200924 Ahlam
Ahlam. Image Credit: Okaz

Abu Dhabi: Emirati singer Ahlam, who is often called ‘the Queen’ due to her immense popularity, found herself in an unenviable position after the COVID-19 precautionary measures prompted the absence of fans at her concert to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s 90th National Day.

Ahlam began to cry after sending a message to her fans. She said: “I feel that artists, even if they have sweet voices and a sweet presence and sweet songs, but the audience remains the crown of their heads ... I miss you. O Lord, may the plight disappear and we meet again.”

See more

Saudi Arabia hosted its first concerts since the outbreak of the coronavirus, with a series of performances featuring 11 stars from across the Arab world.

Last year, Ahlam performed in Abha as part of Al Soudah Season.

The singer was joined on stage by a traditional dance troupe, who took her through the Saudi dance style known as ‘al khatwa al janabiyah’.

The dance is most common in the south of Saudi, which is apt, considering ‘janabiyah’ means southern, while ‘khatwa’ means step.

Both those on and off stage got involved in the group dance, which involves rhythmic stepping, bowing and arm swaying.

Saudi National day, also known as Al-Yaom-ul-Watany, is annually celebrated on September 23 with folk dances, songs, and traditional festivals.

The roads and buildings are decorated with Saudi flags and people wear green shirts.

The National Day — which became a public holiday in 2007 — commemorates the renaming of the country from the “Kingdom of Nejd Hejaz” to the “Kingdom of Saudi Arabia” by Saudi Arabia King Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saud, on September 23, 1932.

The day is also an opportunity to learn about the work of King Abdul Aziz, and what he did to establish his family dominance.

To mark this special occasion, the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) hosts several concerts performed by Arab world stars over five days at the King Abdullah Sports City.

The concerts feature performances by Rashed Al Majed, Aseel Abu Bakr, Majid Al Mohandes, Abadi Al Johar, Dalia Mubarak and Rabih Saqer.

Amr Diab, Angham, Mohamed Hamaki and Tamer Ashour are also partaking in the celebrations.

The series of events taking place amid the easing of COVID-19 preventive measures hosted Angham and Tamer Ashour on September 24 and will host Hamaki on September 25 at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City. Events will conclude with Diab on September 26.