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alfaraby
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[*] posted on 7-9-2010 at 12:06 AM


Quote: Originally posted by liviajacob  
I will phone them tomorrow and see if they can send me a picture of Elias and his brothers. That would be great!

Hello Livia
Did you manage to contact Mrs. Nahat & tell her that her father is the last not to be seen ever in a photo !

I wonder if people, trying to assimilate in a new homeland, tend to wipe out their past, & become "more Catholic than the Pope !! I've never experienced anything alike; since I, like my ancestors, just stayed "home" since ever ! Good/Bad ? I don't really know.

When translating your research into Arabic, I came across some interesting questions/quizzes :

Why did Nahat family staying in Damascus has stopped building ouds ? Why didn't anyone of their descendants try to obtain their father's/g.father's profession, like almost everybody in the East had done for ages ?
Has the immigration of Abdo the great to Brazil in 1938 just broken them ? Did they all just lived in Abdo's shadow and gained benefit of their family name, or were they great luthiers by themselves ?
Where did Rofan's, Hanna's & his sons George & Tawfiq's, Antoin's children vanish ?
Were they all by chance sterile/infertile or did they have descendants ? Is there any next of kin to anyone in Damascus today ?
Have anyone ever tried to contact them ? Dr.oud ?

I wonder ....

Yours indeed
Alfaraby
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[*] posted on 7-9-2010 at 05:38 AM


I had a friend, who was my classmate at the engineering school in McGill, (now he is at Oxford I think), who is from the Nahat Family. When he learned I play oud, he told me that he recently learned his (great)grandfather was a oud maker. He said he was really surprised that he saw somewhere on the net a picture which was the same portrait hanging at his family home in Syria.
I never really followed up but if I see the guy on Facebook I might press him for more details.

But a question, why are you guys so obsesed with the Nahat family and why are you so desperate to have a Stradivarious equivalent. Buy a nice oud that sounds good and just play man.
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[*] posted on 7-9-2010 at 08:40 AM


Quote: Originally posted by fhalaw  
Why are you guys so obsesed with the Nahat family ?

Buy a nice oud that sounds good and just play man.

OMG Fadi ! What a question ?
I think you're missing something here, so read, see, play, observe, compare, tune an all original Abdo Nahat oud & you'll get what we are talking about here. I can't just explain, you should experience yourself.

Moreover, did you think anyone here is sitting alone outside grabbing his head between his hands & morn the fact he ain't got a Nahat ?
We all have several ouds (haven't we) and Nahat's among others & that's why we're looking for another one, the ultimate oud, that does not really exist, like this one attached !

Cheers Fadi

yours indeed
Alfaraby

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[*] posted on 7-9-2010 at 09:05 AM


Hi, dear Al faraby.... well, I guess Elias kept his ancestrors religion, once he was an orthodox catholic in Brazil (nothing to do with the pope ;) ], as they used to be in Syria. I haven't asked the descendents if they are still orthodox or if they became roman catholic (most common in Brazil)... in general I avoid to talk about religion (you know how problematic this subject can be). I don't know if people try to wipe out their past in a conscious way... maybe it's not volunteer, but a survival mechanism, and to the new generations, it's a "natural" route. One of my closest friends here is chinese, although he was born here, his parents are 100% made in China. He and his brothers can't speak mandarin or any chinese language. They are 100% brazilian. Why? Because they were born here and even their parents are much more brazilian than chinese after living here for ages... People can't forget that the imigrants suffer a lot. It's not easy to leave your own culture and try to change your habits from night to day. You just do this in a way to survive. There are prejudices, of course, and surely we are too "broad-minded" , at least that's what the arabs tell me (this may shock some easterns). But in comparision to other places, arabs have a warm :cool: reception here and can practice the religion they want to. There has never been any persecution against roman catholics, protestants, orthodoxs, muslims, jews or any one.


Good/bad? Well, dear, it's a difficult choise.Perhaps you don't need to chose! We can't be manichean. Sometimes things are good on one hand and bad on other...

I must be bothering everybody with this subject. Sorry....

