Oud of this World

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.      – Voltaire

So technically when the nice man in white started playing his fiddle type ding-a-ling instrument I didn’t really know what he was saying. And I don’t speak Arabic so I can’t really “disagree” with anything that was happening on that round desert stage,  even still… he made me quite uncomfortable… but I will reluctantly defend his right to do so.

Oud and Food

With his high-pitched chants and his low-pitched moans, I’m pretty sure he was trying to bewitch me into giving him my Emirati Dirhams (i.e. cash).  And at one Cat Oudpoint I do believe I heard him say “Show Me The Money!” Just sayin’ is all. But otherthan the attempted swindling, the show that went with our meal was quite delightful. I especially like the children’s crying portion and the random feral cat that adorned the bottom of our musician’s Kandurah (i.e. traditional full body men’s robe).  And man oh man, when that little boy from China started belly dancing to the Oudist’s rhythmic music… Wow!

Belly DancerOk, some would say he was just lifting his shirt and playing with his belly button but I saw his eyes, he knew what he was doing. But back to the Oudist, or so I will continue to call them seeing as how I cannot find any replacement name for Oud player on the internet. The Oud, according to Farabi – a renowned Arabic philosopher and scientist of the Islamic Golden Age – was invented by Lamech, the sixth grandson Oudof Adam. The legend tells that the grieving Lamech hung the body of his dead son from a tree; the first Oud was inspired by the shape of his son’s bleached skeleton.

Much like this tale, the instrument’s lull and flow were like none I’d ever heard before. And combined with the artist’s voice, they created a soothing and melodious sound to complement my full stomach. While I did not get a chance to speak with the musician before he disappeared off the stage in a whirl of sand and smoke, I do reckon he is most likely perfecting his craft and practicing his art in a nearby desert Oudist colony. If only I could but spend a day there.