RIYADH, July 4 -- Rap star Nicki Minaj will perform in Saudia Arabia later this month, organisers of the Jeddah Season cultural festival announced, as the ultraconservative kingdom tries to shed decades of restrictions on entertainment.
Saudi organisers said at a press conference Wednesday that Minaj, whose real name is Onika Tanya Maraj, will headline the festival on July 18. Minaj is known for her outlandish performances and flamboyant, hyper-sexualised image. Her music videos often feature figure-hugging, skin-bearing outfits and provocative dancing. Her lyrics are laced with profanities and Minaj's songs mainly address sex, rumoured liaisons with other rappers and female empowerment. Her famously large posterior is regularly referenced, as is a play on words between her surname and a French term for group sex.
The concert, in line with Saudi laws, will be alcohol and drug-free, open to people 16 and older and will take place at the King Abdullah Sports Stadium in the Red Sea city. Saudi Arabia is promising quick electronic visas for international visitors who want to attend. Local media reported the headline act, to be televised on MTV, will also feature British musician Liam Payne and American DJ Steve Aoki.
While the announcements for Payne and Aoki posted on the Jeddah Season Twitter account featured photos of the artists, Minaj's announcement ran with only an animated image of her name. Her image was used at the press conference on Wednesday, however.
All her songs are indecent
The announcement triggered a storm on social media, ranging from joy to criticism and disappointment. One fan posted a video of Minaj performing with the caption: "Am I dreaming or is this really happening?", while several others posted doctored images of the rapper in traditional Saudi dress. In a profanity-filled video posted on Twitter that has been viewed more than 37,000 times, a Saudi woman wearing a loose headscarf accused the Saudi government of hypocrisy for inviting Minaj to perform but requiring women who attend the concert to wear the modest full-length robe known as the abaya. "She's going to go and shake her ass and all her songs are indecent and about sex and shaking ass and then you tell me to wear the abaya," the Saudi woman said. "What the hell?" Minaj is yet to comment on her headline slot. This is not her first performance in the Middle East, having previously performed in the United Arab Emirates in 2013. In 2015, Minaj performed at a Christmas event in Angola despite calls from a human rights group to abandon the concert. The Human Rights Foundation said the money to pay Minaj came from "government corruption and human rights violations".
Author: Linda Lim
ROTTERDAM, May 10 -- David Coverdale's heavy rock troopers return with a mixed offering. Whitesnake were always the most absurdly priapic of the successful Eighties heavy rockers.
It was therefore with some glee that this writer approached their 13th studio album. In the snowflake age, where offence is taken at the slightest politically incorrect infraction, these hoary oldsters would surely be a ball. They did, after all, once infamously release an album entitled Slide It In. It turns out, however, that for much of the time, overblown musical cliché is the lasting aftertaste. David Coverdale has led Whitesnake for just over 40 years although, of the rest of the band, only drummer Tommy Aldridge’s tenure goes back further than a 2002 reformation. The singer’s voice remains in fine fettle, achieving the requisite Robert Plant-style screech but now whisky-weathered in places. His way with lyrics has mellowed but still mostly concerns “luuuurve”, a notable couplet being “Lord have mercy, I’m falling in love with you/I can’t keep my hands to myself, baby, I’m so smooth.” But then that’s what Whitesnake do so hardly reason for complaint.
More wearing is a formulaic multi-tracked smoothness which reaches its sub-Def Leppard nadir on the terrace anthemic “Well I Never”. There’s too much that’s way too expected; the power ballad moments track ground that was worn to dust 30 years ago, with the truly dreadful “Always & Forever” a real low. However, Flesh & Blood also has its share of enjoyable moments for those seeking this kind of hokum. From amid the police sirens of “Trouble is my Middle Name” a catchy pop-blues rocker emerges, with American guitarists Joel Hoekstra and Reb Beach turning in scorching fret-wrangling; “Hey You (You Make Me Rock)” has a ridiculous title but is an frollicking headbanger, the down-tuned riffage of “Sands of Time” and the acoustic number “After All” change the pace. And then there’s the enjoyably rampaging “Get Up”: “Come on, baby, you’ve heard it all before/But I’ll keep knockin’ till you open up your door.” Oh David.
LOS ANGELES, May 4 -- Madonna has said she is now fighting ageism in the music industry and that she is "being punished" for hitting 60.
