Rawhi Al-Khammash
روحي الخماش


Rawhi Al-Khammash was born in 1923 in the city of Nablus, Palestine. He became interested in music at an early age, and enjoyed singing at school, but it was not until his father bought him a small oud that he began to pursue it seriously. A relative, Ahmad Abdel Wahed Al-Khammash, who had studied music in Turkey, guided his oud studies and by the time he finished elementary school his musical abilities were already well known throughout the city. In 1932 he performed at the Arabic Gallery in Jerusalem, where the famous Egyptian violinist Sami Al-Shawa heard him and encouraged him to pursue his musical studies further. He moved to Cairo to study at the Fouad Institute for Arabic Music, and after graduating in 1939 he returned to Jerusalem to take up the position of director of the modern music group at Palestine Radio. A decade later he moved to Iraq, where in 1953 he joined the teaching staff at the Music Institute in Baghdad. He also became a prolific composer of vocal music, especially muwashahhat based on Arabic poems and religious hymns known as ibtihalat, some of which are still used regularly on Iraqi television and radio. Rawhi Al-Khammash passed away in Baghdad in 1998.


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