Arab singer Dana Salah shines on New York’s Times Square billboard | Arab News

2022-06-21 18:48:20 By : Ms. Daisy Huang

DUBAI: If you’re looking to add something fresh to your playlist, Palestinian-Jordanian singer Dana Salah’s fusion of Arabic, Latin and Western music could be just the thing.

Streaming service Spotify announced last month that pop-indie artist Salah, formerly known as King Deco, is the second ambassador for EQUAL Arabia, an endeavor that aims to amplify the work of women creators by giving them international recognition.

As part of Spotify’s campaign, the Amman-based artist, who lived in the US for seven years, was featured on a billboard in the heart of New York’s Times Square.

Salah is the second ambassador for EQUAL Arabia. (Supplied)

The singer told Arab News that seeing her picture there was a “pinch me” moment.

“It’s amazing that it was there because I was doing something I believe in — music that’s true to who I am and my heritage,” she said. 

“To see myself on arguably one of the biggest stages in the world and having accomplished this by making music in Arabic and expressing myself through my culture is an incredible feeling. I didn’t have to compromise who I am or where I come from to be there.”

A post shared by دانا صلاح Dana Salah (@danasalah)

Salah, who started her career by writing music and DJ-ing, said that she received a lot of support from her community. “It was so heartfelt seeing so many people post about this achievement and celebrate it as a win for the Jordanian artistic community,” she said. 

And the campaign seems to be working, with Salah explaining that her audience is already expanding across the globe.

She recalled a comment she read online from a new listener who said: “I am from Indonesia and I found you from Spotify and I like your voice.” 

“It meant the world,” Salah said. 

A post shared by دانا صلاح Dana Salah (@danasalah)

Salah believes music is universal and she hopes that her music not only introduces audiences to Arab culture, but also brings other cultures together. 

“It’s what I did with ‘Weino.’ I mixed traditional Arabic instrumentation with a Latin-type backbeat and Western song structures. I think there’s something very beautiful about mixing genres,” she said. 

“I’m obsessed with taking two contrasting elements and making them coexist in the same space. I live for it when it comes to art but also on a day-to-day — put me on a dinner table with the most diverse group of people and I’m happy,” she said.

A post shared by دانا صلاح Dana Salah (@danasalah)

Her early influences were also varied, with her mother and aunt introducing her to an array of musical films before she could even speak.

“They’d always put on ‘The Sound of Music’ and I would get so excited because I just wanted to hear the songs, especially the ‘Yodel’ song, and I would hum to it,” she told Arab News. “It wasn’t until I was maybe four to five years old that I discovered my love for singing watching ‘The Little Mermaid.’” 

As for her current playlist, the artist said: “I love Stevie Nicks and Max Martin as songwriters. I adore Lana Del Ray and Kanye West when it comes to aesthetic and creating worlds and visuals around their music. I love the instrumentation of Warda and Umm Kulthum’s songs,” she said. 

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Most central to Salah’s identity as an Arab woman is her unwavering appreciation for the timelessness of Arabic artistry, from finding inspiration from Algerian singer Warda to using strings, tablas (twin hand drums) and riqs (the Middle Eastern tambourin) from veteran Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum’s “Alf Layla w Layla.”

Her visuals are just as important to her as an artist. She pays homage to the Arab world by using its landscapes, architecture, cultural elements and fashion to reignite a love for Arabic heritage in her videos and cover art.

RIYADH: The King Fahd National Library recently added to its collection Chinese books donated by the National Library of China.

The books — covering subjects including history, economy, tourism and culture — are distributed in Arabic and English. They include literature related to China, including books on the Chinese language and children’s books, which serve as an opportunity for Saudis to get to know the country and its culture.

Secretary of the King Fahd National Library Dr. Mansour bin Abdullah Al-Zamil said: “We attach great importance to strengthening cooperation in the cultural field with the National Library of China.”

He added that the books would be classified and cared for, as they enrich the library with scientific value.

