The Ud Festival opens with a programme focusing on Baghdad, where the ud has enjoyed a long tradition. This is the city where both Ziryab in the 9th century and Munir Bashir in the 20th learned to refine the sound of the ud.And it is a city with a turbulent history: a glory time under the rule of the Abbasids; the destructive invasion of the Mongols in the 13th century, and the recent bloody war.
The opening night consists of two parts. The first is dedicated to the city itself, with the successful documentary theatre production Baghdad, about life in the metropolis – with both beautiful and painful memories. The second part is an ud concert, and constitutes an ode to the city of Ziryab and Bashir, musicianswho managed to conquer the world with their supremely subtle compositions. The concert features Latif Obaidi, who, together with his ensemble, focuses on the rich and complex Iraqi maqamtradition. Obaidi has composed new pieces especially for the festival, which he will present together with Jamil Al Asadi, his ‘soul mate’ on the qanun, and accompanied by a spectacular rhythmic display on the riq and darbuka.