5th
edition
25 October —
1 December

UD Festival

The Fifth edition of UD Festival will take place between 25st of October and 1st of December. A festival entirely dedicated to the instrument that forms the musical bridge between east and west. The ud once made a long journey from Baghdad to Andalusia, and formed the base of a musical revolution in the West.


Why the Ud? Rich in tone and versatile in its possibilities, the ud (also spelled oud) has influenced musical traditions around the globe, and is the perfect catalyst for conversation, cooperation and experiment between musicians across cultures today. 

line-up

The Ud Festival launches its fifth edition in 2024. The theme of this edition is The Discovery. The stories of three medieval explorers Ziryâb, Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta serve as a metaphor to capture the miraculous journey and development of the ud in a wide musical repertoire.Dutch and international musicians come together in the Netherlands with a variety of ensembles and orchestras.

datum en tijd
locatie
artiest
10
/
8
16:00
u
Muziekgebouw aan het IJ Amsterdam

Preview UD Festival - NO Blues Arabicana

If you look up the word ‘arabicana’ you find a music genre and its inventors; NO blues. They called their unique mix of Americana (folk, blues and country) and Arabic music; ‘Arabicana’. Even after ten years the band that combines Oriental roots music and American folk blues is still unique in the world. What started as experiment became a full blown musical genre.

NO blues bridges the gap between east and west and changes the Nile and the Mississippi in one meandering musical delta. Even though the band has been together for ten years, there sound is always direct and fresh. Oud player Haytham Safia: “We go back to the core of guitar, oud, double bass and percussion.” NO blues chooses to use current events as topics for their songs. Songs like Exodus and The World Keeps Turning refer to people that seek refuge and Two Trains and Gods Move refer to religious themes.

The bass player Anne-Maarten van Heuvelen says “NO blues has always been a political statement in music, we had to follow that up with our lyrics.” Guitarist Ad van Meurs: ”We’ve never been a political band, but we definitely don’t look the other way either.”

Credits

Haytham Safia - U'd & zang

Anne-Maarten van Heuvelen - Contrabas & zang

Osama Meleegi - Percussie en zang

Janos Keulen - Gitaar & zang

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14
/
9
14:00
u
Erasmuspark Amsterdam

Preview UD Festival 2024

*More information coming soon

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25
/
10
20:00
u
Nieuwe kerk Den Haag

Noor Nizar Rohana, Amsterdams Andalusisch Orkest, Tony Overwater & Friends

Noor

During Noor you will enjoy musicians from Iran, Turkey, Palestine, and Morocco in collaboration with Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra, Tony Overwater and Nizar Rohana. Each musician contributes with their own compositions, in which improvisation plays an important role. This results in a rich mix of musical influences, while preserving the unique background of each musician.

For the UD festival 2024, Palestinian oud player Nizar Rohana and bassist Tony Overwater have once again selected a number of exceptional musicians, including Iranian tar player Khorshid Dadbeh, Turkish kemençe player Emine Bostancı, and Moroccan qanun player Ahmed al Maai.

Narrator Sahand Sahebdivani creates a connection with his stories by placing the music in a theatrical context. 

The Journey of the Oud

The oud has traveled a long journey. Originally from Mesopotamia 5000 years ago, this instrument has spread all over the world and remains central in Arabic music. Just as every musician in Europe plays a bit of guitar or piano, in the countries south of the Mediterranean, people play the oud. In the Middle Ages, the oud was the instrument from which both the lute and the guitar originated, later taking a central place in Western music.

The Noor Ensemble, an initiative of the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra and the Tonality Foundation, brings together musicians from Iran, Turkey, Palestine, and Morocco.

buy tickets
1
/
11
19:30
u
Meervaart Amsterdam

Jawa Manla

“Sometimes you can’t go home”

Jawa Manla will porform music from her newest album 'Distant Roots'. This album explores the profound emotions linked to the impossibility of returning home, resonating with a profound longing for familiar landscapes and the cherished memories of her upbringing.

Rooted in the power and beauty of Arabic poetry, the album explores various emotions and reflects on Jawa's musical journey. Starting in Damascus, it moves through Cairo, Istanbul, Greece, and finally finds a home in Amsterdam. 'Distant Roots' is a sonic journey. It connects her displaced roots to her current home. Through music, she connects her past and present, explores nostalgia and loss, and embraces her evolving identity.

