Naseer Shamma, From Baghdad to Sevilla

Portrait of the great Iraki lute player

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Naseer Shamma — Lutenist

Program notes

Layth Abdulamir and Francis Lapeyre present us a beautiful documentary about lutenist Naseer Shamma.

Naseer Shamma is one of today's most celebrated Iraqi lutenists. In this short documentary, Shamma describes the origins of his musical passions, and then retells the mythic and sensual story of the first Eastern lutes in words and music. A traditionalist who is proud of the lute's prestigious identity as the ancestor of instruments like the balaïka, bouzouki, and even the guitar, he is continually searching for originality and modernity:"for me, the lute became an instrument of reflection." In this film, Naseer Shamma performs six excerpts in series of delightful musical interludes that bring his storytelling to life and demonstrate his mastery of his instrument.

The documentary also explores Shamma's work and music through the paintings of another Iraqi artist, Faisal Laibi Sahi.

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