Thursday, 7 June 2012

Chapter 120 He played the oud

As his fingers rippled across the strings, all watching were transported to a candle lit night wrapped in a balmy breeze.

The notes floated away, each tripping over the previous as it caught up with it.

He looked up from the instrument towards the door of his dirty little old city workshop, distant contentment in his eyes. The grind of life slid off their shoulders, defeated in the face of the peaceful strength of his music.

“I was working as a nurse in Saudi Arabia when I finally gave in to the desire to come back to my country and pursue this, what had always been a hobby and latent talent for me.”

A beautiful old oud, fallen into disuse and disrepair, was the start. “Nobody could fix it and I decided I would do it, one way or another. Over time, I learned all the tricks and secrets to making ouds.”

Now his ouds sell for up to 5000 shekels (approximately €1,000).

A good oud takes up to three months to make and the better the type of wood, the more expensive it will be. A slow, painstaking process of sanding, conditioning, shaping and tuning creates the instrument that produces such stunningly emotive music.

His hand slid over the curve of the rosewood oud. “They are like my children, I love all of them.”

Wood is sourced from woods such as ebony, mahogany and rosewood. They are first dried and cut into strips. The wood is then soaked and softened, it is cut into strips and placed on this heating mechanism to create the bend needed for the curved base of the oud

The skeleton the curved pieces of wood are placed upon to build the rounded base of the instrument

Making a base

A completed base, ready to removed from the skeleton and have a sound board attached

A oud with a sound board, yet to be strung

Ready for varnishing and finishing

Completed ouds

He plays - he forgets where he is

Ali Hassenin can be contacted via mobile on ‎00972599876567 or by email at


  1. Abu Wisaaaaaaaaaaaam, I Do remember when I was a child, his father Abu Ali passes by , brings his oud and singing one of Um Kalthooom's :)

  2. haha yes! Abu Wisam! He said his father was a great musician. As is he :)

  3. i am crazy about the oud.. there is festival in israel every year for the oud.. but my favourite experience was in wad rum..

    the link below should take you to my private collection of oud delicacies - it is so enchanting!!