The Like a Prayer singer said the new hurdle comes after decades of taking on a number of other battles in order to succeed. Speaking to British Vogue magazine, she said: "People have always been trying to silence me for one reason or another, whether it's that I'm not pretty enough, I don't sing well enough, I'm not talented enough, I'm not married enough, and now it's that I'm not young enough. "So, they just keep trying to find a hook to hang their beef about me being alive on. "Now I'm fighting ageism, now I'm being punished for turning 60." The music star, who will release her 14th album Madame X next month, also said she has felt unsupported by other women throughout her career. "There are no living role models for me. Because nobody does what I do. And that's kind of scary. She added: "Being a single parent of six children, I continue to be creative and be an artist and be politically active, to have a voice, to do all the things that I do. So, I mean, there isn't anybody in my position."
"I can look back at women who I think were great and amazing - freedom fighters, like Simone de Beauvoir or Angela Davis - but they didn't have kids."
The Papa Don't Preach hitmaker, who appears on the cover of the magazine for the first time in 30 years, has two biological children, daughter Lourdes and son Rocco, and four adopted children from Malawi - David, Mercy and twins Estere and Stella. She said that she feels her son David, 13, is the one she has the most in common with. "What he has more than anything is focus and determination," she said. "I'm pretty sure he got it from me. He's the one I have the most in common with. She said her daughter Lourdes, 22, from her relationship with actor Carlos Leon, is "insanely talented", but that she worries that she does not have enough drive to succeed on her own terms. Madonna said: "She's incredible at everything she does - she's an incredible dancer, she's a great actress, she plays the piano beautifully, she's way better than me in the talent department. "But she doesn't have the same drive, and again, I feel social media plagues her and makes her feel like, 'People are going to give me things because I'm her daughter'." Madonna recently opened up about feeling ''a little bit depressed'' living in Lisbon because she was ''Billy no mates'' and spent most of her time transporting her teenage son to matches and school.
LONDON, May 1 -- Rowland Charles “Boon” Gould, one of the founding members of the British pop band Level 42, has been found dead, according to a statement by the group’s lead singer.
Gould was 64 years old. From 1980 to 1987, Gould played guitar and saxophone for the popular band behind such hit singles as “Lessons in Love” and “Running in the Family.” In a statement posted on the band’s website on Wednesday, Mark King announced the news of his former bandmate’s death. “It is with the heaviest of hearts that I have to tell you of the passing of our dear friend and brother Boon Gould,” he wrote.
“You are at peace now Boon, no more pain mate.”
King also said Dorset Police confirmed Gould had been found dead at his home in southwest England on Tuesday morning. Gould’s brother Phil Gould, who also played in the band, paid tribute to his sibling in a tweet on Wednesday. “My heart is beyond broken. RIP Roland [sic] Charles ‘Boon’ Gould, my brother,” he wrote.
LONDON, April 2 -- Reports in the US say that Sir Mick Jagger, the iconic lead singer of the Rolling Stones, is set to undergo surgery this week, to replace a damaged valve in his heart.
At the weekend, they postponed the US leg of their current tour, so that Sir Mick could undergo medical treatment, after he was told by doctors he could not perform. According to the New York Post's "Page Six" site, Jagger has a damaged valve in his heart, and is set to receive a stent, sparking worries about the veteran musician's health.
The 75-year-old once appeared to epitomise sex, drugs and rock and roll, but his hedonistic lifestyle is now firmly in the past. He gave up drugs when he met his second wife, Jerry Hall, and rarely drinks alcohol. He is also known to eat and drink healthily and exercise regularly, with some claiming he runs up to eight miles a day, in an effort to maintain his famous 28-inch-waist. He was even spotted on a Miami beach on Sunday, allaying worries that the singer is seriously ill. The singer will undergo surgery in a New York hospital this week, according to the reports. Jagger will reportedly receive a stent, which is a small metal tube that is inserted into the body to open up arteries. Procedures usually involve inserting the tube into an artery using a small inflated balloon-like device, before it is removed, leaving the stent in place. Patients often see a quick recovery when getting a stent and can be out of the hospital just 24 hours after the surgery.
CAIRO, March 16 -- Californian group Red Hot Chili Peppers played in front of Egypt's great pyramids of Giza on March 15, entertaining more than 10,000 people at the site and many more over a livestream link.
