“My name is Fawzi al-Langhawi, [I am a] professor at Kuwait’s Higher Institute for Music, and I am currently preparing for my post-graduate studies in the United States. I started playing the oud when I was young, because I was born in[to] a music-loving family. I’ve lived with music since birth.
The oud is my soul, I can’t explain it. There is a very close relationship between me and the oud. It is hard for me to talk about the oud because I am sure others have explained it very well. I can only tell you that it is a lifetime [relationship] between me and the oud.
I’ve played the oud every day since 1986. There were some times in my life when I played the oud from when I woke up in the morning until I went back to sleep at night. I try to play anything I listen to. I guess that is what has made me reach this advanced level of playing the oud.
Playing the oud depends on what you listen to. If you listen to oriental music, you play oriental style. Some people listen to oriental and Western music, but play only oriental music.
As I told you, I tried to play anything I listened to; blues, country, gypsy, symphony … I do my best to play all these styles on the oud. It was almost a challenge to me. Every time I listened to something, I tried to play it.
I was sure it would sound different because most pieces were played on western musical instruments, but I wanted to try them on the oud, and they sounded different. You can listen how it sounds when I play.
I can explain. People in the Maghreb countries – which are Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria – have their own way of playing the oud. They have their schools which are different from the Egyptian oud schools.
The Sham countries – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Palestine – also have their own style of playing the oud. Iraq has a different school, Turks have the Ottoman school, and we, in the Gulf, also have a history of playing the oud.
It started in Yemen, which has a different style than those in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Qatar. They have many distinguished oud players. We, in Kuwait, with our geographic location near Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, have a variety of artistic cultures.”
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