Tag Archives: ud

Artist Profiles: Marcel Khalife

Marcel Khalife

Marcel Khalife was born in 1950 in Amchit, Mount-Lebanon. He studied the ud (the Arabic lute, also known as oud and l’ud) at the Beirut National conservatory, and, ever since, has been injecting a new life into the ud. “My grandfather was a fisherman and he used to sing songs of the sea,” Khalife recalls. “Then I used to go to church and listen to Christian music, and also to Islamic recitations of the Koran. In Lebanon we have a marriage of Islamic and Christian culture. That really helped to form my musical awareness.”

From 1970 to 1975, Marcel Khalife taught at the conservatory and other local institutions. During that same period, he toured the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the United States giving solo performances on the ud.

Ud playing was traditionally constrained by the strict techniques that governed its playing. Highly talented and skillful musicians such as Marcel Khalife were, however, able to free the instrument from those constraints and thus greatly expanding its possibilities.

In 1972, Marcel Khalife created a musical group in his native village with the goal of reviving its musical heritage and the Arabic chorale. The first performances took place in Lebanon. 1976 saw the birth of Al Mayadeen Ensemble. Enriched by the previous ensemble’s musical experiences, Al Mayadeen’s notoriety went well beyond Lebanon. Accompanied by his musical ensemble, Marcel Khalife began a lifelong far-reaching musical journey, performing in Arab countries, Europe, the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, and Japan.

During Lebanon’s civil war, he risked his life performing in bombed out concert halls, bringing his music and the great poetry of the Arab world to his war-ravished country. “Since I was born,” he says, “I’ve felt I had a rebel’s soul within me. I rejected things that might be inherited, but that were wrong.”

In 2002, European television networks broadcast a documentary on Marcel Khalife. A DVD, entitled Voyageur, expands the original 90-minute program into a three-hour feature with additional performances filmed at concerts and in studios. In all, the DVD presents 33 selections from Khalife’s repertoire, which ranges from compositions for solo ud and vocal settings of Arabic poetry to orchestral compositions, films cores and ballets.

In 2003, the San Francisco International Arts Festival (SFIAF) and The San Francisco World Music Festival announced a commissioned project for the creation of a new evening length orchestral work with libretto by Marcel Khalife, in collaboration with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra (music director, Benjamin Simon) and women’s vocal ensemble, KITKA (artistic director, Shira Cion) and soloists Omayma Al-kalil (vocals), Rahman Asadollahi (garmon: Azerbajani accordion), Hai Pu (Chinese percussion) and Zhang Xiao-Feng (erhu: Chinese fiddle). The theme of the new work was “Embracing Global Peace.”

About his CD Caress Khalife says, “This work attempts to elevate Arabic music to a level that allows it to express profound human emotions, not by mere performance, but by empowering the music to mature and develop into a universal language of expression.”

His composition is noted for being deeply attached to lyrical text. Through his association with great contemporary Arab poets, most notably Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, he seeks to renew the character of Arab song, breaking its stereotypes and advancing the culture of the society that surrounds it.

“I do not fit in a cultural box, nor do I want to,” says Khalife, who now lives in Paris. “I have strived all my life to break free of old traditional constraints, to let music speak for itself unshackled by predetermined traditional rules. I have defied identities and categorizations, which only serve to blind us to the vastness and complexity of humanity. There are no set lenses with which I should be looked at. My music, it all comes together for the sake of humanity.”

The second trait has been a consistent message of peace and justice. In 2004, during his US tour, he said: “More than ever, we all have to work much harder for peace…Peace cannot be imposed upon a people by a certain political power or agenda. Peace is achieved through respect, understanding of others and their culture; it is achieved by giving up fear of others; it is achieved through dialogue.”

Discography:

Promesses De La Tempête – Promises of the Storm (Le Chant Du Monde, 1976)
Ghinä’iyat Ahmad Al Arabi (1984)
Dreamy Sunrise ‎(Nagam Records, 1990)
Peace Be With You ‎(Nagam Records, 1990)
Ode To A Homeland (Nagam Records, 1990)
Summer Night’s Dream (Nagam Records, 1992)
Of All The Beautiful Mothers (Nagam Records, 1994)
Arabic Coffeepot (Nagam Records, 1995)
Jadal (Nagam Records, 1995)
Magic Carpet ‎(Nagam Records, 1998)
The Bridge ‎ (Nagam Records, 2001)
Concerto Al Andalus (Nagam Records, 2002)
Stripped Bare (Nagam Records, 2002)
At The Border ‎(Nagam Records, 2003)
Happiness ‎(Nagam Records, 2003)
Caress (Nagam Records, 2004)
Taqasim ‎(Connecting Cultures, 2007)
Sharq (‎Connecting Cultures, 2007)
Fall Of The Moon (Nagam Records, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Naser Musa

