Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Art of the Oud

Remembering Munir Bashir and the Baghdad Conservatory of Music
Tonight - 8PM @ The Rockham Auditorium (915 East Washington Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109)

This looks great, not having a car stops me from seeing a lot of great stuff in the area. I really wish there was a better public transit system to visit the suburbs of Detroit. Oh well, just because I can't doesn't mean you shouldn't. Here's a blurb I snagged from the University Musical Society's website (
Oud player Munir Bashir (1930-1997) was one of the most famous musicians in the Middle East
during the 20th century. His 1972 album, The Art of the ‘Ud, brought worldwide acclaim to the oud as a solo instrument, distinguished by a novel style of improvisation that reflected his study of Indian and European music. Born in Mosul, Bashir studied at the famous Baghdad Conservatory from age six and migrated to Budapest in the early 1960s. He returned to Iraq for several years, where he championed traditional Iraqi folk music and taught at the Baghdad
Conservatory, before returning to Hungary after the First Gulf War.
The Baghdad Conservatory was the preeminent institution for studying the unique Iraqi style of oud performance and Iraqi maqam. In 2004, the Conservatory was bombed, and many of its faculty and students fled the country, threatening the continuation of the Iraqi oud tradition.
This performance celebrates the opening of the Performing Arts of the Arab World series and the end of Ramadan. Paying tribute to the legacy of Munir Bashir and the Baghdad Conservatory of Music, as well as the historic Iraqi maqam tradition, the concert features Munir Bashir’s son, Omar and Rahim AlHaj. Iraq’s most distinguished female singer, Farida, who studied at the Baghdad Conservatory, also performs with the Iraqi Maqam Ensemble. “This concert is only a small token of our deep gratitude and appreciation for Munir Bashir, a true hero of the 20th century,” says AlHaj. “He was a wonderful musician and human being, who will be present in our lives, hearts, and music.”

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