With the three ancient monuments silhouetted behind the stage, the funk-rock band opened with "Can't Stop" from the 2002 album "By The Way" and followed with "Californication", "Dark Necessities" and other hits. The concert, held under tight security, was promoted by Egypt's tourism ministry, which is trying to put the country back on the map as a prime destination after an uprising in 2011 and years of subsequent turmoil scared many visitors away.
"It was a lot of work to get here but it was absolutely worth it," said fan Christina Robertson, from Madison, Wisconsin, who left five children at home to make the trip. "I've always wanted to come to Egypt, I've always wanted to see the pyramids, it's spectacular, it's a dream, and to see Red Hot Chili Peppers here, my favourite band of all time."
Singer Anthony Kiedis, bass player Michael "Flea" Balzary and drummer Chad Smith join the likes of The Grateful Dead, Scorpions and Frank Sinatra performing at one of the seven wonders of the world.
The concert is the first international gig to be held at the ancient site since pianist Yanni in 2015. Fans travelled from 67 countries, said concert organiser Karim El Chiaty, Vice Chairman of Travco Group.
"I think there's a big fan base in Egypt and I think for what we're trying to achieve here today, which is to promote tourism in Egypt, we needed a band of that kind of scale and that influence," said Chiaty.
Red Hot Chili Peppers have sold more than 60 million albums, won six Grammy Awards and were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012. The band is currently on a world tour and working to complete their 12th album following their 2016 release "The Getaway".
NEW YORK, January 7 -- "Bohemian Rhapsody" won two top prizes at the 2019 Golden Globes - best drama film and best actor for Rami Malek, who plays Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury.
The ceremony was aired on NBC on Sunday. "Green Book" won three awards - Best Musical of Comedy Film, supporting actor for Mehershala Ali, and screenplay. Alfonso Cuaron’s "Roma" was awarded best foreign language film, and Cuaron bested other nominees and took home the prize for best director. The 76th annual Golden Globes was broadcast live on January 6, 2019, from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. The ceremony aired live on NBC in the United States. Actors Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh hosted the ceremony.
MIAMI, January 7 -- The 41-year-old rapper has recruited the hottest talent in hip-hop for his new project, also working with 2 Chainz and up-and-coming rappers Tee Grizzley and YNW Melly.
TMZ reports that the 'Gold Digger' hitmaker has been recording with 'Lollipop' hitmaker Wayne at his recently purchased $14 million condo in the city's so-called billionaire beach bunker, which he splashed out on for wife Kim Kardashian West, 38, for Christmas. Kanye - who is set to welcome his fourth child with the reality star, with whom he already has North, five, Saint, three, and 11-month-old Chicago - is believed to have bought the pad with the recording sessions in mind. The star-studded album, titled 'Yandhi', is yet to get a release date, however it's expected to feature the likes of Ty Dolla Sign, 6ix9ine, Rihanna, Kid Cudi, Young Thug, Teyana Taylor, Lauryn Hill,Nicki Minaj, and posthumous vocals from XXXTentacion.
Kanye shows no signs of slowing down after releasing an impressive five records in 2018, including June's 'Ye'. Fans of the 'All Day' rapper are also eagerly-awaiting the release of his collaborative LP with fellow Chicago native Chance the Rapper, 'Good Ass Job'. 'Chance' - real name Chancelor Johnathan Bennett - admitted in October that they were still yet to complete the joint record. The 'No Problem' hitmaker said: "The project is something I've been wanting to do for a very long time. I don't think it's Kanye's thing, he's about to drop 'Yandhi'.
"There's no doing it, the project hasn't started yet. I'm a huge Kanye West fan. In my mind, basically since 'The Life of Pablo', I've been begging him to come back to Chicago to work on a project with me."
BELFAST, December 31 -- Fans of legendary Belfast rocker Gary Moore are to start fundraising for a memorial statue in his honour in the new year.
he former Thin Lizzy guitarist, who grew up in the Newtownards Road area in the east of the city, was found dead in a hotel room on the Costa del Sol in 2011, aged 58. A campaign to raise money for a statue will be launched on April 12th with a memorial show at The Empire Music Hall. Organizers state: "It is with great honour and respect that we announce the acts for GFG 2019:
The show will finish with an epic blues jam with all musicians on stage! It’s going to be a very special night. Tickets will be on sale very soon from Ticketmaster. Stay tuned!"