The 13th Jerusalem International Oud Festival

The 13th Jerusalem International Oud Festival

From Persia to Tunisia, the pear-shaped instrument has brought colorful cultures and voices together throughout history

Professor Taiseer Elias, performing again at this year's Oud Festival (photo credit: Publicity)
Professor Taiseer Elias, performing again at this year's Oud Festival (photo credit: Publicity)

The Jerusalem International Oud Festival presents the oud—king of musical instruments. In its Middle Eastern context, the oud is an instrument that unites and connects diverse musical cultures and traditions; but it extends to areas farther afield, from the Mediterranean region to the Indian subcontinent. Most of the performances in this festival, the 13th such annual event, are original festival productions presenting unique interpretations of ancient and modern works and illustrating the connection between Arab and Persian classical music and Jewish piyyutim.

This year’s festival will take place from the 8th to the 17th of November.

The video above features Etii Ankri, one of the festival’s participants and whose grandmother, Mama Zehyerei, was born on the island of Jerba in Tunisia.

Through her childhood Etti Ankri was surrounded by Tunisian melodies and rhythms. “I listen again to songs that I heard in my childhood and select ones that are suited to audiences today,” says Etti Ankri. “I travel to a moshav in the south to record Tunisian women from Jerba who preserve Jewish sacred songs, meet musicians from the Tunisian community in Israel to learn the Tunisian scales and encounter community members, who willingly help to bring the wonderful treasures of this tradition to light.”

More about Confederation House

Over one hundred ethnic groups and communities live side-by-side in Jerusalem: secular and religious Jews, Muslims, and Christians and representatives of a wide range of ethnicities and world cultures hailing from all continents.

Confederation House, which is located opposite the walls of the Old City, on the seamline between east and west, seeks to provide a place for all the heritages and traditions represented by these communities and to serve as their meeting place.

Confederation House has been active in the fields of music, poetry and theater.

Providing a stage for Jewish, Arab and other artists and ensembles from throughout Israel and abroad; producing the Israeli Poets’ Festival at Metulla and the Time of Mercy poetry encounters in memory of Yehuda Amichai; operating the Hullegeb Israeli-Ethiopian Theater Ensemble and producing the Israeli-Ethiopian >Stage Arts Festival; presenting the On the Wings of the Raga Indian Music Days devoted to Indian culture; and for over a decade producing the Jerusalem International Oud Festival, the jewel in the crown of its annual activities, which explores the roots of Arab musical tradition and every year brings together artists and audiences from Israel and abroad.

Confederation House serves as a bridge: between East and West, between past and present, but above all, connecting people.