After an absence of more than three decades, music and female singers’ voices returned to Saudi Arabia’s official cultural channel Al Thakafiya on 2 October 2017 when it broadcast a recording of a concert by Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum, reported BBC Arabic.
Reactions on social media varied between support and disapproval. While some welcomed the broadcast and expressed it by publishing the lyrics of the singer’s songs and using her name as a hashtag; others considered that listening to songs and music was “a sin” and that “this kind of sin will return and have negative results on the country”. Others published religious and legal provisions that prohibit listening to singing and music of all kinds, reported Almodon News.
Earlier in the year, on 9 March, Saudi capital Riyadh hosted its first concert in over 30 years. Popular singers Mohamed Abdou and Rashed El-Majed performed to a sold-out audience of only men. Tickets to the event sold out in 30 minutes, according to one of the organisers. Abdou had not sung in Riyadh since 1988, reported Dunya News.