Alkhobar’s Bohemia brings music to Saudi Arabia’s capital

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Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)
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Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)
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Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)
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Updated 08 March 2024
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Alkhobar’s Bohemia brings music to Saudi Arabia’s capital

  • Music cafe has carved out a new space for creative Saudi voices to be heard

RIYADH: Alkhobar-based Bohemia Art Cafe and Records has opened a new branch at The Warehouse in the Kingdom’s capital where visitors can enjoy coffee, buy vinyl records and vibe with live music.

Overlooking the picturesque rocky hills that showcase the beauty of historic Diriyah, the standalone vinyl shop and cultural music hub is situated at the end of a trail of warehouses. Approaching on foot, you’ll see the neon sign drawing you into the space. The cafe is smaller than the Alkhobar branch and has the same cohesive energy with a vibe that is all its own.

Co-founders Fawaz Alsulaim and Mansour Alhmaid met at university in the UK, where they studied mechanical engineering. They each had different tastes but both loved music. They opened Bohemia Art Cafe in Alkhobar in 2018 and it has become a sonic refuge for them and their clients.




Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

Alhmaid, who is from Riyadh, told Arab News about the significance of the new location: “We are very proud that this (Riyadh location) attracts the right clients. The client base in Riyadh is way bigger than Alkhobar; they enjoy different genres of music here — it’s all types, a bit of everything.

“We don’t have many walk-in clients, most follow us on our social media channels,” he said. As if on cue, several people arrived — all were enthusiasts from the Alkhobar branch.

The second branch was a long time coming. The Bohemia Art Cafe name has become synonymous with creatives in Alkhobar, a place for like-minded people to congregate and a space to amplify the Saudi talent brewing within.




Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

Building on the creative community, pulling from the nostalgic, retro vinyl culture was something the founders strived for.

Before COVID-19 put the world on hold, they had tried to open up a second branch in Riyadh.

“The plans were there since before COVID. Unfortunately, with COVID, the financial situation became tough. We had to delay it. And then when things settled, it became a good time to go there,” Alsulaim told Arab News.




Co-founders Fawaz Alsulaim and Mansour Alhmaid met at university in the UK. (Supplied)

Carving out a space for creative Saudi voices to be heard is the goal that unites the two branches. Open-mic events are one way to do it.

Alsulaim, who greets people at open mics in the Alkhobar branch, is always welcoming.

“We just had (one of) our last open mic in Alkhobar before Ramadan; we were very excited about it. First time for The Pineapple Jam Project, led by Sawsan, who has always been opening for people, so it was amazing to see her finally be a headliner in a show,” he said.




Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

Sawsan, who performed a medley of melodies at a recent show in the Alkhobar branch, said that she was elated that the cafe had blossomed recently.

“I can’t describe my feelings because it (had) been a year since my last gig. It feels amazing. These are my friends,” she told Arab News after her performance.

As a child, Sawsan would sing using a bottle of perfume as a mic in her bedroom and would belt songs out in the shower. Now, Bohemia Art Cafe is letting her voice flourish on a bigger stage.




Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

“The vibe at Bohemia is so good. I mean, I was so scared. Everyone here came to support me — half of the people here are my friends, the other half got to hear me sing so they might be my future friends — or something like that,” she said.

Both branches aim to foster local talent such as Sawsan’s and to serve as a hybrid space to collectively promote local voices.

“We have a great strategic partnership with The Warehouse. It works great for us and great for them. The shows are on the weekend so our work is done for us, in terms of shows,” Alsulaim said.




Bohemia Art Cafe is vinyl shop and cultural music hub that is now bringing together music lovers and musicians in Saudi Arabia’s capital. (Supplied)

“I’m surprised that records have been selling in Riyadh more than coffee — which is the opposite of what’s happening here in Alkhobar. People have been coming for the first weeks just for our records.”

Both branches have a “pre-loved” section in which clients can sell their records, something the founders are proud of.

Alsulaim plans to go back and forth between both locations. No matter what, he insists that the Alkhobar branch, which he calls “the OG” (or original), will remain.

During the month of Ramadan, Bohemia will be open from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m in both Riyadh and Alkhobar. Artistic types in the Jax district will be able to step into Bohemia and enjoy their late night coffee and study, chill or listen to music — or all of the above.

“We plan to open a branch in Jeddah in the future,” Alhmaid said. “At Bohemia, we sell happiness.”

 


KSA showcases geospatial innovation at Ghana forum

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KSA showcases geospatial innovation at Ghana forum

  • The conference highlights the significance of investing in technologies, artificial intelligence, and innovation in surveying and geospatial activities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Survey and Geospatial Information is participating in the annual Conference of the International Federation of Surveyors in Accra, Ghana, from May 19-24.

