nerves. The coronavirus crisis has produced several moments of musical communion across the globe, including in Italy, where countless online videos have captured scenes of Italians under lockdown playing instruments and singing from apartment windows and balconies. Last week, actress Gal Gadot posted her own Instagram video — a montage of celebrities taking turns to croon John Lennon’s “Imagine” into their cellphone cameras.