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1
/
11
21:00
u
Meervaart Amsterdam

Ghalia Benali

The New York Times called her the "creator of her own myths" and listed her as one of the top ten stage acts of 2013. A decade later, Belgian-Tunisian singer Ghalia Benali continues to mesmerize audiences on stage.Come and experience the magic of the woman known as the "Aretha Franklin of Carthage." She has a diverse artistic portfolio with twelve albums, various collaborations, five films, an Egyptian TV series, a book, and paintings. In her band, the oud is played by Moufadel Adhoum. Expect a special concert featuring poetry, Sufi influences, and classics by Oum Kalthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez.

buy tickets
2
/
11
19:00
u
Meervaart Amsterdam

Night of Arabic Literature

UD Festival and El Hizjra join forces during the 'Night of Arabic Literature'. The literary-musical program full of stories, musical interludes and lectures is about the power of the mystical poetic forms from Al Andalus, Maghreb, Egypt and the Levant.

Who were these leading poets? How would they look at complex issues in our time? Which musical emotion matches the poetic form? The Andalusian scholar Ibn Arabi (1165-1240) and Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi (1207-1273) serve as inspiration for the rich poetry in the heyday of Arabic literature.

Author Willem Bruls gives a lecture and searches for traces of these masters. He examines the influence of poetry on a city like Aleppo, where various layers of repertoires and traditions come together and music plays a prominent role in daily life.

Talented makers continue Bruls' story by creating a literary-musical voyage, with new interpretations of poets such as Rumi and Ibn Arabi. The guidance on the ud leads to a symbiosis where words, colors and music hang above the power of language.

The evening ends with a literary prize for the most talented writer.

buy tickets
2
/
11
20:00
u
Meervaart Amsterdam

Noor Nizar Rohana, Amsterdams Andalusisch Orkest, Tony Overwater & Friends

Noor

During Noor you will enjoy musicians from Iran, Turkey, Palestine, and Morocco in collaboration with Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra, Tony Overwater and Nizar Rohana. Each musician contributes with their own compositions, in which improvisation plays an important role. This results in a rich mix of musical influences, while preserving the unique background of each musician.

For the UD festival 2024, Palestinian oud player Nizar Rohana and bassist Tony Overwater have once again selected a number of exceptional musicians, including Iranian tar player Khorshid Dadbeh, Turkish kemençe player Emine Bostancı, and Moroccan qanun player Ahmed al Maai.

Narrator Sahand Sahebdivani creates a connection with his stories by placing the music in a theatrical context. 

The Journey of the Oud

The oud has traveled a long journey. Originally from Mesopotamia 5000 years ago, this instrument has spread all over the world and remains central in Arabic music. Just as every musician in Europe plays a bit of guitar or piano, in the countries south of the Mediterranean, people play the oud. In the Middle Ages, the oud was the instrument from which both the lute and the guitar originated, later taking a central place in Western music.

The Noor Ensemble, an initiative of the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra and the Tonality Foundation, brings together musicians from Iran, Turkey, Palestine, and Morocco.

buy tickets
3
/
11
20:00
u
De Regentes Den Haag

Ghalia Benali

The New York Times called her the "creator of her own myths" and listed her as one of the top ten stage acts of 2013. A decade later, Belgian-Tunisian singer Ghalia Benali continues to mesmerize audiences on stage.Come and experience the magic of the woman known as the "Aretha Franklin of Carthage." She has a diverse artistic portfolio with twelve albums, various collaborations, five films, an Egyptian TV series, a book, and paintings. In her band, the oud is played by Moufadel Adhoum. Expect a special concert featuring poetry, Sufi influences, and classics by Oum Kalthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez.

buy tickets
9
/
11
20:00
u
De Regentes Den Haag

Jawa Manla

“Sometimes you can’t go home”

Jawa Manla will porform music from her newest album 'Distant Roots'. This album explores the profound emotions linked to the impossibility of returning home, resonating with a profound longing for familiar landscapes and the cherished memories of her upbringing.

Rooted in the power and beauty of Arabic poetry, the album explores various emotions and reflects on Jawa's musical journey. Starting in Damascus, it moves through Cairo, Istanbul, Greece, and finally finds a home in Amsterdam. 'Distant Roots' is a sonic journey. It connects her displaced roots to her current home. Through music, she connects her past and present, explores nostalgia and loss, and embraces her evolving identity.

buy tickets
9
/
11
20:15
u
Concertgebouw Amsterdam

Ahmed El Maai & Musicians of the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra

Travel to the roots of the ud. From the flourishing period of Moorish Granada to the mystical colors of 'muwashahat' from the Levant. Ahmed El Maai, a multi-talented artist on ud, qanun, viola, and vocals, has reworked various classics during his journey with special attention to the ud as a central connector. He pays tribute to these classics that have shaped him as a person and artist in Tangier, Brussels and Amsterdam.

