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August 16 2022 11:18 PM ˚
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Nightly concerts at Abdali’s Boulevard spread Christmas cheer

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The Christmas market at the Boulevard hosts around 107 musical performances by both local international acts accessible to the public for the price of JD2 ticket. (Photo: Handout from the Boulevard marketing team)
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AMMAN — As soon as you enter the Boulevard in Amman’s up-and-coming Abdali district, you can see the Christmas lights twinkling and hear the music echoing through the winter air. While the wide pedestrian walkway boasts a Christmas slide for children, an enormous Christmas tree, and a seasonal Christmas market in addition to over 60 year-round restaurants, cafes, and shops, it is the nightly concert series at the Boulevard’s central amphitheater that captures people’s attention and spreads the Christmas cheer.

For JD2 and proof of COVID-19 vaccination, the people of Amman can visit the Christmas market at the Boulevard, bring their kids to watch the flying Santa Show, and watch one of the 107 musical performances by both local international acts.


(Photo: Handout from the Boulevard marketing team)

One of the most popular local acts is from the Tarneeb band, which has played at the Boulevard each of the past two Thursdays. Tarneeb is a great example of Amman’s international character, featuring members from Jordan, the US, the UK, Palestine, and Chechnya and performing popular hits backed by drums, bass, guitar, keyboard, and a one-man brass section which alternates between trumpet and trombone.

The band prides itself on getting people dancing no matter the venue. It has a wide repertoire of upbeat songs in many languages (Arabic, English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Italian). This was evident at the Boulevard shows, as audience members from every age and background enthusiastically danced, sang along, and celebrated the Christmas season.


(Photo: Handout from the Boulevard marketing team)

Daisy Hill, the band’s lead singer from the UK, knows how to energize the crowd, especially when she sings in Arabic. She has played both Tarneeb sets and an acoustic set of classic Christmas songs with a local Jordanian guitarist named Raed.

Reflecting on the performances, she said, “It was really nice to play for such a big and diverse group of smiling people at the Boulevard, which I actually think is such a great concert venue. I think they should have music all year round – for only JD2, and being a non-alcoholic venue, it is a great venue for people of all backgrounds and especially children to hear live music.”


(Photo: Handout from the Boulevard marketing team) اضافة اعلان

 

Brian Marland, the band’s American trumpet and trombone player, voiced a similar sentiment, saying: “The Boulevard offers a great opportunity for the band to play on a large outdoor stage and interact with new fans from all ages and backgrounds who come to enjoy the Christmas spirit. The best part is watching the young kids’ faces light up when they see and hear instruments they might never have been exposed to before, and soon enough, they are bouncing along to the beat of the music.”

He added that this is Tarneeb’s second year playing at the Boulevard for Christmas and that the band is “looking forward to many more.”

The Boulevard sponsors the musical performances in partnership with Ahli Bank, and both companies share the responsibility of booking the musical acts. A representative from the Boulevard explained that they have been doing the concert series for seven years now, and their goal is always to spread joy and Christmas spirit in a beautiful, safe, and family-friendly outdoor environment.


(Photo: Handout from the Boulevard marketing team)

Rawaa, an assistant marketing manager at Ahli Bank, voiced similar sentiments to the band. When asked about the bank’s contribution, she explained that “Ahli” means “family” in Arabic and the reason the bank sponsors the Christmas concerts is to build closer relationships with the people.

The bank has helped book famous Arab artists such as Jordanian rock band Autostrad and Palestinian songwriter Noel Kharman, who is famous for composing Arabic and English “mash-up” cover songs, at this year’s concert series. Ahli is also offering weekly prizes at their booth and culminating a JD100,000 grand prize drawing slated for the first week of the new year.

Last Thursday, the local crowd enthusiastically welcomed the surprise of Thaer the Beatbox Elephant, a popular local hip-hop artist who came onstage to perform a few rap verses over Tarneeb’s live instrumentation.

Thaer started the Jordanian beatbox scene, which now boasts 85 artists from Aqaba to Mafraq and everywhere in between, but last Thursday, he was happy to do something different and soak in the joy and holiday cheer of the Boulevard’s Christmas crowd. He said that while he usually performs at hip-hop events, he enjoyed the atmosphere and energy of the crowd which spontaneously gathered when they heard the music start. He said, “Every time I collaborate with musician friends who are not involved in hip-hop, it’s special.”

Organizers of the series acknowledged that the COVID-19 pandemic has not yet ended but also stressed the amount of precautions they are taking, not only by verifying that everybody who enters is vaccinated, but by also patrolling the area and politely asking all pedestrians to keep their masks on, requiring social distancing in the amphitheater seating, and having every musical performer remind the audience to wear their masks between every song.

The Boulevard expressed hope that their exquisite Christmas decorations and nightly musical offerings would help people feel joy and get in the Christmas spirit after last year when Jordan was in complete lockdown, and all Christmas events were canceled.


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