The conference highlights the significance of investing in technologies, artificial intelligence, and innovation in surveying and geospatial activities, aiming for a flexible environment and sustainable management of natural resources.

Attendees will exchange expertise and learn best practices in the field.

The Saudi authority delivered a technical presentation, “Surveying and Geospatial Information in Saudi Arabia: Past, Present, and Future Aspirations,” during the event, attended by FIG President Diane Dumashie, vice presidents and experts.

Saudi ambassador to Ghana and Togo, Sultan Al-Dakhil, visited the authority’s booth, appreciating its efforts to strengthen partnerships with international organizations.

With more than 1,500 participants from 80 countries, the conference facilitates international collaborations among government bodies, the private sector, academia, and global expertise centers through 70 scientific sessions.


Saudi fund boosts film financing at Cannes festival

Updated 59 sec ago
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Saudi fund boosts film financing at Cannes festival

RIYADH: The Cultural Development Fund, a vital financial engine for Saudi Arabia’s culture sector, along with partners from the Kingdom’s film industry, are presenting film financing and investment opportunities at the 77th annual Cannes International Film Festival, held from May 14 to 25.

The fund is present at the festival for the third year, in line with its mission of nurturing the domestic film scene and strengthening its role as a key enabler of cultural growth.

The fund highlights its Film Sector Financing Program at the Saudi pavilion, led by the Film Commission. The program offers comprehensive financial packages that support the entire filmmaking process, from creation and production to distribution, for both local and foreign companies working on film and TV series in Saudi Arabia.

It also provides an opportunity for companies and investment funds to participate in the Kingdom’s film industry and contribute to its development.

Its participation in the Cannes event aligns with its continuous efforts to attract filmmakers and investment.

The fund aims to be a leader in the Saudi film industry and collaborates with other stakeholders to build a sustainable film sector that contributes to the national gross domestic product.

Established under the National Development Fund in 2021, the fund aims to invigorate Saudi Arabia’s cultural scene. By supporting a range of cultural endeavors and facilitating investment, the fund fosters a thriving domestic cultural sector, aligning with the National Culture Strategy and Saudi Vision 2030.


Madinah hosts Hajj permit awareness exhibition

Updated 48 min 5 sec ago
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Madinah hosts Hajj permit awareness exhibition

  • The event will explain how artificial intelligence is used to manage the Hajj crowds

RIYADH: “No Hajj Without a Permit” is the title of a mobile exhibition being held in Madinah until May 25 to raise awareness about safe and secure Hajj practices.

Organized by the Ministry of Interior, the event will explain how artificial intelligence is used to manage the Hajj crowds. Visitors will also learn about the Makkah Route Initiative, part of the broader Pilgrim Experience Program under Saudi Vision 2030.

As well as highlighting the ministry’s efforts to ensure the security and safety of visitors to the Two Holy Mosques, it explains emergency reporting procedures through the unified security operations centers (911) and the services offered on the Absher electronic platform.

Meanwhile, the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority continues to collaborate with government agencies on the Makkah Route Initiative, implementing the scheme at 11 airports in seven countries.

At Jakarta International Airport in Indonesia, for example, SDAIA uses advanced technical systems and infrastructure in the pilgrim hall to simplify the Hajj experience.

The setup includes 12 interconnected workstations equipped with state-of-the-art technologies that integrate with SDAIA’s National Information Center systems, expediting pilgrims’ procedures. Technical support is provided 24/7 by a team of engineers, reflecting SDAIA’s commitment to leveraging AI, innovation and digital transformation to deliver exceptional service.


From Paris to Riyadh: ‘Perfumes of the East’ showcases Arab heritage

Updated 54 min 31 sec ago
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From Paris to Riyadh: ‘Perfumes of the East’ showcases Arab heritage

  • Exhibition highlights cultural significance and art of perfume-making

RIYADH: The “Perfumes of the East” exhibition has made its first international stop in Riyadh. 

It is a collaboration between the Saudi National Museum and the Ministry of Culture in partnership with the Arab World Institute in Paris.

The exhibition, which will continue until Sept. 14 at the museum, provides its guests with a journey through the richness of the Arab world’s perfumes, showcasing the fragrances and scents of the East, the cultural traditions that have influenced perfumes and their significant social role in Saudi culture.

The French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ludovic Pouille, and Christophe Farnaud, the EU ambassador, were among the attendees at the opening ceremony, along with other delegates from the Arab World Institute, leaders from the Ministry of Culture and the Museums Commission, and artists from the Kingdom, the Arab world and France.

