Alexandria celebrates opening of Arabian Oud House

Mai Heikal, Thursday 7 Apr 2011

On Wednesday 6 April, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina celebrated the opening of Alexandria Arabian Oud House

Alexandria Arab Oud House

 The new Oud House is founded by Naseer Shamma, the renowned oud (a pear-shaped stringed instrument) player, as a branch of the Beit Al-Oud Al-Arabi (Arabian Oud House) in Cairo, and a part of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Art centre activities. Another branch of this music institution has opened in Abu Dhabi.

"I have been aiming for this project for nearly ten years, especially after I received many requests from friends in Alexandria and finally, circumstances and resources are suitable to achieve it now," said the famous oud player Naseer Shamma.

The celebration included performances by Naseer Shamma and his former students, graduates of the Beit Al-Oud Al-Arabi, who now teach in the three houses. They performed a number of Shamma’s compositions for the instrument, along with qanun (a stringed instrument) and oriental percussions. While presenting the musicians, Shamma announced: “We have succeeded in uniting the Arab world on one stage, something that the political scene failed to do in the past.”

The concert began with Life's Mural composed by Naseer Shama, followed by Be Happy My Heart by the Egyptian composer Riyad al-Sunbati. Another composition Freedom Waltz was composed by Shamma after the Egyptian revolution.

The evening also included female musicians of the Beit Al-Oud Al-Arabi who performed Heart-breaks composed by Farouk Omar, and No Time composed and played by Bahr Ghazy, a well-known oud player from Syria.  

The second half of the evening continued with compositions by Shamma: Pain's Flower played by the female musicians, If I Had Wings with Yousef Abbas as soloist and Journey of the Souls especially dedicated to the martyrs of the revolution.

These were followed by a medley of songs from the Arabic heritage of different countries. The concert ended with two pieces composed by Shamma, On the Wings of a Butterfly and 2011, inspired by the spirit of change and freedom this year in the Arab world.

Shamma said that he hopes “intolerance and violence would be left behind and freedom, citizenship and positive concepts would be established.”

Alexandria Arabian Oud House – just like the Arabian Oud House – aims to enhance musical skills and provide practical experience in playing the oud.

The methodology follows the study of different playing techniques and performance styles. The ultimate goal of the school is to create musical and humanitarian values for the graduates through respecting all who added to the oud's history. Many oud house students become teachers later on.

Besides the oud department the school also offers lessons for santoor (stringed instrument, similar to qanun), qanun, ney (flute-like instrument) and oriental percussion.

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