By Ayman Adly Staff Reporter
The Katara Oud Festival provides a unique opportunity for oud lovers from around the world to get together and enjoy a quality event featuring some of the best oud players not only from Arab countries but also from places such as Iran, Greece, Turkey and others.
This was an observation of Mohamed al-Marzouqi, director of the festival and manager of Sout Al Khaleej Radio, while speaking to Gulf Times yesterday.
The four-day festival, which concludes today, has attracted a large number of music enthusiasts in general, and oud lovers in particular, from various nationalities.
Besides the daily concerts featuring well-known musicians, the festival features an exhibition and workshops that shed light on the works of oud makers from a number of countries.
Their creations comprise different styles and variations, and the initiative gives visitors an opportunity to buy their favourite oud from the maker of their choice without having to travel outside the country.
The participating oud makers come from Syria, Iraq, Kuwait, Greece, Iran, Kuwait, Turkey, among other nations.
The festival has brought them together in Building 19, where customers and oud lovers can have a closer look at the items, discuss the quality and specifications with the sellers and test the instrument themselves.
Al-Marzouq said the quality of the festival has improved over the years.
Also, the audience knows how to appreciate such fine music, stressing that their response to the concerts positively reflects on the popularity and success of the event.
Irka, an Italian expatriate in Qatar attending the event, said the festival is amazing in every sense and she has enjoyed it immensely with her family and friends. Living in Doha has taught her to embrace different cultures and enjoy them, including oud music.
Dr Calin Bowell, a professor of paediatric from the UK currently working in Qatar, said Qatar is a multi-cultural hub that “opens up and provides room for all in a positive, peaceful way”.
“Oud music stirs my heart and boosts my spirits. I was very keen to attend the festival as listening to such elite music gives me immense joy,” he said, praising the organisation of the festival and the accompanying activities.
Khalid al-Shati, an oud fan from Kuwait who has come to Qatar to enjoy the event, said though it is his first time in Doha, he feels at home and the festival is an excellent opportunity to visit the country.
Similarly, an Omani oud player praised the diversity of styles at the event while maintaining the originality of oud music.
Greek oud maker Dimitris Rapakousios stressed that the festival is one of his favourite places to display his oud creations and sales have been “great throughout the event as the country celebrates diversity and multi-culturalism”.
Turkish oud maker Simon Betrous noted that his brand is considered one of the most favoured by customers, especially Qataris, who have a fine taste in such instruments.
Oud maker Yehya Esterki from Iran lauded the facilities for participants, noting that the climate-controlled area dedicated to the workshop has a positive impact on both customers and oud makers.
Mustafa Zayir, an Iraq composer, oud player and instructor taking part in the festival, said the event has become a favoured destination for the best oud soloists in the world. The 10-year-old Iraqi twins who amazed the audience with their performance on the opening night are his students and he has trained them himself at his centre in Baghdad.
He said the festival is a good opportunity for them to show their skills to the public.
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