The King Fahd National Library, established to commemorate King Fahd bin Abdulaziz’s ascension to the throne in 1982, is a prestigious library in Saudi Arabia.

It is an important cultural building in Saudi Arabia and an architectural masterpiece. It holds 80,000 manuscripts in Arabic, Persian and Hebrew. In 2016, the Philippine Embassy also donated books published in the Philippines to the library.

DUBAI: US actress Keleigh Teller is shutting down red carpets across the world as she supports her husband, Miles Teller, at international premieres for his new film “Top Gun: Maverick” — and she has been spotted in a number of gowns by Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad along the way. 

Most recently Teller hit the red carpet in Korea in an emerald green duchess silk ballgown from the label’s Pre-Fall 2022 ready-to-wear collection. The strapless dress featured a sculpted neckline and A-line skirt, with Murad’s signature cinched-in waist.  

Earlier, she stunned at the film’s London premiere in a pale pink gown from Murad’s Spring 2022 line, complete with a thigh-high slit and a sleek belted waist. 

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The actress was also spotted alongside her husband at the premiere of Netflix film “Spiderhead” in New York last week in a dramatic all-black look by the Lebanese designer. 

“Actress @KeleighTeller looked ravishing, alongside husband Miles Teller… wearing a black asymmetrical cape gown with embellished detail and thigh-high slit from the Spring-Summer 2022 collection,” the label posted on Instagram. 

Miles Teller plays Lt. Bradley “Rooster” Bradshaw in “Top Gun: Maverick” and previously spoke to Arab News about acting opposite legendary star Tom Cruise in the sequel to his hit 1986 film. 

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 “What an audience has been feeling for two hours, he can sum up in one look, and that is something that Tom really is a master of. He’s just been doing it at such a high level for such a long time and so I would just find myself sitting back and watching him,” he said.

Surprisingly, “Top Gun: Maverick” has already become Cruise’s highest-grossing film ever at the domestic box office, overtaking the record previously held by 2005’s “War of the Worlds” ($243 million), Reuters reported.

In its second weekend of release, Cruise’s all-American action film collected a sensational $86 million from 4,751 North American theaters. Those returns rank among the top 10 highest-grossing second weekends in domestic box office history.

Pandemic times or not, the Paramount and Skydance release is eclipsing significant box office milestones at record speed. After only 10 days on the big screen, “Top Gun: Maverick” generated $291 million in North America and $548.6 million globally.

“It has never been more appropriate to say ‘the sky’s the limit’ for ‘Top Gun: Maverick,’” Paramount’s president of domestic distribution Chris Aronson wrote in a note to press.

CHICAGO: Award-winning author and journalist Shahriar Mandanipour’s short-story collection, “Seasons of Purgatory,” is best described as an exploration of the human experience — from victims of war and soldiers on the frontline to lonely souls treading water, Mandanipour explores the physical, emotional and spiritual facets of his characters.

The collection — translated into English by journalist Sara Khalili — moves through the cities of Iran to the countryside, telling tales from young and old in ways that are both unique and relatable.

The collection opens with “Shadows of the Cave,” which centers around Mr. Farvaneh, a particular man whose past life as a former government employee envelops him in mystery. After being incarcerated for a little over a month in his youth, his entire outlook on life has changed and it’s the little details that seem to trouble him. Next up is “Mummy and Honey,” in which a father inherits his father’s house and orders his sons to take up residence with him if they want their inheritance. Reluctantly agreeing to their father’s outdated demands, the brothers stay, but a viper that lives in the grounds of the property spells trouble for the three brothers and their families.

Mandanipour’s title story takes readers into the Iran-Iraq war, introducing us to Captain Meena’s soldiers and Nasser, a decomposing man leaning against a rock in a valley. Stuck in no-man’s land between Iraqi and Iranian troops, Nasser’s skeleton has merged into the landscape, and represents something different to each soldier.

