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Oud: Arabic Culture, Music and History

June 15, 2023 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm


Oud: Arabic Culture, Music and History | Thurs. June 15, 2023 | 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm EDT | In-person

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Join us for an evening of music, culture, and history with Arab American composer, vocalist, and oud player Laith Alattar. We’ll learn about the instrument itself and its role in Arabic culture and society historically as well as in modern times, especially how it is used today as a means for preserving and showcasing Arab and Middle Eastern heritage and culture. We’ll also discuss Arabic music and the similarities and differences to Western music, all while Laith performs various musical examples. Join us for this exciting musical voyage!

About Laith Alattar

Arab American composer, vocalist, and oud player LAiTH ALATTAR performs an eclectic assortment of traditional, folk, and contemporary Arabic and Middle Eastern music, incorporating it with elements of classical, jazz, and other Western and World musical traditions.

LAiTH grew up within a global music backdrop in Baghdad, at the crossroads of Iraqi, Egyptian, Levantine, and Ottoman music traditions, and later completed classical music training at the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre, and Dance’s Composition and Vocal Performance programs in Ann Arbor while also studying Arabic music and maqam theory under the apprenticeship of acclaimed master musicians Karim Bader, Simon Shaheen, and Rima Khcheich. LAiTH developed a unique sound and style that not only brings together the two music traditions but that also synthesizes the simplicity and nostalgia of folk music with the bold rudiments and audacity of classical and art music.

Leaning on his dual-career background in Social Psychology, Judgment & Decision Making, and Culture & Cognition, LAiTH is proactive in fostering cross-cultural musical collaborations and presenting music that brings people and communities together—including groundbreaking collaborations with Flamenco, Greek, Sephardic, Rock, Jazz, Gamelan, Indian, Chinese, and other musical styles. Laith also performs extensively with embassies and cultural centers in Washington, DC, and the East Coast to introduce and promote the oud and traditional Arabic music to new audiences and connect musical traditions and communities from different countries and regions of the world.

LAiTH also composes and records music for film and theater, with credits that include Refusing to be Enemies: The Zeitouna Story (Laurie White, 2007), Our Arab American Story (Keith Famie, 2007), The Sun Rises from There (Abed Senad), and Driving an Arab Street (Arthur Hurely, 2003), as well as a number of soundtracks for the Palestine Podcast Academy (2021) podcast series.

LAiTH is currently working on a broader initiative to review the relationship and influence of Arabic music and songs on cultural norms and social expectations, and to develop new, more socially responsible content that promotes values and experiences that align with productivity, inclusivity, and equality in a way that preserves the cultural value of the original music while also elevating the prospects of agency, confidence, and hope across different sectors of society. LAiTH premiered the first pilot song within this initiative at the World Expo Dubai last year and is working on adapting additional songs in 2023.

LAiTH is available for a variety of bookings from traditional oud performances and vocal recitals to educational seminars and workshops, as well as collaborative projects in music and film, and consulting related to the intersection of culture and policy.

This event is free to the public. The Museum for Art in Wood interprets, nurtures, and champions creative engagement and expansion of art, craft, and design in wood to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of it. A suggested donation of $5 per person enables us to provide programs and exhibitions throughout the year.


Questions? Please contact Katie Sorenson, Director of Outreach and Communications at [email protected].

The Mashrabiya Project has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage.


Special thanks go to:
Bresler Foundation
Rockler Tools for in-kind support

The exhibition program at the Museum is generously supported by members of the Cambium Giving Society of the Museum for Art in Wood, the Bresler Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Philadelphia Cultural Fund, William Penn Foundation, and Windgate Foundation.

Corporate support is provided by Boomerang, Inc., and Sun-Lite Corporation.


June 15, 2023
6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Museum for Art in Wood


Museum for Art in Wood
141 N 3rd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106 United States
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