DuOud – The Ectatic Arabic lute
The oud is a noble, invaluable instrument. It is the foundational instrument of the Arabic music culture and is played along with ancient Bedouin poetry. It is also the instrument on the basis of which the entire theorization of Arabic music has developed. A symbol of transmission of a thousand years’ old musical heritage, its presence is found as much in the Persian Gulf, that is, Cairo or Baghdad, as in the lanes of the medina of Algiers where the “chaabi” music was born.
Today, with the impetus of a new trance and given the creativity of the two musicians of Maghrebian origin, the oud is reinventing the history of music in an ecstatic jubilation, which, starting from the great musical revolution prompted by Jimi Hendrix’ guitar leads us to the advent of Electro music.
DuOud, or the duo of Tunisian Smadj and Algerian Mehdi Haddab who was already acclaimed with the bands Ekova and Speed Caravan, gets together around this primary instrument of oriental music and just a simple computer. Blending their North African heritage with the latest Western technology, the pair builds a musical cycle that looks to their African roots while absorbing and morphing contemporary music styles – break beats, jazz grooves and metal guitar. In fact, Smadj and Mehdi Haddab are also children of the Parisian musical turmoil of the 90’s.
DuOud is the first band to mix the North African lute with electronic skills. They do it with such imaginative freedom that sets them apart from their contemporaries. Between attachment to tradition and the will to use oud as an instrument of today, they enrich it with amplified tones and develop it into an electronic universe. They are respectfully insolent to tradition, alternating classical tunes and personal compositions, the warmth of the acoustic instrument and electronic saturation contributing to create the contemporary popular oud. With a transgressive sensual approach, they integrally merge with their instrument, wrap it, cherish it and set fire to it through distortion effects. According to them, it is a matter of giving a different exposure to the oud and creating an innovative repertoire guided by instincts and artistic requirement.
Their common passion for the oud was born against the vast classical Andalusian repertoire, which is as enchanting as the popular songs of Maghreb. It is very much this rich musical path, this encyclopaedic knowledge of oud’s fields that allows them to combine oud’s classical vibration and the rhythmical rigor of electronic music in a subtle manner.