Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi) has launched a new ambitious vision for Bait Al Oud Abu Dhabi, aiming to establish its role as an integrated academy for teaching the history, theories and practices of Arabic music. The launch event was attended by HE Staff Major General Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Committee for Festivals and Cultural and Heritage Programmes (CFCHP), HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of TCA Abu Dhabi, Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of TCA Abu Dhabi, Naseer Shamma, Director of Bait Al Oud, as well as teachers and students from Bait Al Oud. The institute teaches Oud courses and other oriental music instruments such as Al Qanun, Al Rababa and Cello, and provides a platform for creativity and music innovation that supports and emphasizes the role of music in the cultural scene of the UAE capital.
Bait Al Oud offers courses and training in playing oriental instruments, in addition to providing programmes to preserve the Arab musical heritage, adopting academic curricula focusing on Arabic music and spreading awareness of its authenticity, techniques and traditions through a series of concerts by the institute’s music instructors, graduates and students.
The new programme aims to Introduce Rababah as new Instrument to Bait Al Oud – which will support TCA mission in preserving the musical traditions of the UAE. The programme will also support the new initiative related to Talent Development in order to find young UAE talent and provide training in music
HE Saif Saeed Ghobash, Director General of TCA Abu Dhabi, explained that the development of this new vision for Bait Al Oud is in line with the Authority’s strategic objectives aimed at establishing Abu Dhabi as a sustainable tourism and culture destination and position the capital as a beacon of culture in the region and the world. HE further explained that TCA Abu Dhabi aims to establish Abu Dhabi as an incubator for artists, encouraging dialogue and creativity, which works in conjunction with the goal of safeguarding the elements of its cultural heritage and inherent traditions.
Abu Dhabi’s Bait Al Oud is a centre of excellence in documenting and protecting elements of Emirati and Arab music. It is also the only institute of its kind in the Gulf region and the first in the UAE to teach Rababa playing professionally. Additionally, the institute’s curricula combine musical traditions from across the Arab region and allows for constructive interaction and dialogue between Eastern and Western music. Bait Al Oud will continue to evolve into one of the region’s best Oud-making centres; a tourist destination offering exceptional cultural experiences and a place for concerts and performances.
HE Ghobash said: “Bait Al Oud Abu Dhabi is responsible for reviving the traditions of Arabic music, which is evident when its students and music instructors shine in local, regional and international concerts and festivals, including its concerts in the UAE capital. As we launch Bait Al Oud with its new vision towards achieving our cultural and artistic ambitions, I would like to note the pride we take in its achievements, most notably graduating generations of talented and academically qualified artists who skillfully and professionally play the main oriental instruments.”
In addition, Bait Al Oud organises tours for the public that add value to the cultural tourism programmes in Abu Dhabi. During these tours, visitors are provided with the opportunity to explore the musical heritage of the UAE and the Arab world, the traditional musical instruments and the techniques of Oud-making and its history. Visitors can also enjoy the oriental melodies played by Bait Al Oud’s professors as well as purchase Arabic musical instruments from the Bait Al Oud Store, which sells Ouds, Rababas, Cellos and their accessories.
The tour also includes a visit to one of Bait Al Oud’s classes and its Oud-making workshop. Tours are from 11–12am on Sundays and Tuesdays, and from 4-5pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, with advance booking.
Bait Al Oud also features Oud-making workshops, which last from 8 to 10 months under the supervision of a team of experts to ensure the quality of the instruments that will carry the ‘Bait Al Oud’ brand. The training courses and workshops are held under the supervision of the internationally renowned artist Naseer Shamma.
Naseer Shamma, Director of Bait Al Oud, said: “Music is a universal language that uplifts morality, sensitivity and values ??of tolerance and positivity and is an effective way to eliminate negative trends in societies. Additionally, Abu Dhabi is known to cradle artists, innovators and intellectuals, and is unique for the atmosphere of tolerance and diversity that engulfs its community, which makes it the perfect incubator for this Arab music academy.”
Mr. Shamma added: “The graduates of Bait Al Oud are the nucleus of the movement aimed at restoring the glories of ancient Arabic music and delivering its songs to every home. Many thanks also go to TCA Abu Dhabi for its endless support and patronage of Bait Al Oud Abu Dhabi, which paved the way for us to stay the course of our mission.”
Naseer Shamma was named this year’s ‘UNESCO Artist for Peace’ in recognition of his commitment to supporting music education for young people, his efforts in promoting peace through his musical performances, and his dedication to UNESCO’s universal ideals and goals,
Bait Al Oud Abu Dhabi was founded in 2008 by TCA Abu Dhabi to develop the traditions of playing the Oud and other oriental instruments such as Qanun, Rababa and Cello, and to develop the appropriate curricula that help graduate musicians to master playing these instruments, read musical tablature of every genre. In addition, the institute researches the history of Al Oud and develops the standards of Oud-making, as well as works to disseminate the culture of Arabic music in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.
Bait Al Oud Abu Dhabi has achieved so much in the past through graduating talented artists of all ages and allowing them to perform in its concerts. It is also worth noting that two of Bait Al Oud’s students won the first and second prizes in the international children competition for playing Al Qanun at the Arab Music Festival 2014 in Cairo.
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