From the folk sounds of the Maghreb to the spiritual tones of his great inspiration Oum Kalthoum. He summarizes it as follows: "My music must sound warm and stay close to the source. The album 'El Maai' is a personal portrait." For this concert, he has selected musicians from the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra, who add a special touch to these warm sound colors. Ahmed El Maai has won the hearts of many artists and audiences in the Netherlands with his enchanting performance. He has previously shared the stage with the Metropole Orchestra, Cappella Amsterdam, Estrella Morente and Sami Yusuf.

Ahmed El Maai
Ahmed El Maai is a multi-talented artist on ud, qanun, viola, and vocals. He is one of the most talented musicians from Morocco. Ahmed El Maai's love for Andalusian music began at the conservatory in Tangier. Since 2005, he has been combining Andalusian music with other styles. During this concert, he presents his new album, taking his audience on a journey to the roots of the ud. On the album, he has reworked various classics, giving special attention to the ud as a central connector. He pays homage to these classics that have shaped him as a person and artist in Tangier, Brussels, and Amsterdam: from the folk sounds of the Maghreb to the spiritual tones of his great inspiration, Oum Kalthoum.

Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra
Ahmed El Maai says: "My music must sound warm and stay close to the source. The album El Maai is a personal portrait." For this concert, he has selected musicians from the Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra, who add a special touch to these warm sound colors. The Amsterdam Andalusian Orchestra was founded in 2011 to connect the Andalusian heritage in arts and culture with the present. The ensemble brings the music back to Europe, combining it with stories, poems, and theater. The orchestra is composed of musicians from both the Netherlands and abroad. Over the years, it has collaborated with renowned musicians from various genres, including Arabic music, jazz, and flamenco.

buy tickets
16
/
11
20:00
u
November Music ’s-Hertogenbosch

Driss El Maloumi Trio & Watar Quintet

Driss El Maloumi, also known as the 'wizard of the oud' for his pure and delicate playing, was captivated by orchestras in movies and the enchanting sounds of violins and harmonies since childhood. He had long considered collaborating with a chamber orchestra, and after two years of preparation, his dream came true with the Tafassil project. This project blends the strings and percussion of his trio perfectly with the classical string instruments of the Watar Quintet.

While composing for Tafassil, Driss drew inspiration from daily life, observing moments like the sunrise, people beginning their day, parents accompanying their children to school, and the rich scents and colors of everyday life. He also saw how these seemingly ordinary moments relate to the world.

Originally from Agadir, Morocco, Driss El Maloumi has worked with various ensembles and musicians, including Jordi Savall, Debashish Bhattacharya, and Montserrat Figueras. He has also composed music for theater and film. Driss performs alongside two percussionists, his younger brother Saïd El Maloumi, and Lahoucine Baqir.

Driss El Maloumi oed/zang, Saïd El Maloumi daf/zarb/oudou/cajon, Lahoucine Baqir daf/darbouka/req, castagnetten/zang, Amèle Metlini viool, Silvia Bazantova viool, Marie Ghitta altviool, Annemie Osborne cello, Adrien Tyberghein contrabas

*UD Festival i.s.m. November Music

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17
/
11
14:30
u
Bimhuis Amsterdam

Driss El Maloumi Trio & Watar Quintet

Driss El Maloumi, also known as the 'wizard of the oud' for his pure and delicate playing, was captivated by orchestras in movies and the enchanting sounds of violins and harmonies since childhood. He had long considered collaborating with a chamber orchestra, and after two years of preparation, his dream came true with the Tafassil project. This project blends the strings and percussion of his trio perfectly with the classical string instruments of the Watar Quintet.

While composing for Tafassil, Driss drew inspiration from daily life, observing moments like the sunrise, people beginning their day, parents accompanying their children to school, and the rich scents and colors of everyday life. He also saw how these seemingly ordinary moments relate to the world.

Originally from Agadir, Morocco, Driss El Maloumi has worked with various ensembles and musicians, including Jordi Savall, Debashish Bhattacharya, and Montserrat Figueras. He has also composed music for theater and film. Driss performs alongside two percussionists, his younger brother Saïd El Maloumi, and Lahoucine Baqir.

