Naseer Shamma

© Salah Ibrahim

Naseer Shamma was born in Kut on the banks of the Tigris in 1963. He began studying the oud at the age of twelve. In 1987 he gained his Diploma from the Baghdad Academy of Music, where he studied with some of the best Iraqi lutenists: Ali al-Imâm, Salim Abd al-Karîm and Rûhî al-Khammash. Thanks to their teaching he developed a remarkable technique, became extremely accurate in his playing, and this, coupled with his extreme sensitivity, all combined to give a personal touch to the traditional maqâm style. After three years of study at the Academy, he took up teachingthe oud there, but carried on his own studies at the same time.

Since 1985 Naseer Shamma has been making a name for himself as a soloist with an original style that sets him apart from other Iraqi and Arab lute-players. This is no mean feat, given the enormous number of lutenists to be found in the Arab world, from Iraq right through to Morocco; and even more of a feat for a compatriot of the world-famous Munir Bashir. 

Naseer Shamma is now an internationally recognised artist and gives concerts and recitals throughout the Arab world, as well as in Europe and the United States. 

Naseer Shamma has composed about thirty pieces for the oud, as well as film music and background music for stage plays and television series. He is also the author of an oud method for one hand, designed for children mutilated during the war. From 1993 to 1998 he taught the oud at the Higher Institute of Music in Tunis. He has seen one of his biggest projects come to fruition with the opening of an Arab Centre for the oud in Cairo, where he was offered the post of director in early 1999. He then created a second formation centre in Abu Dhabi where it is also possible to studies other musical instruments. This centre is pellicular because, thanks to Naseer Shamma, the luther recreates musicals instruments from ancient Arabic manuscripts. Since then, two other centres have been created in Alexandria (Egypt) and Baghdad. 

Naseer Shamma is now living in Berlin and keep promoting Arab music and poetry. He’s also an UNESCO and Red Cross ambassador. 

Available album : The Bahdad Lute