A Big First for Women in Saudi Arabia as Female Singer Loulwa Takes to the Stage | ExpatWoman.com

A Big First for Women in Saudi Arabia as Female Singer Loulwa Takes to the Stage

Singer Loulwa Al Sharif made history by being the first female Saudi singer to perform at a public concert in Saudi Arabia

Posted on

30 April 2018

Last updated on 30 April 2018
Loulwa Al Sharif the first female performer to be granted approval to sing at a public performance in Saudi Arabia

Live performances and music in shops and restaurants have until very recently been banned in Saudi Arabia and not even to mention the thought of a woman getting up on stage to perform in the Kingdom! This long-held ‘tradition’ has however recently been broken after female Saudi singer, Loulwa Al Sharif, got onto a stage at a public concert held Jeddah.

Loulwa was the first female Saudi singer who officially received approval by the General Entertainment of Authority to sing at public concerts. The crowd couldn’t get enough of the Soul, Blues and Jazz singer as she performed covers from the likes of Frank Sinatra, Eric Clapton, Santana and Adele. After her last song the crowd even asked for more and continued with Nat King Cole’s “LOVE” and Santana’s “Black Magic Woman.”

Overcoming Traditional Norms

It is difficult for women to follow their passion in Saudi Arabia, especially if it involves the limelight. If they have the necessary skills, they first need to get the approval from their guardian. Then, until recently they had to get past the cultural beliefs and local laws prohibiting them from performing in public. But Loulwa might have opened the doorway to a new era in the Kingdom with not only more live performances (as what has been happening of late) but also seeing many more female artists take to the stage.

Al Sharif told Gulf News in an interview, “The crown prince has taken a great step, as it is something that we have all been waiting for years. Saudi Arabia has a crazy amount of self-taught talent in art, acting and singing. This will now give Saudis a chance to shine and show their talent to the world.”

Despite concerts being banned, there is a huge appetite for live performances in Saudi Arabia. Even though music events were banned in Saudi Arabia, numerous people would hold underground events and parties where musicians would perform. There were even underground studios where artists created music.

Women’s rights have made huge strides in Saudi Arabia over the recent months with the royal decree allowing women to drive, Women being allowed to work in the military and a number of other sectors and they had their first marathon to mention only a few things. This has all been part of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s Vision 2030 to reform the country.