Naser Musa

A Jordanian of Palestinian descent, singer/songwriter Naser Musa started playing ‘ud, a Middle Eastern lute, at an early age while living in Amman, Jordan. In addition to the ‘ud, he also studied singing Arabic music. He moved to the United States in 1982 and earned a degree in music from California Polytechnic University, Pomona.

Musa performs regularly at concerts and festivals around the world. An ‘ud virtuoso and a valued studio musician,

Discography:

Hope Is The Way (BCBG Max Azria Entertainment, 2004)
Body Of Lies, soundtrack (Varèse Sarabande, 2008)
From Night To The Edge Of Day (Six Degrees Records, 2011)
Sumud (Six Degrees Records, 2012)

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Artist Profiles: Charbel Rouhana

Charbel Rouhana

Charbel Rouhana, one of the finest ud players in Lebanon. Born in 1965 in Aamchit (a town north of Beirut), Charbel pursued his music education at the Holy-Spirit University in Kaslib and obtained his Diploma in ud instrumentation in 1986 and his M.A. in Musicology in 1987.

One of his major achievements is establishing a new methodology in playing the ud. This method was published and adopted by the National Conservatory of Music and the Faculty of Music in the Holy Spirit University-where he has been teaching ud courses since 1986 till present.

Charbel Rouhana has been performing live events since 1984, touring several countries, venues, and festivals. He also collaborated in composing musicals for choreographer Abdul Haleem Caracall’s shows: “Elissa-The Queen of Carthage” (1995), “Andalusia-Lost Glory” (1997), and “Bleilit Kamar” (1999). Winner of several national awards, Charbel also won the first prize at the Hirayama Competition in 1995 in Japan, for Best Composition entitled “Hymn of Peace”.

Charbel Rouhana

According to Charbel, Oriental-Arabic music is facing a renaissance period incarnated by traditional instruments especially the ud which is ancient and always related to traditional singing and classical instrumental Arabic music. Charbel’s musical writings succeeded in transforming this Arabic traditional instrument into a multinational, modern instrument able to communicate with other cultures and music, with an emphasis on the Oriental-Arabic style.

Discography:

Salamat (Voix De L’Orient, 1997)
Mada (Voix De L’Orient, 1998)
Alani (Voix De L’Orient, 2000)
Vice Versa (2003)
Sourat- Trait D’Union (Forward Music, 2004)
The Art Of The Middle Eastern Oud (ARC Music, 2004)
Dangerous (Forward Music, 2006)
Handmade (Forward Music, 2008)
Oud Fusionista (CIA, 2008)

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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)

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Artist Profiles: Karim Baggili

Karim Baggili

Born in Belgium in 1976 with Jordanian and Yugoslavian origins, Karim Baggili, is a composer, self-taught guitarist and ud player.

He began playing the electric guitar at the age of 16. At 20, he started working the different techniques of the flamenco guitar and acquired an Arabic lute (ud) during one of his many trips to Jordan.

He participated in several projects: Ereska Trio, Colette, and a play. He worked with “L’Orchestre de Chambre de la Nathen”, and with singers for children like, Christian Merveille, Yvette Berger, Raphy Rapha?l…

In 2000, Karim won the first price of the “Open String Festival” in Osnabruck.

His first CD was released in 2002 and he took part in many CD recordings. He also composed the music of several documentaries and one short film.

Karim performed with groups like Traces and Turdus Philomelos. He also plays with jazz pianist Nathalie Loriers and takes part on stage and in studio with an English singer, Melanie Gabriel. He also performed with Philippe Lafontaine.

He brought together great musicians for his new band: Karim Baggili Quartet where he plays all his compositions inspired by flamenco music, South American rythms and one of his origins: Arabic music.

The Karim Baggili Quartet CD Cuatro con Cuatro was released at the beginning of December 2005 and will be followed by a tour in Belgium. Label: homerecords.

A solo CD, Douar was released in Germany mid-November 2005 by Acoustic Music Records. The release was followed by a tour of nine dates in several towns of Germany. The event was called “The International Guitar Night”.

