MUNIR BASHIR  ( 1930 | 1997 )

Munir Bashir descends from a line of Iraqi family musicians. Born in Mosul, he studied for six years at the Insitute of Arabian Music where he was a pupil of Al-Sharif Muhyiddin. For decades Munir Bashir has enthralled his Arab audiences with his incredible dexterity and sublime ability to modulates from one mode to another at will. In addition to being a virtuoso soloist, Bashir was an acclaimed musicologist.In the Arab world he remains regarded a supreme master of his instrument, the oud, and a leading representative of the musical tradition characterized by the Maqam. His Maqam renderings are deep meditations in which philosophizes on the oud, thus giving expression to his mysticism, “There is music of the heart and there is a music of the head, and then there is a music of the intellect which is above such dualities.” The art of Munir Bashir the music of this hikmat or wisdom.
The music that Munir Bashir creates spring from the authentic traditions  of Arabian music. Adhering to the framework of the true musical form, he shapes the modal structure of the Maqam and renders a highly charged emotional atmosphere, which is felt equally by Arab and non-Arab audiences alike.
In his concerts, he was always performs the traditional music from the “ Taqsim”, which is the instrumental rendition of the Maqam.The long rests that punctuate his Maqam renditions represent some of the most exciting moments. During this silence one feels that Bashir seems to draw out the origins of human time.
Anyone who has listened to Munir Bashir will agree with the critics who continue to him the messenger of the traditional style, innovator of classical Arabian music, master, artist and King of the oud.
The Oud that he used was made according to his instructions in 1957 by Fadil Awad in Baghdad. Much like the traditional instrument with five double strings but with an added sixth bass string placed above the highest string. The addition of the bass string was an invention of Bashir’s in the early 1950s.
Another innovation of his was in the redesigning of the façade of the oud. Traditionally, the face of the instrument was embellished and carved. His design replaced the old style with two symmetrical oval openings just below the main one. This contribution greatly improved the acoustic quality.