Posted on November 11, 2018
Supporting music and the arts in the Middle East is one sure way to fight extremist ideologies.
Thank God Qatar is hugely different from some of its neighbours. There are many clubs or bars where one can go to listen to music, and to enjoy a beer or whatever else might take your fancy. The Doha jazz festival finished last night and a new Salsa Music & Dance club recently opened in a prominent hotel, providing two example of the more relaxed scene in Qatar than exists elsewhere in the region.
The Qatar Philarmonic Orchestra is playing since 2008 and is made up of over 100 professional musicians who were originally recruited mostly in Europe and the Arab World. They play regular concerts at a number of venues, the most recent being the Johann Strauss’ Vienna on Friday night last.
From the website of the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra:
The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra performs and promotes western and Arabic music in order to inspire the children and adults of Qatar and the Arab world to create and enjoy music. The Philharmonic is a member of the Qatar Foundation, which is supporting Qatar on its journey from carbon economy to knowledge economy by unlocking human potential.
The orchestra was founded by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned in 2007. The orchestra of 101 musicians was chosen by a jury of international music professionals through auditions held in European and Arab countries. Selection criteria were driven by musician quality. The Philharmonic held its Inaugural Concert on October 30th, 2008, conducted by Lorin Maazel.
MB was surprised not to see the below piece listed on the programme for the evening. But the sneaky German conductor had pulled a fast one on MB and others by keeping it for his encore!
So with the usual apologies for MB’s terrible hand-held camera video, voila:
Posted on November 10, 2018
A night out listening to a philharmonic orchestra is not one that many back home would think possible in the Arabian Gulf region of the Middle East. But that’s the night out that MB and others had last night in Doha, Qatar.
The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra was playing a concert entitled Johann Strauss’s Vienna conducted by young award-winning German conductor Elias Grandy. The Strauss concert was played at the Qatar National Convention Centre, a spectacular venue, in one of its small auditoriums.
If you wish to read a little more on the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra, click here.
Posted on November 4, 2018
MB’s efforts for this week’s Photo Challenge from Blogger Ann Christine – Blending In/Standing Out.
MB is not sure if the four dhow boats on Doha Cornice last week were blending in or standing out. Maybe a bit of both.
But Mr. Crow, standing on top of a Celtic Cross outside a church in Adare, County Limerick in late September as MB passed by, was definitely standing out!
Posted on November 1, 2018
Posted on October 25, 2018
Weather – Qatar.
Irish people love to talk weather-talk. ‘Fine day’ or ‘soft day’ are often conversation openers, and are very acceptable replacements for ‘hello’ or ‘howrya’.
The Irish in Qatar sure had a lot to talk about last Saturday.
Saturday last witnessed an entire year’s average rainfall of approx 75mm in a torrential 6 hours, replete with ear-shattering thunder and a most impressive display of forked lightning. And like all countries of the Arabian Gulf where such weather is a rarity, when heavy rains arrive, the roads and road drainage systems of Qatar are unable to cope. Minor roads in particular often have low-lying sections (many of them) with no drainage outlets, or sand-clogged drainage outlets, so deep flooding is the order of the day. Cars regularly get stuck or abandoned.
MB was stuck in almost-static heavy traffic in the midst of it all when his car lost all power for a minute or two, except for the merciful fact that the engine did not cut out and thankfully kept ticking over. Thankfully also, this happened when the traffic was actually static. The same thing happened another five or six times during the 1.5-hour journey, a journey that normally takes 10 minutes. But each time the car lost power, it regained power moments or minutes later, and moved on.
It was real heart-in-the-mouth stuff on MB’s journey back to the office, assuming that the car would konk out at any moment and thousands of cars would start tooting their angry toots at MB, who had already decided that waving and smiling would be his response.
Today, five days later, some minor watery evidence of last Saturday’s biblical event is still evident, and MB’s car engine just doesn’t sound so healthy each morning when it starts. A visit to the car doctor is on the agenda in the coming days.
Have a nice weekend!
Posted on October 11, 2018
The Holy Trinity Abbey Church, Adare, County Limerick, Ireland
The Holy Trinity Church in Adare is some 800 years old and has a very interesting history. Read More
Posted on September 26, 2018
Posted on September 24, 2018
MB has just returned to the hot desert climate of Qatar from his heavenly Irish homeland replete with it’s temperate (highly eclectic) weather, and great social living conditions for its inhabitants, in many respects. The traditional Irish music session is one such contribution, which one can find in various pubs in any given village or town if one cares to visit and explore.
Take for example, a session from a pub in MB’s local city:
And in relation to a very recent post from the city of Lancaster in England, MB will soon compose a post on the reason for his Lancaster visit.
But in the meantime, enjoy the music session from Dolan’s Pub in Limerick, South West Ireland.
Cheers, from a slightly nostalgic MB.
Posted on September 18, 2018
MB arrived in his HX homeland a few days back. The following shots are taken mostly around his HX village locality. A few are taken in the Lough Derg area of south-east Galway, where youngest-sister-of-MB lives.
Posted on September 1, 2018
And why, pray tell, did you travel last week to Romania, MB?
Because nothing would do daughter MB2 better than a trip to Transylvania and the dark forested, wild bear-infested Carpathian Mountains, to climb the steps, amidst the dank damp scent of stale human blood, to enter the bowels and entrails of Dracula’s Castle.
And did you enter the castle MB?
Yes. We did.
Posted on August 30, 2018
Peles (pronounced ‘Pel-esh’) Castle sits on the outskirts of a small town called Sinaia at the foothills of the Carpathian Mountains, about a 3-hour drive from Bucharest. It’s well worth the trip. Read More
Posted on August 29, 2018
Quiz Question Nr 1 – What is the largest administrative building in the world?
Answer – The Pentagon (easy!).
Quiz Question Nr 2 – What is the second largest administrative building in the world? Answer – See below. Read More
Posted on August 28, 2018
MB & daughter MB2 enjoyed a number of tours around the city of Bucharest (and outside) during their recent five-day excursion to Romania. All were enjoyable, particularly the street food walking tour which combined history, geography, architecture, local culture, Romanian craft beers and great food, whilst exchanging stories and chat with fellow-tourees.
Posted on August 27, 2018
The Romania witnessed by MB last week is one where much of its religious past history of Greek Orthodoxy is very evident. Some 50 churches were destroyed by the Communist authorities in the capital city since 1947, but the devotion of the people to their churches and their religion prevented even more widespread destruction. Today some 250+ churches exist in Bucharest alone. Most are architecturally beautiful old buildings.
Posted on August 16, 2018