Legendary composer Yanni has officially landed in Saudi Arabia ahead of his performance in the Winter at Tantora festival tomorrow, February 7. Taking to social media to share his excitement at returning to Al Ula once again with his 2.7 million Instagram followers, Yanni posted a video complimenting the city that he calls his “home away from home”.
“Look at this, this is pretty stunning,” he said. “This is an amazing way to wake up in the morning. Wow. It’s really nice to be back, this is our home away from home.”
As an artist hailing from the peninsular nation of Greece, the vast desert terrain of the Kingdom’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site is a far cry from the azure waters Yanni may be used to, but the world’s apart difference is part of his appreciation for the landscape. “I love this. From the deep blue into the deep desert.”
When the longtime artist performed at the same Al Ula-based festival in 2019, he talked about how Saudi Arabians have a lot of “dreams” and a “vision of what you want your country to become.” One year later, it seems the Arab nation is well on its way to transforming those dreams into a reality—and Yanni has noticed this “explosion” of change.
“Coming in last night, of course, they light the structures and I cannot believe the changes that have happened in Al Ula in one year,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing. What they are doing, all the improvements – it’s an explosion. It makes me very happy because we were here last year, this is a very important place for me, this is a place of healing for me.”
Yanni is set to reprise his greatest hits at the mirrored Maraya concert hall for a venue that is just as imaginative as his pieces, reflecting the sensorial journey the popular contemporary musician strives to take his listeners on with each song and live show he does all over the world.
While Italian opera star Andrea Bocelli has already finished his concert as part of the Winter at Tantora festival music series, American balladist Lionel Richie and Latin pop sensation Enrique Iglesias are still to come in addition to the numerous other activities the arts and culture festival has in store until its finale on March 7, from art installations and sporting competitions to food and fashion exhibitions.