Karim also performs often in solo or in duets with his percussionist Osvaldo Hernandez Napoles.

Aton Lua, another of his projects, is a mixture of rock and world music where he sings (in French, English, Spanish, Arabic and Serbo-Croatian) and plays the electric guitar, flamenco guitar and lute (ud).

Discography:

Douar (homerecords.be)
Cuatro con Cuatro (homerecords.be)
Lea & Kash (homerecords.be)
Kali City (homerecords.be)
Apollo You Sixteen (Take The Bus)
Apollo You Sixteen, Pt. 2 (Take The Bus)

website: www.karimbaggili.be

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Mehmet Polat Announces Ud Album ‘Ageless Garden’

Mehmet Polat – Ageless Garden

Mehmet Polat has announced the release of a new ud album titled Ageless Garden. “‘Music has been the best language with which to express my inner world for more than 30 years. And for the last 20 years, ud has been the main instrument on this journey. I composed these ten compositions during different phases of my life as a migrant musician. And I play them on this album through the lens of my vision of today.’

Guest musicians on the album include Alper Kekec (Turkey) on darbuka, daf and frame drums; Pasha Karami (Iran) on tombak; Shaho Andalibi (Iran) on ney; Yama Sarshar (Afghanistan) on tabla; and Zoumana Diarra (Mali) on kora.

Mehmet Polat will present the new album on February 21st, 2018 at 20.30 in Podium Mozaiek, Amsterdam.

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Deeply Mesmerizing Ud

Smadj – Solotronic (Whirling Wolf, 2017)

Solotronic is the new solo album by Smadj (Jean-Pierre Smadja), a French-Tunisian artist who has taken the ud (Arabic lute) to new realms. On Solotronic, Smadja delivers solo ud pieces where the lute appears in a calm acoustic form and fiery electric format as well. Smadj enhances the ud via electronic effects, using reverb, loops, and adding cutting edge electronic beats and ambient sounds at times.

Smadj’s Solotronica features a shape-shifting ud that is deeply mesmerizing, forward-looking and satisfying.

Buy the digital version of Solotronic

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Artist Profiles: Omar Sermini

Son of Cheikh Mohammed Sermini, Omar Sermini was born in Aleppo in Syria. He studied under the best of master musicians such as Abderahman Moudallal and Nadim Darwish. Omar worked in the field of invocations and enrolled at the Arab Music Institute where he learned to read music and play the ‘ud.

He has taken part in many Arabian festivals: Carthage and El Medina in Tunisia, the Festival de l’Independence in Algeria the Fes Festival in Morocco, the Maison de la Religion in Lebanon and in the Syrian Song Festival. He has also participated in international festivals notably in the Theatre de la Ville in France and in Sao Paulo Brazil.

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Artist Profiles: Muhammad Qadri Dalal

Muhammad Qadri Dalal

Muhammad Qadri Dalal was born in Aleppo in 1946. He is a first-class master of the Arabic lute (ud) and is very well-known in his own country. He carries on the traditional Aleppian style for his instrument, a style emanating from the Turkish school aiming at a smooth rounded sound. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of the traditional repertory.

He is a member of Al-Kindî Ensemble.

Discography:

Unwonted Maqamat (Naive/Inedit)

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Music to Realize Peace

Rahim Alhaj – Letters from Iraq: Oud and String Quintet

Rahim Alhaj – Letters from Iraq: Oud and String Quintet (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings SFW40577, 2017)

Two ancient traditions meet on Letters from Iraq: Oud and String Quintet, western classical music and Arabic music. Oud (Arabic lute also known as ud) maestro Rahim Alhaj has been living in the United States for over a decade and return to Iraq in 2014 to learn about the current situation there.

Letters from Iraq is Alhaj’s expression of the emotions related with war-ravaged Iraq, stories of love, sadness and suffering. It’s a beautiful bittersweet album where the oud provides exquisite interaction with western classical music string instruments.

The lineup includes Rahim Alhaj on oud, David Felberg on violin; Ruxandra Marquardt on violin; Shanti Randall on viola; James Holland on cello; Jean-Luc Matton on bass viol; and Issa Maluff on percussion.

The CD physical version includes a 40-page booklet with photos, illustrations, and liner notes in English and Arabic.

Buy Letters from Iraq: Oud and String Quintet in the rest of the world

Buy Letters from Iraq: Oud and String Quintet in Europe

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