Kadim Al Sahir and Rahma Riad to perform at Arabian Gulf Cup opening ceremony in Iraq

The tournament is being held in the port city of Basra

Singer Kadim Al Sahir performing as part of the Infinite Nights series at Expo 2020 Dubai. Reuters
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Two generations of Iraqi music talent will reportedly perform at the opening ceremony of the Arabian Gulf Cup football tournament on Friday.

Arab pop superstar Kadim Al Sahir is set to take to the stage alongside fellow Iraqi singers Rahma Riad and Hussam Alrassam.

While no official announcement has been made by the tournament organisers or the singers on social media, the news has been widely reported in the Iraqi press.

The trio are set to perform at the Basra International Stadium in the lead-up to the opening game, which will have the host nation play Oman. The tournament will last for two weeks in total.

The inclusion of the artists would represent a coup for the tournament, which is running for its 25th event, as well as the Iraqi footballing community.

Last year, football governing body Fifa lifted a ban on international competitions in Iraq that had been in place due to security concerns.

All three artists come to the tournament with their careers in firm footing.

Al Sahir, known for hits such as Ana Wa Laila (Me and Laila), Ha Habibi and Dhomni Ala Sadrak, will undoubtedly be the crowd favourite.

One of Iraq's most successful artists, he is no stranger to big occasions. In 2021 he was the first musician to kick off the Infinite Nights concert series at Expo 2020 Dubai at Al Wasl Plaza.

Nicknamed the Caesar of Arabic songs and Iraq's ambassador to the world, Al Sahir is one of the most successful singers from the Arab region and has been putting out music since the 1980s.

Riad will also be raring to go, having performed as part of the Qatar World Cup closing ceremony last month.

Born to popular Iraqi singer Riad Ahmed, the artist first made a splash in 2010 by appearing in the television talent quest Star Academy before launching a successful career with hits including Al Kawkab and Waed Menni — the latter, released in 2018, has garnered more than 200 million streams on YouTube.

Her latest track is the bilingual Light the Sky, an official song for the Qatar World Cup featuring fellow Arab artists Balqees, Manal and Nora Fatehi.

With mix of balladry and sturdy Iraqi folk songs, Al Rassem also knows how to capture the moment.

For the 2007 Asian Cup, his recording of the official team song Jeeb El Kass (Bring the Cup) became the soundtrack for the team's journey to becoming the tournament's champions.

The Arabian Gulf Cup concludes with the final match on January 19.

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Updated: January 07, 2023, 10:58 AM