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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Spectacular Military Music Concert to mark Oman's 44th National Day at ROHM

Colour, pageantry and music at its best
Friday the 7th of November was an unforgettable evening as we saw a spectacular performance of Military Music of Oman at the Royal Opera House Muscat Maidan. This 90 minute performance set the tone for the commencement of Oman's 44th National Day celebrations and it was clear-the sense of pride and delight in what we saw and heard was mirrored in each and every face around us.

Superb music
Over the past few decades, the  military bands  and music of Oman  have already established  for themselves  a worldwide  reputation.Add to it the magnificent backdrop of the Royal Opera House Maidan and the cutting edge light and sound facilities it has to offer, Oman  presented a fabulous event, the like to which is probably un paralled worldwide.

Men and women performing side by side. 

Women power -The Massed Military Ladies Band

Incomparable melodies

The Performers list was a veritable delight.Local as well as international bands and dance performers have come together and the result was a seamless integration of the best of the East and the West.

Some notables from Oman-The Royal Guard of Oman Military Bands, The Royal Army of Oman Band, The Royal Air Force of Oman Band, The Royal Navy of Oman band, The combined group of the Royal Cavalry and Camel Bands,The Royal Oman Police Band, The Aiyla Group of the First Royal Band for Music and Folklore.

The magnificent backdrop of the ROHM provides a perfect foil.

Some of the international Guest performers included John Innes, Manu Aute Productions of Wellington, The Lochel Drill Marching team, Scotdance International, and Elisha Gallivan.

National Dances of Scotland added grace and variety to the beautifully structured programme.

Maori performing the Haka

The brilliantly synchronised Drill marchers from New Zealand

Traditional Omani dancers perform with grace and vigour

As the event was to close, the inimitable sounds of 'Abide with me' came from somewhere on top. Looking up, we spotted a performer with his bugle and to his right, a tight close up revealed that there were more performers on top. It was just that we hadn't realised they were there as well- another testimony to the sheer detailing that went into making this fantastic evening!

A close up of the musicians positioned on top of the ROHM 

The Grand Finale where all the participants gather and the National Anthem of Oman is sung

The show came to an end and all the people left for the day but not before clicking their final shots.

Then slowly walked away with a smile on their faces as well as in their hearts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Spectacular opening of ‘Traditional Oman’ by David Willis at Bait Al Baranda,Muscat

There are exhibitions and then there are some 'very' special exhibitions. 

What we saw last evening is one that I would categorize as a 'very' special exhibition. Titled 'Traditional Oman' and featuring the traditional riding displays, markets, the seafaring tradition and maritime tradition as well as the beautiful people of the country.Painted by Australian artist David Willis, the exhibition truly embodies the spirit of the very best that Oman has to offer.

There is a very interesting story about David Willis himself.He first visited Oman in 1979 and fell in love with the country as well as the variety of interesting subjects to paint. A decision was taken to make it his home and he is here since 1986.This is his third painting exhibition in Muscat and one in which all those involved have walked the extra mile to make it a spectacular and very memorable one.

As we approached Bait Al Baranda, the venue, we heard some beautiful music, and what sounded like many feet rhythmically moving about in joyous unison. Sure as sure, as we approached closer, we were treated to some wonderful dance displays by a group from the interior of Oman who were clearly enjoying the beat as well as the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of an extremely fascinated audience! 

Swinging to the beat and how!

Exhibition inaugurated, we walked into a revamped and very stylish looking Bait Al Baranda which is hosting the first event of this season.  The Director of  Bait Al Baranda, Malik Al Hinai  and his team have worked very hard and ensured that everything on display  was 'just so' and the effort has paid off very well indeed.

Looking around, I spotted a beautiful painting. It's set in a room where the village chieftain  and his council are debating -they look so real that I could actually imagine their conversation. 

Then there are some stunning paintings where the dhows are  sailing  in turbulent waters and many others with beautifully detailed, realistic horses and camels which look almost as if they will step out of the frame -that could well be one's wildest fantasies coming true.

The rich maritime tradition of Oman

They look so real!

Traditional Oman- the Entrance to the exhibition

Exiting the venue-They were still dancing

This exhibition at Bait Al Baranda will run for ten days, starting yesterday, November 4. It has a total of 32 paintings which includes a few that the artist has  requisitioned from some of his friends in Oman to whom he had sold them earlier. The Guest of Honour was HH Sayyid Harib bin Thuwaini Al Said, Secretary General of the Ministerial Council for Conferences and it was attended by some of the most well known faces in art and culture in Oman. 

This is one exhibition that I will remember  for a very long time....