Lebanese singer dazzles Riyadh in first women-only concert

Applause and shrieks of joy erupted as Lebanese singer Hiba Tawaji dazzled Riyadh in the Saudi capital's first female-only music concert, AFP reported Thursday (December 7th).

Tawaji performed to a packed audience at the King Fahd Cultural Centre on Wednesday, the latest in a series of concerts by international artists as the kingdom seeks to boost entertainment options and ease social restrictions on women.

Under the kingdom’s guardianship system, a male family member must grant permission for a woman's study, travel and other activities.

But under a new reform, women will be allowed to drive for the first time from next June. The kingdom also will allow women into sports stadiums for the first time from next year.

Saudi Arabia in recent months has organised concerts, a Comic-Con pop culture festival and a mixed-gender national day celebration that saw people dancing in the streets.

Greek composer and pianist Yanni performed to a packed mixed-gender audience in Riyadh last week, accompanied by female vocalists.

The social reform, part of Prince Mohammed bin Salman's "Vision 2030" programme for a post-oil era, stems partly from an economic motive to boost domestic spending on entertainment.

Saudis spend billions of dollars annually to see movie shows and visit amusement parks in the neighbouring tourist hubs of Bahrain and Dubai.

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Fear God and fear His saying “And what they never thought of shall become plain to them from Allah.” You’re the best people and you shouldn’t insult each other. There are lewd people among us who believe in debauchery, nudity, mixing between sexes, pornography and singing. Fear God because His torture is very painful. I apologise for my boldness with you; I’m afraid for you and I have learned from you. I think well of you, o, honourable people!