”Music“ – “موسيقى”

Arabic music from Morocco in the west to the gulf in the east is so diverse. But unlike north African and east Mediterranean music, the music of the Arabian Peninsula remain unexplored.

In the Arabian Peninsula, music has gone through turbulent time largely because of society‘s opinion towards it, especially after the iranian revolution in 1979, which deeply influenced Saudi Arabia.

Music is one of the controversial topics that muslim scholars have debated throughout history. Some believe that music is acceptable, while others believe it can distract muslims from fulfilling their religious duties since it‘s associated with sinful activities like drinking alcohol, for example and therefore it should be forbidden. Unless it’s a “Nasheed“ that only include one instrument, which is the “duff“, a one-sided drum made of animal skin.

At some point music was even practiced secretively in some parts of Saudi Arabia to avoid any confrontation. But it managed to exist and evolve despite all that. The situation has changed in recent years, public concerts became more common and many young musicians started to emerge.

Duff, Oud, Rababah, Samsamiah and Ney are some instruments that have been used in local music for a very long time and later the Violin and keyboard instruments became part of Arabic Music.

Since ancient times poets from the regions of Najd and Hejaz were among the most famous in the whole arab world. Together with musicians they composed some influential, memorable songs that are still heard to this day.

The following are some popular saudi singers/songs from the classic era of radio.


“Talal Maddah“ – “طلال مداح“

Talal maddah is an icon in modern Arabic music. He was born in Mecca and started his career in At-Taif . His fans call him “The Earth‘s Voice“ “صوت الأرض“ and he is considered as one of the most notable arab musicians of his era (1950‘s – 2000). Talal died of a heart attack on stage while performing in a concert in Abha in 2000.

“Tsadiq“ – “تصدق”

Source: Soundcloud


“Tariq abdulhakim“ – „“طارق عبدالحكيم“

Tariq is a well-known composer and a retired Lieutant-General from Saudi Arabian military. He founded the Military band and he‘s widely known as the founder of modern saudi music.

Tariq was also a singer and one of his popular songs is “Ya Reem Wadi Thaqif“ “يا ريم واد ثقيف” (Gazelle of Thaqif Wadi)

Source: min Al Madi TV program Saudi Chanel 1


“Mohammad Abdu“ – “محمد عبده”

A leading figure in the Saudi music scene, who still delivers the goods until today. His fans all across the Arab world call him “fanan al Arab“ (فنان العرب) which means “the artist of arabs“

Abdu‘s songs are very popular and “Lana allah“ (لنا الله) is one of them.



“Etab“ – “عتاب“

Etab was born in Riyadh and was one of the first saudi female musicians. She was a singer and a musical performer.

“Basharoni“ -“بشروني”

Source: Qatar tv


“Abu bakr salim“- “أبو بكر سالم”

He is a popular Saudi/Yemeni poet and singer-songwriter, known for his unique gravelly voice. He created some incredible songs especially in adani & in Hadrami style.

”Kama Ar-reeshah“ – “كما الريشة” (like a feather) is one of his memorable songs.


”Odah Saeed“ – “عودة سعيد”

He started his career in the region of Najd. His music were among the first to be recorded and broadcasted.

This is one of his popular songs of the late 1950‘s “Li saheban sirt ahibah“ – “لي صاحب صرت أحبه” (a friend I started to love)



“Tooha”- “توحة”

A well known saudi female singer based in Jeddah and Tooha is her fame name. The Saudi Television has aired songs of her (pre 1979) but later she disapeared with no media appearances of her reported until recently.

“Ashar li bel Mandeel“ – “أشر لي بالمنديل” (waved at me) is one of her most famous singles.

Source: soundcloud

Further reading about Music is saudi from Alarabia: