Legendary Qatari songwriter and musician Abdulaziz Nasser al-Obaidan, who had composed the country’s national anthem, died in Doha yesterday after a long battle with illness. He was 64.
His career in music spanned some 50 years. He had established the Al Adwaa troupe in Doha in 1966, at the age of 14.
Al Adwaa is considered the first theatrical and music troupe made up of young people in Doha. It played a key role in encouraging a number of musicians and performing artistes to rise to fame in the country.
Besides, the troupe - along with al-Obaidan - played a key role in establishing the music and singing section on Qatar Radio in 1968.
Al-Obaidan paid special attention to local folklore and composed and presented a number of songs inspired by the Qatari heritage. He was also interested in the Arabic classical heritage and created several songs inspired by this.
In addition, he composed music for patriotic songs, including the national anthem, written by Qatari poet Sheikh Mubarak bin Saif al-Thani. This was approved as the national anthem of the country in 1996.
Al-Obaidan is also remembered for popular patriotic songs such as Allah ya omri Qatar.
Similarly, he has left a strong legacy in the world of Arab and Gulf music and composed a number of romantic, folk, religious and patriotic songs. He was, in particular, interested in the Palestinian cause and the occupied Arab territories and produced many songs on these themes, besides those on Iraq and Beirut.
Many famous Arab singers from places such as Egypt, Syria and the GCC region have sung to the music of al-Obaidan.
He graduated from the Higher Institute of Arabic Music in Cairo in 1977 and occupied a number of positions related to music and performing arts at Qatar Radio and TV, and Qatar Music Academy. Many of his songs and musical works were recorded and published in albums.
Al-Obaidan was awarded a number of prizes, awards and certificates of appreciation throughout his career, including the State Appreciation Award in music in 2006. He was honoured by Katara - the Cultural Village Foundation for enriching Qatar’s musical heritage. He was also recognised with a number of prizes and honours at the GCC and Arab level.
He was a member of the board of trustees of the Academy of Music in Qatar and, and represented Qatar in the membership of the Executive Council in the Arab Society of Music.
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