Wednesday, February 21, 2024 | Sha'ban 10, 1445 H
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Oud player changing prevailing belief


One of the most beautiful things about music and art is that it can transform the situation and the mood of the player and the listener at the same time. There are those artists who created brilliant, life-changing work. With some artists, the music they create, takes the listener into worlds of fantasy and imagination, even if the music is kind of classical by oud. It was the strings’ sound and melodies that fascinated her the first time when trying playing oud. She defied the prevailing belief that playing oud is for men only. Despite her hesitation at the beginning, she started to play oud in the first year at the university. Then she joined the Omani oud hobbyists association to improve the skills.

The talented Oud player Noura al Nadhiri, has a Bachelors Degree in Music and Musical sciences from Sultan Qaboos University, and she is musical skills teacher as she is also a singer. “I chose oud instrument because it expresses my feeling and I love carrying it all the time when I am singing”, Noura Said.

While playing the oud, Noura shows how it rests snuggly against the body. So the vibration resonates with the body of the musician so “she can concentrate on the vibration of the oud.”

This connection with the instrument also means the oud player can easily correct the voice while singing. “I am influenced by many players, including my professor at the University Lasad Abbas who was a big supporter to me and Fathi al Balushi, Director of Omani Oud Hobbyists Association.

Her passion in creating a new touch for Omani music has resulted in founding the “Jawaher Alafia” musical band that is certified by Oman Center for Traditional Music. The whole team members of the band are from the same talented family.

The beginning of the band was when Oman Center for Traditional Music announced a competition to develop and encourage the talents of young people. “We came to participate in the competition as a band consisting of eight members who are all my relatives. The aim of establishing the band is to develop stanzas in the Omani character,” Noura Said.

“The idea was accepted and we presented musical performances that impressed the audience. Supported by Professor Muslim al Kathiri, I grew up as an Omani singer and oud player,” Noura added.

Noura loves to play Omani, Syrian, Egyptian and Turkish types of music. She has many of participations and musical achievements by her own diligence and from the support of colleagues artists. She participated in a national television music song called “YaWatan” for the 42nd National Day. The tenth edition of Omani song festival was one of Noura’s unforgettable experiences. “My international participation was in Morocco in the Arab Youth Festival and I was awarded the best voice as member of the Sultan Qaboos University Music group,” Noura said.

The challenges that people face are the change point. Some people would surrender immediately and others chose to continue. “The first challenge to me was gender bias. The community could not accept a woman playing music in events and public celebrations. Knowing deep inside of me that this is something that should be changed in the community, I refused to easily surrender and let go of my dream. I continued to appear and gradually, people accepted the presence of women as musicians”, she explained.

The first piece of music that she had written was when she participated in youth creation competition. She wrote and composed the musical theme and effects for “Al Heel Theatrical Group” and played it live on the stage. She won the best music prize in this competition. Playing oud changed Noura’s life in several aspects. It helped her to express her feelings, raised her self-confidence and enabled her to overcome challenges. “I think there is an increase of the musical awareness in society. I hope, God willing, that my projects will help everyone who has a talent in this field,” Noura concluded.

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