Driss El Maloumi oed/zang, Saïd El Maloumi daf/zarb/oudou/cajon, Lahoucine Baqir daf/darbouka/req, castagnetten/zang, Amèle Metlini viool, Silvia Bazantova viool, Marie Ghitta altviool, Annemie Osborne cello, Adrien Tyberghein contrabas

buy tickets
17
/
11
20:00
u
Tivoli Vredenburg Utrecht

Ghalia Benali

The New York Times called her the "creator of her own myths" and listed her as one of the top ten stage acts of 2013. A decade later, Belgian-Tunisian singer Ghalia Benali continues to mesmerize audiences on stage.Come and experience the magic of the woman known as the "Aretha Franklin of Carthage." She has a diverse artistic portfolio with twelve albums, various collaborations, five films, an Egyptian TV series, a book, and paintings. In her band, the oud is played by Moufadel Adhoum. Expect a special concert featuring poetry, Sufi influences, and classics by Oum Kalthoum and Abdel Halim Hafez.

buy tickets
30
/
11
20:00
u
Bimhuis Amsterdam

Nazih Borish

The authentic oud meets jazz, flamenco, and Indian music.

The music journey of Nazih Borish, music composer and oud player born in Lattakia, Syria, started at a very young age. From the age of five, he began learning to play the oud by himself. At the age of thirteen, he was already working as an oud player in popular music bands. A pretty marvelous start to his music career.

By introducing his own style, applying techniques to the oud for the first time, and combining musical sounds such as jazz, flamenco, and Indian music, an authentic Nazih Borish sound was born.

In 2000, he founded his own school to teach the oud in his hometown of Lattakia, Syria, and taught more than 100 students how to play this extraordinary instrument. In 2016, he moved to Montreal to pursue his musical mission and extend his musical family. In 2017, he began working at the Center of Musicians of the World in Montreal, where he continues to work to this day.

buy tickets
30
/
11
20:15
u
Tivoli Vredenburg Utrecht

En Chordais, Ensemble Constantinople + Kyriakos Kalaitzidis

The Musical Journeys of Marco Polo

Who wouldn't want to travel with Marco Polo, who left for China in 1271 and returned to Venice 24 years later? Listen to the music that explorers heard along the Silk Road. A very cosmopolitan mix: from the Mediterranean, the Middle East to the Far East. The international group, led by ud player Kyriakos Kalaitzidis, makes its Amsterdam debut!

The Canadian group Constantinople and the Thessaloniki-based En Chordais gained worldwide fame with their adventurous, cross-cultural approach to music. In this truly unique road movie, you will hear classical Chinese music, Persian court music, Mongolian melodies, Sufi sounds from the Pamir Mountains, Byzantine melos, and music from Venice. The origins of the musicians are just as colorful.

buy tickets
1
/
12
20:15
u
Muziekgebouw aan het IJ Amsterdam

En Chordais, Ensemble Constantinople + Kyriakos Kalaitzidis

The Musical Journeys of Marco Polo

Who wouldn't want to travel with Marco Polo, who left for China in 1271 and returned to Venice 24 years later? Listen to the music that explorers heard along the Silk Road. A very cosmopolitan mix: from the Mediterranean, the Middle East to the Far East. The international group, led by ud player Kyriakos Kalaitzidis, makes its Amsterdam debut!

The Canadian group Constantinople and the Thessaloniki-based En Chordais gained worldwide fame with their adventurous, cross-cultural approach to music. In this truly unique road movie, you will hear classical Chinese music, Persian court music, Mongolian melodies, Sufi sounds from the Pamir Mountains, Byzantine melos, and music from Venice. The origins of the musicians are just as colorful.

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expo: Beyond the Mare Magnum

‘Beyond the Mare Magnum’ reveals how the ud took on new musical forms and how its influence felt in different worlds, from Yemen to Persia and from Turkey to Al-Andalus. At times you can hear the soul of sub-Saharan Africa; at times the refinement of the Abbasid court. Different Dutch ud musicians take you on a journey to the various corners of the globe where the ud found anchor and left a profound imprint.

Click on the map to explore the different styles of UD players beyond the Mare Magnum
Hatim Idar during UD festival 2022
Jawa Manla during UD festival 2022

Explore ud masters around the world

Le Trio Joubran during UD festival 2022
Nizar Rohana during UD festival 2018  
25 October —
5 December