Ramy Adly is a young master of the oud, the versatile lute-like instrument that shaped Arab classical music. Grounded in the main Arab classical styles thanks to rigorous training in his native Egypt, Adly has branched out repeatedly, incorporating jazz idioms and embracing conversations with other musicians around the world.
Adly has performed around the Middle East, Europe, and North America. He has composed music for theater and film, and gathered a large number of students around the world, via an innovative online curriculum for The School of Oud Online. His sensitive, robust playing has been heard from the Library at Alexandria to American cathedrals and schools.
Now based in Washington, DC, Adly continues to expand the possibilities of his instrument. “I want to bring the oud to the same level as the guitar culturally, the instrument that’s everywhere and can do everything,” he exclaims.
For Adly, the oud has always been like a member of the family. Nearly everyone in his family played the oud when he was growing up in Cairo, including uncles, siblings, and his beloved grandfather, who gave him his first introduction to the complex, evocative instrument. “I grew up listening to the oud,” he recalls.
Listening is one thing, and mastering the instrument another. Adly plunged into his study of this age-old instrument at the Arab Oud House, with Iraqi oud virtuoso Naseer Shamma. Adly found himself practicing for a dozen hours a day, and loving it. “It was a lot like the system Paganini established for his students,” Adly explains. “You have to go through the fire to be trained as a performer and composer. I graduated as both composer and soloist.”
Under Shamma’s direction, Adly played at major Cairo venues as part of small chamber groups and large orchestral ensembles. He performed at international oud conferences, book conventions, film festivals, and, notably, at the Library in Alexandria, where he became an Artist in Residence and gave numerous talks on the history of music (including one as part of a TEDx event at the Library).
The diverse venues and audiences speak to Adly’s ability to welcome listeners into his instrument’s complex world and reveal fresh sides of ancient music. His foundation: the varied musical approaches to the oud that sprang from different regions in the Middle East. “To really know the oud, you need to know its different styles. The Egyptian style is much slower, more dedicated to improvisation, to freer rhythms and more contemplative feelings,” Adly notes. “There specific maqams and microtones that are only used in Egypt. The Iraqi style is more dynamic, faster paced. There’s a lot more showmanship. It has a completely different feeling to it.”
Adly has full command of both, a broad vocabulary that has aided him in his exploration of the oud’s many facets. Adly has built a reputation as a skillful composer who can merge Arab and Western sensibilities seamlessly. He composed part of the score for David Cunningham’s upcoming feature film, Day of War. He created commissioned works for a Cairo production of a Llorca play, “Blood Wedding,” supported by the Spanish Embassy, and for a Florida congregation, collaborating with a large choir and pipe organist.
Whether arranging jazz pieces for an oud lead, or writing original music with global influences–a project he debuted at DC’s Kennedy Center, Adly remains devoted to his instrument and the music it makes. “Music is my destiny,” muses Adly. “it’s something that brings me my dreams.”
Visit the official website of Ramy Adly to follow his concerts: www.ramyadly.com
On Aug. 28, noted oud player Ramy Adly appeared on the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage in Washington, DC. The purpose of his performance was “to introduce the West to the oud” and to the beautiful sounds of this 4,000-year-old instrument. To showcase the oud for an American audience, Adly even performed a rendition of “Amazing Grace,” which while beautiful, felt slightly forced. He excelled most in musical styles for which the oud is most known, but the range of styles he was able to showcase can be viewed as an invitation to incorporate the oud into genres that may overlook the versatility of this ancient stringed instrument.
This year’s event was attended by 600 guests, represented officials from the World Bank, Congress, U.S. Department of State, diplomats and Arab-American communities and organizations. While enjoying Egyptian oud player and composer Ramy Adly and international Syrian Opera singer Lubana Al Quntar mesmerized the crowd with music and song.
“Learn to Play the Oud 1-0n-1 through Skype at the School of Oud Online”
Oud music has become more exciting!
Ramy Adly’s new Broadcast and TV shows for this season:
The most-watched Egyptian television show interviewed Ramy about his latest work
The most-watched Egyptian television show, El-Nahar interviewed Ramy for his new upcoming concerts and his latest concerts, as well as his School of Oud in Washington D.C
“More than 30 Newspapers in Egypt talked about his appearance before and after the show”
The School of Oud Online, LLC
The upcoming project of Ramy Adly is to teach Oud players around the world in the largest School of Oud Online; teaching students from over 27 countries around the world.
Stay tuned for Ramy’s new Oud website; which will be the most unique and largest of its kind. He opened the first School of Oud Online LLC company and is based in Virginia.
Ramy Adly will also be profiled on AlHurra TV; the largest channel in the Middle East and the Gulf region.
Watch Ramy Adly this Saturday on Al-Hurra TV at 9:30am EST.
October 2015 Newsletter
On August 28th, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, I performed a concert that was also featured in an interview written in the Washington Post.
Kennedy Center Concert
This concert featured an ensemble from around the world; Stuart Dickson (Istanbul), Luben Elquntar (Syria).
The compisitions performed were “Alexandria,” “Day of War” and ” Egyptian Waltz.”
Attendees of the concert exceded 3,000; including the Egyptian Ambassador to the U.S. Mohamed Tawfik, Stefan Buchwald, Minister Counselor of the German Embassy, and others who traveled over 1000 miles.
The Washington Post Interview
On August 23rd, the Washington Post published an article which included my picture, my Egyptian background, education, and love of the Oud. It also mentions my School of Oud online and love of teaching my students from around the world.
Next month, I am looking forward to participating with UNICEF and the Iraqi Children’s Foundation in a benefit concert for refugees. More information is found below.
Kennedy Center hosting Ramy Adly and Ensamble
You’re invited to join Ramy Adly and world class ensemble on a musical a trek, an odyssey across time and nations. Close your eyes and hear the wailing of the ancient sounds … the golden thunder of Pharaoh’s instruments … and the pounding, racing rhythm of strings that truly transcends the ages.
Come be inspired and educated thru an evening filled with beautiful music and the knowledge and history that made it, Adly has opened the opportunity for those who want to learn the Oud from anywhere in the world through his School Of Oud Online. which served till now students from over 27 countries around the globe.
- Lubana El-Quntar – Syrian Opera singer with published awards
- Stuart Dickson – Scottish Percussionist African percussion set
- Niny Adams – Saxophone