On February 8, world renowned composer and instrumentalist Yanni performed in front of a sold-out crowd against the backdrop of Saudi Arabia‘s historic Al-Ula. The electrifying performance was part of the annual Winter at Tantora Festival.
“This is pretty awesome. Let me say something to my Saudi friends, ‘Ana kateer saeed’ (I am so happy) …thank you. This is such a great honor to be here, we’ve been here for a few days and I have been touched once again since the last time I have been here, you always honor me,” said the pianist to the cheering audience.
For the first time, performing live When Dreams Come True, a piece composed in parts over 60 shows in 60 cities and dedicated to the people of Saudi Arabia, Yanni said, “I just wanted to talk to you about dreams, you have a lot of dreams in this country. I’ve heard about it from a year and a half ago when I was here and I was very impressed and was very touched.”
“You were reaching for the sky, this is what you are doing and you promised yourselves that you have this vision of what you want your country to become. These dreams of yours are challenging to say the least and very difficult and beautiful and some might think they are impossible but if anyone can do this, can make this dream a reality, it’s you, my Saudi friends that can do it. I love you very much.’’ continued Yanni in his heartfelt speech to the crowd.
Holding a special place in the history of public musical performances in Saudi Arabia, Yanni is one of the first world musicians to perform in the Kingdom. In 2017, his concerts in Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, and Dhahran paved the way for shows by international artists such as Cheb Khaled, Nelly, OneRepublic, Jason Derulo, Enrique Iglesias, Black Eyes Peas, Amr Diab, and David Guetta. And now, at the Winter at Tantora Festival, preceding Yanni were performances by renowned Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, Chinese pianistLang Lang, French violinist Renaud Capucon, Egyptian composer Omar Khairat, famous Saudi singer Mohamed Abdo and Lebanese crooner Majida El-Roumi.
The Winter at Tantora Festival, originally due to end on February 9 has been extended until February 23.