Mohamed Abdel Wahab (Cairo, 1903- 1991) was the godfather of the Arabic lyric. He wrote more than 1,800 songs and his work formed the basis of the transition from traditional Arabic musical forms to the modern Arabic sound. Abdel Wahab was inspired by Western classical music and pop to evolve a contemporary sound on the ud. He wrote music for such other legends as Oum Kalthoum. Between the 1930s and 1950s, he was renowned for his singing and acting talent, and was an icon of the silver screen. After the 1950s, Abdel Wahab went through life mostly as a composer, ud player and singer, leaving behind an amazing repertoire, which millions of faithful fans still listen to today: from Casablanca to Cairo, and from Alexandria to Baghdad.
The second edition of the Ud Festival offers a platform for the unique interplay between the ud and vocals. Mohamed Abdel Wahab was an exponent of this age-old tradition of Arabic song accompanied on the ud. For this concert, the Ud Festival has asked the singer and ud player Moulay Ahmed to put together a Mohamed Abdel Wahab program. It was through Abdel Wahab that Ahmed learned to sing and play the ud: he grew up in Morocco, where Abdel Wahab’s compositions were studied in detail at the conservatories, and where his classics were played in music cafés. Ahmed has invited the Amsterdams Andalusisch Orkest and top Arabic musicians from the Netherlands and Belgium to perform in this tribute to his musical godfather.