Naseer Shamma was born in
1963 in Kut, a village on the Tigris River in Iraq. He began studying the
oud at the age of 12 in Baghdad, following in the footsteps of Jamil and
Munir Bachir. When he was 11, Shamma saw the oud for the first time, in
the hands of a stylish music teacher.
Although Shamma's father, a
shop owner, was religiously conservative, he did not object to his son's
artistic ambitions. In 1985, Shamma played his own compositions at his
first concert, attended by several renowned Iraqi artists. At the time, he
worked closely with "the emir of the oud," the late Iraqi master Munir Bashir. But Shamma wanted to blaze his own path.
Master Munir invented the
technique of contemplation with oud, but I wanted my music to carry
content, an idea or image that is shocking.
He received his diploma from the Baghdad Academy of Music in
1987. He began to teach oud after three years at the academy, as well
as continuing his own studies. Shamma has composed music for films, plays
and television, and has written a unique oud method for one hand - this is
designed at for children injured during the Gulf War. Between 1993 and
1998 he taught oud the Higher Institute of Music in Tunisia, and
in 1999 he took the post of Director of the Arab Centre for the Oud in
His compositions are
He performs on the oud in a
manner which combines ancient methods with his own modern compositions.
He has constructed an eight-string oud following the manuscript of the 9th
century music theorist al-Farabi. This new design (8 instead of 6 strings)
expanded the musical range of the oud and gave it a distinct tonality.
He also has a website