Wowie wowie…unbelievable…my article for Vintage Guitar mag, “The Oud: Ancient to Modern,” is in the November 2015 issue, just got it today. It’s a look at this most marvelous of instruments, from it’s ancient Middle Eastern roots, to the most modern players of today. I must first thank Maestro Rahim Alhaj for his wonderful friendship, lessons, and support; Constance for her superb editing skills; Alan Suits for his expertise and insights about Oud making; all the great Oud players who have long inspired me…and Ward Meeker at VG for giving me the opportunity to write this article. I am an excited boy, and VG did their usual stunning layout. All this and Microstock 10 this Friday…just in time to turn 64 next week…yip…
Novelist & guitar collector Jonathan Kellerman comments on the article….
The well-researched article on the oud was a welcome feature in the most recent VG. This complex, gorgeous-sounding ancestor of the guitar offers tremendous musical possibilities to those willing to try it. A few additional facts: there are two basic variants of the instrument, the larger bodied, deeper sounding Arabic oud and the Turkish oud, tuned higher and quite different, sonically. To hear an example of the latter, check out the recordings and videos of the recently departed virtuoso John Bilezikjian. For VG readers interested in collectability, Nahhat ouds, fashioned by several luthiers belonging to a family that lived in Damascus and later, Brazil, are among the finest Arabic ouds and Manol ouds are considered by many to be the ultimate Turkish ouds. Dikran Najarian, grandfather of contemporary master, Viken Najarian, built excellent ouds in Beirut, Lebanon and Karibyan ouds are the heirs to the Manol style of construction. Interestingly, Iraqi ouds are the “archtops” of oud-dom, set up with movable bridges.
Finally, it is worth noting the oud is also featured prominently in many exemplars of ancient Jewish, Armenian and Greek music and that the connection to flamenco music is logical, as that musical form sprouted from an intertwining of three roots: Gypsy, Moorish, and Jewish.