Traditional Emirati musical culture is being championed at Bait Al Oud, a school that offers courses in several stringed instruments essential to the heritage of the region, including the qanun, rababa, cello and oud. Arabic for “from wood”, the oud is one of the world’s oldest instruments, with roots in Mesopotamia. Amr Fawzi, pictured top right, is the master craftsman at the centre’s workshop, where ouds are built and repaired according to strict specifications.
Photographer Chris Whiteoak of The National visited Fawzi and his assistant Ahmed Anwer, at work, to see first-hand how the instruments are made using specially selected cedar wood and rosewood, hand-carved to give the strings the proper tension required to give the musicians accuracy in tuning, not to mention the distinct beauty you see and hear.
Tours of the building include an introduction on the space, a musical performance and a visit to the workshop. They run 1pm to 3pm on Sundays and Tuesdays; 5pm and 7pm on Mondays and Wednesdays, from Dh50 per person; free for children aged 8 to 15, Bait Al Oud, Al Malqatah Street, Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi, 02 641 5699, www.abudhabimusic.ae