Let the oud times roll

The Jerusalem International Oud Festival has grown into a two-week extravaganza of Middle Eastern music.

woman with oud 311 (photo credit: Courtesy of Sadat Mehader)
woman with oud 311
(photo credit: Courtesy of Sadat Mehader)
The 12th edition of the international Oud Festival, run by Confederation House in Jerusalem, will take place November 10-19. The program covers a wide range of genres and musical mindsets, and includes some of the biggest names from the global and local ethnic music industry, as well as top ethnically-inflected rock act Meir Banai.
Over the years the festival artistic director Effie Bnaya has endeavored to attract as wide a consumer base as possible by varying the strains of ethnic music available, and this year’s lineup adheres to that eclectic approach. One of the main draws in next month’s program is acclaimed Turkish singer and saz player Aynur Dogan – who goes by the stage name of Aynur. Over the last decade or so, Aynur has attracted media attention both for the quality of her artistic output, and for the political messages she conveys through her Kurdish roots.
Other major slots at the festival include a tribute to legendary Greek rebetiko singer Rosa Ashkenazi, with an all-star vocalist cast of Israeli singer Yasmin Levy, Martha Frintzilla from Greece and Mehtap Demir from Turkey backed by a nine-member instrumental ensemble from the three countries. The Black Eyebrows show also features an international cast, with Cretan lyra and lauta player Stelios Petrakis, Spanish multi-instrumentalist Efren Lopez and French percussionist Bijan Chemirani.
On the home front, kamancha and baglama player Mark Elyahu will front his new Musical Fantasy: Circles, alongside his father tar player Piris Elyahu, percussionist Erez Munk, pianist Omri Mor and vocalist Liat Zion, and Galilean singer Amal Murkus will present a program based on her latest release, Bghani.
Elsewhere, the Popular Duets in Arabic Classics show, with powerful singer Violet Salameh and members of the Tarshiha Orchestra, should draw fans of classical Arabic music, and singer Esti Kenan Ofri will team up with oud player Herzl Cohen, violinist-vocalist Elad Levy, double bass player Hagai Bilitzky and percussionist Gil Hameriri for her A Few Corrections show based on poems by Haviva Pedaya.
For more information: www.confederationhouse.org or (02) 624-5206.