Mohamed Dekkak Meets Naseer Shamma

Naseer Shamma is a highly acclaimed Iraqi artist and poet, well-known for his Arabic Oud House creation. He was born in 1963 in a city on the Tigris River called Kut. His passion for Oud music all began at an early age of 12 in the city of Baghdad from which he was greatly influenced by artists Jamil and Munir Bashir. To pursue his devotion in music he has earned his diploma from Baghdad Academy of Music in 1987. After 3 years, he then commenced teaching Oud at the same academy as he carried on with his own studies. Eventually, he began making original music composition for films, plays, and television from which Arabic Oud House was strongly recognized.

Naseer has a deep affection towards the relation between poetry and music and because of that his work in the field of musically read poetry has arise including music reading with the participation of the artist Aziz Khyoun in the Federation of Iraqi Writers, where he presented the “Stranger On The Gulf” and “Rain Song” to the great poet, Badr Shakir al-Sayyab in 1986. Since then, his musical journey continued to grow.

He have collected poems sung during the “7th Arab Music Festival” in the Egyptian Opera House entitled, “The Night After The Millennium,” a poetic evening that presented poems by youthful voice- poem, “Law Anbani El Araf” (If The Fortune Teller Told Me) by the Iraqi poet Lamiaa Abbas Omarah and presented by Moroccan artist Hayat El Idrisi; the poem, “Al Ghariban” (The Strangers) by Amal Dunqul sung by the Tunisian singers Mohamed El Jebali and Enas Samar; the poem, “Arab Blood,” by Farouk Shousha sung by the Egyptian Ibrahim Hefnawi. And lastly, the poem “El Leila Leiletna” by the Tunisian Mahjoub Al Ayari and sung by Abir Nasraoui in 1998.

As a prominent artist in the field of music and theater, Nasser has presented with the modern dance troupe directed by Walid Awni presentation entitled “Shahrazad” to Korsakov. He applied his vision for the Eastern tale Shahrazad presented with his band playing live in the eyes of more than 30 live shows in Egypt and internationally, including the opening of the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2000.

During the peak of his career, Naseer was given a lot of televised exposure from which he has cooperated with Iraqi television in hosting a music program for children with Hussein Kaddouri entitled “Do, Re, Mi” in 1986. He hosted a program named “A Musical Reading Of The Painting” in a period of three minutes in TV Iraq in 1992 and was also able to host his own program “Music… Music,” which succeeded in 1993. He solo played the Oud for Radio France which they recorded a long interview with him and broadcast it in 80 of its radio stations in 1996. He has composed religious prayers in the month of Ramadan, sung by Afaf Radi and Majd Al Kasem in the Voice of Arabia station, Egypt, in 1999.

Naseer then embarked composing soundtracks for a number of television series including “Zeyab El Lail,” directed by Iraqi director Hassan Hosni; “Asayel” in 1990; “Al Kaf Wa Almkhrz” with the Syrian director Najdat Anzor; the series “Al Masara” and “Afwan Habebaty” with the Egyptian director Nadia Hamza; the series “The Arabs of London,” directed by Anwar Quadry in 2009; the series “Heykayat Almdandas,” directed by Ahmed Al Nahas; and many other works.

His intense passion for fine arts inspired him to remain focused reading arts musically, and study the effect of music on the artist where he made lots of experimentation that actually brought him to an opportunity to perform the opening ceremony of the exhibition Contemporary Iraqi Art, Arts Palace, Opera House in Egypt, that showcase the work of 10 Iraqi sculptors. Those artists were: Shaker Hassan, Diaa al-Azzawi, Ala Bashir, Nuri al-Rawi, Saadi Al-Kaabi, Rafie Al Nasery, Ali Al Jabri, Mohammed Mahd El Din, Ali Taleb, and Salim al-Dabbagh. In addition to the guest of the show, is the late Iraqi artist Layla Attar who died in 1993 after a U.S. missile hit to their home in Baghdad. She served as the director of the National Museum in Baghdad. Also, there were held on the sidelines of the exhibition seminars and cultural programs to show full support for Iraq during the period of the siege.

Naseer has founded several bands including “Sodasy Al Anamel Azahabeya,” one of Iraq’s finest instrumentalists, in 1984; “Al Bayareq” in 1986. Eyes set of the Arabic music chamber in Cairo in 1999; “Orchestra Al Sharq” with a group of 70 music players from all over the East in 2008; and Arab Oud House Group, consisting of 30 multiple sized Oud players. They have performed various concerts in the world like Mawazeen Festival in Rabat in 2006. Some were in Paris, Cairo, Carthage Festival 2007, and the Baalbek Festival 2010 and other various cities in 2008.

Naseer Shamma has come across with several foreign artists in the context of East-West dialogue, from which he has experimented modern musical collaboration with Italian Lute player Franco Vobas years 1995 and2003; world guitarist Enrico de Whittled and flamenco singer Khozoah Mneza with a group of Latin percussion instruments in 1997; Pakistani artist Ashraf Khan on sitar in 1999; Edward Paniagua and David Mayoral rhythm in 2004; guitarist Carlos Penina in 2008; Jazz legend Wynton Marsalis in 2010; and Sharaf Khan and Shahbaz Hussain at a ceremony in Spain in 2011.

In addition, he has also conducted a musical interview with Ansgar Krause on guitar in the German festival in Egypt in 2003.

In terms of his passion in writing, Nasser has published his first disc entitled “Eastern Love Story” from France from which World Institute issued another edition of the disc and has produced several editions by the Arab World Institute in Paris entitled “Oud From Baghdad” in 1994, followed by his second disc entitled “Sunshine” from Italy by Foundation in 1996. As a multi-talented artist, Naseer has made a disc based on experiencing the last moments of the life of Hallaj which he called “Before I Get Crucified,” that was reprinted in Tunisia in 1997.

Furthermore, Naseer Shamma has established the specifications needed by a solo Oud player, in an ancient house in Fatimid Cairo “HrawiHouse” from which he actually runs The Arabic Oud House, a school in Cairo.  He organized The Arabic House of Oud branches, which were inaugurated in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates in 2007, in Constantine, Algeria, and in the library of Alexandria in 2011.

Most importantly, Naseer has contributed and impacted the continuous performances all over the Arab world that gives interest in direct institution by flowers that deal with the treatment and education of Iraqi children in Iraq internationally further to his interest in humanitarian and national issues throughout the Arab world immeasurably to include humanitarian issues in the world and most recently preparing for a tour to help the Somali people to resist the drought which hit their homes in cooperation with the United Nations.



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