Karim Othman Hassan
Karim Othman Hassan is a collector, restorer, maker and player of oriental (and sometimes non-oriental) musical instruments.
Oudmigrations emerged from conversations between Karim, who became a principal author for the site, and the founder, Rachel Beckles Willson.
Born in Benghazi and growing up in Alexandria, Tarek Abdallah is a composer, oud player, and a musicologist with a special interest in the celebrated era of Egyptian solo oud playing, 1904-1937. He currently lives in Marseille. He graduated from the Beit al Oud in Cairo where he studied in parallel with Said Sharaibi, Abdu Dagher, and Dariush Talai. He has taught at the Arab Oud House in the city of Constantine in Algeria, at the Association of Oud Amateurs in Oman and at the Egyptian Cultural Center in Paris among other places. He holds a PhD from the University of Lumière Lyon II for his thesis on the development of solo oud virtuosity during the phonographic era. His 2015 duo album with Adel Shams El Din (Buda Musique) “Walsa, Egyptian musical suites” was awarded “Top Mezzo” of Mezzo Classic-Jazz TV, Songlines Best Album, and “Bravos” in Trad Magazine. He had an appointment as researcher at the University of Lyon II during the period 2010-2013 and was awarded the Mozarteum de France prize in 2015 for his Masters’ and PhD research. He has a number of research publications in French, Arabic and English.
Cihat Arinc is a writer, film critic and independent researcher, working at the intersection of film, memory and history. He holds a PhD from the Department of Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths College, University of London, where he wrote his dissertation about the politics of postcolonial memory in new Turkish cinema. Before moving to London to pursue doctoral studies, Arinc completed an MA degree in philosophy at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and a BA degree in film studies at Istanbul University. He has published chapters in several books, including Directory of World Cinema: Turkey (London: Intellect Books, 2013), World Film Locations: Istanbul(Bristol: Intellect Books, 2011), and The Curatorial: A Philosophy of Curating (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013). He has also contributed to art projects and exhibitions in art institutions such as The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts (UK), Serpentine Gallery (UK), Iniva – Institute of International Visual Arts (UK), The Showroom Gallery (UK), Wyspa Institute of Art (Poland), and Vehbi Koç Foundation, Arter Gallery (Turkey).
Rihab was born in Homs, Syria, into a musical family. Her father, luthier Samir Azar made her first oud and started teaching her when she was 7 years old. She continued her studies at the Conservatoire of Damascus and was taught by masters including Prof. Askar Ali Akbar, Issam Rafea, Mohamad Osman and Ayman Aljesry. The influences at the Conservatoire included Azerbaijani, Arabic, Turkish and Western classical music which enbled Rihab to develop an understanding and practice of various genres.
In 2014, she became the first woman oud player to perform as soloist accompanied by the Syrian National Orchestra for Arabic Music. She graduated in the same year and became a teacher’s assistant in music theory at the Conservatoire of Damascus. Rihab was the oud player of the “Syrian Female Oriental Takht” 2006-2015, when she moved to the UK, sponsored by the Foreign and Common Wealth Office, to study Music Education at University College London. Arts Council England recognised her as a musician of “Exceptional Promise” in December 2016, which allowed her to continue her professional pursuit in the UK as a “Migrant Talent”. Since 2015, Rihab has performed around the UK as a soloist and as a member in various World Music collaborations. She has performed in festivals such as Nour, Greenbelt, Journeys International and she debuted ‘Zamaan’ trio in Wales in September 2017. Rihab has performed at iconic venues in the UK such as the Royal Albert Hall, Lambeth Palace and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Gabriel Lavin is an American oud player, guitarist, and composer. He is currently a doctoral student in the Department of Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Before moving to California, he spent almost three and a half years traveling, performing, and studying Arabic throughout the MENA region, including in Morocco, Egypt, Sudan, Oman, and Kuwait. In Oman, he was an IIE Fulbright student scholar studying and performing with the Oud Hobbyists Association in Muscat. His current research focuses on the Indian Ocean and unpacking historical networks between East Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, using music as a lens for the study of cultural connections across maritime space.
Salvatore Morra is a musician and researcher with a particular interest in the Tunisian ʻūd. He trained originally as a guitarist and performed for many years as a solo and chamber music player. Salvatore encountered theʻūd in a concert in Tunis while a student of oriental languages in 2007; one year later he discovered the Tunisian ʻūd at the museum of musical instruments in the Center of Arab and Mediterranean Music (Ennejma Ezzahra) in Sidi Bou Said. He studied Arab music with Selmi Mongi (2007-2010) and Kamel Gharbi in Tunis (2011-2013). He holds a degree in language and culture (Arabic/English) from the University “L’Orientale” of Naples and a MMus from the University of Cambridge. He is currently pursuing a doctorate at Royal Holloway, University of London, researching the cultural and social meanings of the Tunisian ʻūd in local and global contexts. His publications include Liuto Magico (Iuppiter Edizioni 2011).
Christian Moser studied oud and classical Turkish music at I.TÜ. conservatory in Istanbul, specializing in 18th and 19th century Ottoman music and improvisation.
He lives in Switzerland and works as a musician, composing and playing for both contemporary and traditional music.
Ahmad Al Salhi
Ahmad Alsalhi is a musician, researcher and collector, with a special interest in the Kuwait genre saut, on which he focused his doctoral research at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is also a specialist in the classical Arabic violin style of the Egyptian Sami El Shawwa, and from 2003 to 2008, taught at the Institute of Middle Eastern music in Kuwait city. Ahmad is also the co founder of the classical oriental music website www.zeryab.com, which contains rare Arabic and Turkish recordings of the late 19th and early 20th century. He owns some of the oldest, rarest and finest antique violins and ouds dating back to the 1880s. Ahmad is currently Head of Orchestra in Jaber al-Ahmad Cultural Centre, the opera house of Kuwait. His publications include Sami al-Shawa, his life and music (book in Arabic, also CD), and a number of articles in English and Arabic. He performs regularly with Oxford Maqam.
Jonathan Shannon is a cultural anthropologist who specializes in aesthetics, musical performance, and cultural politics in the Arab world and Mediterranean. He has conducted ethnographic field research in Syria, Morocco, Spain, and France and is the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including from SSRC, Fulbright-Hays. Professor Shannon was a Fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in 2008-2009. He has been teaching at Hunter College since 2001. His publications include Among the Jasmine Trees: Music and Modernity in Contemporary Syria (2009), A Wintry Day in Damascus (2012) and Performing Al-Andalus: Music and Nostalgia Across the Mediterranean (2015).
Martin Stokes is an ethnomusicologist and King Edward Professor of Music at King’s College London. To date his research has focused on music in modern Turkey and Egypt, with broader interests across the Mediterranean and Europe. He is particularly interested in questions of ethnicity, identity, globalization and the history of ethnomusicology and folk music study. His books include The Arabesk Debate: Music and Musicians in Modern Turkey (Oxford 1992) and The Republic of Love: Cultural Intimacy in Turkish Popular Music (Chicago 2010). Martin is also a performer on the qanun, and a member of Oxford Maqam.