Mandanipour’s stories contain moments of joy but are underpinned by tragedy. His characters resiliently push through the trauma that affects everyone and everything — including animals and nature — around them. Among the floating orange blossom petals are lives that are connected, no matter their species.

Mandanipour manages to conjure a sense of magic from the heartbreak of wars and the consequences of power structures. The themes of his stories, no matter how unique the specific tale, seem to repeat in different circumstances with different characters, to show that life is a circle that repeats — a cycle of failures and successes.

DUBAI: Galleria Continua, one of the art world’s best-known contemporary art galleries, has launched a new exhibition in Dubai’s iconic Burj Al-Arab hotel, titled “New Wave.”

The show, which will run until Sept. 1, features works by a roster of acclaimed international artists, including Yoan Capote, Loris Cecchini, Nikhil Chopra, Anish Kapoor, Ornaghi & Prestinari, Giovanni Ozzola, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Manuela Sedmach, Serse, and Pascale Marthine Tayou.

With spaces in Italy, China and Brazil, among other countries, the gallery is no stranger to international audiences, but this show is particularly special as it pays tribute to its host city.

The art on show works to shine a light on the history of the UAE and more specifically the Burj Al-Arab and its position on a man-made island in the Arabian Gulf.

“We had an idea of paying tribute to the iconic architecture of the Burj Al-Arab, the building that is significant to the history of the city which put Dubai on the international map two decades ago,” co-founder of the gallery Lorenzo Fiaschi told Arab News. “The lush interior design of the hotel, developed by Khuan Chew, took inspiration from the four elements: Water, air, earth and fire. The new series of our exhibitions respond to this theme, with the first chapter of the series focusing on water and showcasing the works by the gallery artists related to the theme.”

For example, the site-specific installation Waterbones (2022) by Italian artist Loris is located in the center of the gallery space and represents particles of water. The structure of the work, which consists of hundreds of steel modules, responds to and contrasts with the undulating arabesque curves of the hotel.

Another work by Cameroon-born Pascale Marthine Tayou takes a more humanitarian approach. Titled “Lampedusa D” (2016) the artist uses glass marbles to compose a picture of an abstract landscape of waves and floating figures. It represents the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, renowned for its picturesque beaches but also as the landing point for refugees seeking asylum in the EU after days of dangerous sailing in the Mediterranean Sea.

“The title ‘New Wave’ is also (reflective of) the growing aspirations for contemporary art in the region, which we are witnessing now. Galleria Continua has a long presence in Dubai, we have been participating at the Art Dubai fair since its first edition in 2008,” Fiaschi said. “We can see the new exciting energy in the city. We believe that the group of artists that we selected for this show will appeal to our existing collectors, as well as new audiences.”

From internationally acclaimed artists such as Anish Kapoor and Michelangelo Pistoletto, to the emerging scene represented by Italian duo Ornaghi & Prestinari, as well as artists with a deep connection with the region such as Nikhil Chopra, “New Waves” reflects Dubai as a growing crossroads for international art.

DUBAI: Eleven restaurants in Dubai have received a Michelin star, with a total of 69 eateries being included in the new guide, it was announced at a ceremony at the Dubai Opera on Tuesday.

Nine places won one star each, while two restaurants received two stars. The awarded eateries represented a range of cuisines, including Portuguese, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Italian and French fare.

The Michelin Green Star, which awards restaurants for their sustainable approach to gastronomy, was handed to contemporary restaurant Lowe.

One star went to Al-Muntaha, 11 Woodfire, Armani/Ristorante, Hakkasan, Hoseki, Ossiano, Tasca by Jose Avillez, Torno Subito and Tresind Studio.

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Meanwhile Il Ristorante - Niko Romito, with its Italian fare, and French cuisine-based Stay by Yannick Alleno received two stars.

No restaurants received the extremely rare three star award.

A post shared by Al Muntaha at Burj Al Arab (

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