The French ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ludovic Pouille, during the exhibition. (AN/Loai Elkelawy)

“Perfumes of the East is an amazing exhibition, which was brought from Paris to Riyadh,” Pouille said. “It was presented first at the Arab World Institute in Paris, and it was a great success ... so many people visited it.

“It is amazing because you mix history and also artworks. You have artists who have been part of this exhibition, and this is the beauty of it. It is not just the history of perfumes in the Middle East, it is more than that.

“I am amazed by the jasmine dress by a young Saudi artist, who was also there in Paris, and of course, you can smell jasmine, but it is more than that. It is about heritage, the Saudi traditions, and I am fond of it,” the French envoy said.

The exhibition highlighted the cultural and historical importance of perfume in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, providing insight into its origins in the Arabian peninsula, an important trading hub through which aromatic plants and spices were distributed among ancient societies.

“A distinguished exhibition that revives an authentic national heritage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” said Dalia Seoudy, one of the guests at the museum. “It presents fragrant knowledge and surrounds one of the most important elements of intangible Saudi heritage, a journey between the roses of Taif and the jasmine of the southern region. This museum reminded me of perfumes in Paris, but it is very authentic, creative and beautiful.”

Christophe Farnaud, the European Union Ambassador at Perfumes of the East exhibition in Riyadh. (AN/Loai Elkelawy)

The exhibition has been designed to create a balance of olfactory and visual experiences for visitors, with scent-releasing devices carefully placed and handpicked for the exhibition by internationally acclaimed perfume designer Christopher Sheldrake.

More than 200 artifacts and artworks, both ancient and contemporary, are on display, weaving a narrative of the enduring relationship between the Arab world and perfume.

The exhibition unfolds through distinct spaces — from the raw beauty of nature to bustling town streets and the setting of a private home. This trajectory enables visitors to experience the evolution of perfume-making through a blend of historical treasures and modern artistic expressions.

This exhibition aligns with the National Museum’s commitment to celebrating Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage and the enduring legacy of Arab and Islamic civilization.

It offers a multi-faceted educational and cultural experience, enriched by accompanying workshops and seminars that delve into the composition of perfumes, the intricate process of their creation, and the artistic design of perfume packaging.


Saudi Food Show features top global firms presenting their wares

Updated 22 May 2024
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Saudi Food Show features top global firms presenting their wares

  • 1,000 exhibitors with 100,000 products from 97 countries
  • Firms seeking to expand into one of Gulf’s largest markets

RIYADH: The second Saudi Food Show, the Kingdom’s largest event for food and beverage sourcing, which began Tuesday and will continue until May 23, has been featuring some of the world’s leading companies showcasing their wares.

It is sponsored by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources in collaboration with the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, or MODON.

The event features around 1,000 exhibitors presenting 100,000 products from 97 countries. Also returning are the Top Table Saudi and YouthX Saudi competitions in expanded formats.

House of Pops, which specializes in vegan and plant-based ice cream, gelato, and popsicles, are participating because they are expanding into Saudi Arabia after having gained a foothold in the UAE.

“Health and wellness have been popular in Saudi Arabia, particularly following the pandemic. Everyone is highly aware of what they consume,” Marcela Sancho, co-founder of House of Pops, said. “Our products promote health and wellness. They are 100 percent natural, include no preservatives or food coloring, and are vegan and plant based. So, we really want to tap into the market and the opportunity here.”

The brand is also fully allergen-free, made without soy and gluten, and the creamy options are created with organic coconut milk and cream to create the milky texture.

House of Pops was among the participants at the Saudi Food Show. (AN Photo: Abdulrahman Bin Shalhoub)

Also at the event is Bakarman Foods, a top supplier of restaurants and theaters in Malaysia, India, Spain and Belgium.

“Saudi Arabia has one of the largest food markets in the GCC, and we plan to open a factory here in the future. The food quality and standards are high, surpassing those of other Middle Eastern countries. The degree of inspection and testing report is excellent,” said Mohammad Salim, Bakarman Foods’ procurement and supply chain director.  

From India, Bharat Industrial Enterprise Private Ltd., a leading basmati rice miller and exporter, has returned this year for the exhibition.

Tushar Aggawal, manager of exports, said the company operates in 55 countries and has been around from almost as many years. “Saudi Arabia is our main market … we are one of the largest suppliers of basmati rice (here).”

Through keynote addresses, panels and workshops, over 90 experts from the public and private sectors shared insights on how to maximize opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s markets.