Artist Profiles: Naseer Shamma

Naseer Shamma

Naseer Shamma was born in 1963 in Kut, a village on the Tigris River in Iraq. He began studying the ud at the age of 12 in Baghdad, following in the footsteps of Jamil and Munir Bachir. When he was 11, Shamma saw the ud for the first time, in the hands of a stylish music teacher . Although Shamma’s father, a shop owner, was religiously conservative, he did not object to his son’s artistic ambitions. In 1985,

Shamma played his own compositions at his first concert, attended by several renowned Iraqi artists. At the time, he worked closely with “the emir of the ud,” the late Iraqi master Munir Bashir. But Shamma wanted to blaze his own path. Master Munir invented the technique of contemplation with oud, but I wanted my music to carry content, an idea or image that is shocking. He received his diploma from the Baghdad Academy of Music in 1987.

He began to teach ud after three years at the academy, as well as continuing his own studies. Shamma has composed music for films, plays and television, and has written a unique ud method for one hand – this is designed at for children injured during the Gulf War. Between 1993 and 1998 he taught ud the Higher Institute of Music in Tunisia, and in 1999 he took the post of Director of the Arab Center for the Ud in Cairo.

His compositions are culturally unique. He performs on the oud in a manner which combines ancient methods with his own modern compositions.

He has constructed an eight-string ud following the manuscript of the 9th century music theorist al-Farabi. This new design (8 instead of 6 strings) expanded the musical range of the ud and gave it a distinct tonality.

Discography:

Le Luth De Bagdad – The Baghdad Lute (Institut Du Monde Arabe, 1994)
Ishraq ‎(Musicaimmagine Records, 1996)
The Moon Fades (Incognito, 2004)
Meditation ‎(Diwan, 2004)
Ancient Dreams ‎(Meya Art Production, 2004)
Maqamat Ziryáb ‎(Pneuma, 2005)
Ard Al-Sawad ‎(2006)
Hilal ‎(Pneuma, 2006)
Viaje De Las Almas ‎(Pneuma, 2011)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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