On Saturday I had the opportunity to see Naseer Shamma in concert at the Wexner Center in Columbus. He’s one of the foremost oud players in the Middle East today. He hails from Iraq (b. Kut, 1963) and began studying the oud at a relatively young age, at the Baghdad Academy of Music. Today, he’s the director of Beit Al Oud, which is a conservatory dedicated to the oud. He founded Beit Al Oud in Cairo in 1998, and there are now branches in Alexandria, Algeria, and Abu Dhabi where training occurs not only on the oud but also other traditional instruments, kanoni and ney among them. The concert was a real treat–this was his first performance in the US in over a decade. He refused to play here because of the American occupation of his country. Columbus was his second stop, after the Smithsonian.
But enough. Go and listen to this man’s wonderful music. Here’s one video to start–just hit play–and a longer playlist is below.