Ahmed Mukhtar
أحمد مختار


Ahmed Mukhtar was born in Baghdad, Iraq. He was inspired to learn the oud by the music of Jamil Bashir, and it was Ahmed's younger brother and his neighbour who gave him his first lessons. At the age of fourteen he enrolled at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, where he was tutored by Ghanim Haddad. It was Haddad who persuaded him to pursue a career in music, which is what he did until he was called up for military service. Rather than join the army, Ahmed decided to leave Iraq, and in 1990 he crossed the border into Iran only to end up in prison. After his eventual release he headed to Syria, where he continued his musical career, until a thawing of relations between Syria and Iraq forced him to move on again. In 1998 he headed to the UK, where he claimed asylum and eventually received British citizenship. He has taught Arab music in his adopted home ever since, leading regular workshops at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London, where he obtained a Master's degree in music performance, as well as giving private oud lessons. He also performs regularly throughout Europe and the Middle East, and has received numerous awards for his music. He also presents his own educational music program, 'Speech of the Oud', on the London-based Al-Mustakillah TV channel. Ahmed Mukhtar plays an oud built by Fawzi Monshed of Basra, Iraq.

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Selected Recordings

Words From Eden
(Peoplesound ART 1850-CD01)

This CD presents a selection of Ahmed's compositions and taqasim in his unique style, which reflects Iraqi and Syrian influences amongst others.

1. Maqam Hijaz 12:34
2. Words 5:03
3. Maqam Penjgah 16:04
4. Nuroose 9:56
5. Beginning of Love 6:36
6. Maqam Awj 11:37
7. Elegy to Anakhil 10:43

Live: Recital on Oud

Ahmed's second CD is a live recording of a concert at Rudolph Steiner House, London in 1997.

1. Maqam Oriental Rast 6:06
2. Song - Variation 2:16
3. Dayhat 6:41
4. Maqam Hijaz Madmi 8:54
5. Maqam Asheran 9:24
6. Arabian Dance 5:36
7. Maqam Lami 8:38
8. Hewar 3:21
9. Maqam Awshar 7:40
10. Atar 10:29

Rhythms of Baghdad
(ARC Music EUCD 1781)

This recording includes a selection of traditional Iraqi melodies and rhythms and also features percussionist Sattar al-Saadi. Instruments used include dombak, riqq, khishba and tar.

1. Souq Baghdadi 6:06
2. Mantasf al Lil 6:23
3. Raqsat al Bedoi 5:25
4. Raqsat al Shara 5:35
5. Khashabah 3:18
6. Espania 4:01
7. Baghdad al Kadima 3:51
8. Raqsat al Janoub 5:41
9. Nada'a al Bahr 10:52
10. Horse Dance (tabla solo) 4:02
11. Fingers and Sambales (riqq solo) 2:57
12. Kasor (khishba solo) 1:58
13. Sufi Rhythm (tar solo) 3:37

The Road to Baghdad
(ARC Music EUCD 1937)

On this CD, Ahmed teams up with Alaa Majeed on nay, Shaker Hassan on percussion, oud and keyboards, Hassan Falih on qanun and Waseem Faris on joza to present a series of his compositions and arrangements based on various maqamat and traditional rhythms.

1. The Two Rivers 3:31
2. Childhood 3:10
3. Iraqi Café 5:15
4. The Road to Baghdad 3:07
5. Sufi Moments 6:54
6. Dance of War 6:03
7. After the War 3:48
8. Sama'i Baghdadi 5:28
9. Doulab Mukhtar 4:35
10. Motherly 2:59
11. Iraqi Kurdish Dance 4:05
12. Arab Marshes 2:24
13. Horizon 2:05
14. Segah 3:59
15. Moments in the Mosque 1:57
16. Taqsim Joza 2:06

Babylonian Fingers
(ARC Music EUCD 2571)

A mixture of traditional and contemporary oud music featuring Eastern and Western instruments including qanun, saxophone, clarinet, violin, cello, double bass and percussion.

1. Iraqi Jazz 4:43
2. Illuminations 6:06
3. Sama'ai Hijaz 4:27
4. Babylonian Fingers 5:38
5. Iraqi Gypsy Song 5:41
6. Alleys of the Old City 5:55
7. Blues of the Oud 6:08
8. Shahrazad Darej Sama'ai 3:30
9. Minaret 6:04
10. Seagull 2:33
11. Nowruz 6:37
12. Traditional Iraqi Love Song 3:38


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