So about your request:

I will phone them this wekeend. I have been so busy. And unfortunatelly, I had a problem with my mobile... I hope them to give a picture of Elias to this forum!


Ok, now let's see your questions. :rolleyes:

Why did Nahat family staying in Damascus has stopped building ouds ?
Answer: Have they really stayed there? Haven't they moved to the USA or Canada as many syrians did?Must check.

Why didn't anyone of their descendants try to obtain their father's/g.father's profession, like almost everybody in the East had done for ages ?
Answer: Because here in Brazil that would be impossible for them to survive just manufacturing OUDS. That would be interesting in the East, not in the West, once here people have no idea about what is an oud. They could work with furnitures, that's a recognized profession, but I guess Elias (as many of his generation) after earning some money, encouraged his children to go to the university and have a carrer to ensure their lives. My grandpa did the same. But past times... things changed a lot. Elias watched the Economic Boom. This is over now.

Has the immigration of Abdo the great to Brazil in 1938 just broken them ? Did they all just lived in Abdo's shadow and gained benefit of their family name, or were they great luthiers by themselves ?
ANSWER: I don't know. I know they were all respectable furniture makers and they earned money with this profession. Some old arab members of SAO PAULO community remember ELIAS and his ouds... these people told me he was a luthier who loved to astonish people with the strings of his instruments.

Where did Rofan's, Hanna's & his sons George & Tawfiq's, Antoin's children ?Were they all by chance sterile/infertile or did they have descendants ? Is there any next of kin to anyone in Damascus today ?Have anyone ever tried to contact them ? Dr.oud
ANSWER: I asked the Brazilian Nahat by that time. They told me the genealogy must be review. They have no contact with anyone in Damascus.

Well, I hope I could help you... Thank u very much for translating me. :bowdown:


Yours, Livia.



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[*] posted on 7-9-2010 at 09:10 AM


Quote: Originally posted by alfaraby  
Quote: Originally posted by fhalaw  


Buy a nice oud that sounds good and just play man.

OMG Fadi ! What a question ?
I think you're missing something here, so read, see, play, observe, compare, tune an all original Abdo Nahat oud & you'll get what we are talking about here. I can't just explain, you should experience yourself.


yours indeed
Alfaraby






Thank u a 1000 times, guys. I'm learning a lot!:bowdown:
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[*] posted on 7-9-2010 at 04:16 PM


Quote: Originally posted by alfaraby  
Quote: Originally posted by fhalaw  
Why are you guys so obsesed with the Nahat family ?

Buy a nice oud that sounds good and just play man.

OMG Fadi ! What a question ?
I think you're missing something here, so read, see, play, observe, compare, tune an all original Abdo Nahat oud & you'll get what we are talking about here. I can't just explain, you should experience yourself.

Moreover, did you think anyone here is sitting alone outside grabbing his head between his hands & morn the fact he ain't got a Nahat ?
We all have several ouds (haven't we) and Nahat's among others & that's why we're looking for another one, the ultimate oud, that does not really exist, like this one attached !

Cheers Fadi

yours indeed
Alfaraby



Woooooooow. That is inspiring. And yes, I do sit and shake my head from time to time about not having one of these. Mostly though I'd just like to look one over in person. And photograph it. What we really need is a coffee table book of all the great Nahats....




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[*] posted on 7-11-2010 at 06:13 AM


Hi,

I've been enjoying this thread very much. I have to say that the fingerboard Alfaraby attached in his last post might be my favorite fingerboard design of all time. It is really unique - the oud in general is just gorgeous, having some similarities with a Gameel George I've seen (ebony/ivory inlays) and also the lavta (ebony/ivory inlays) in the Athens museum of traditional instruments.

Beautiful work! Thanks for sharing, and for all the discoveries.

mavrothi




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[*] posted on 7-12-2010 at 12:13 PM


I have received email from several Nahat descendants all over the world: Switzerland, LA, Saudi, London, etc. The sad fact is that in the Arabic (and Persian) cultures, only family members are taught the art/craft by a maker. Thankfully Turkey supports an apprentice system, so if you want to learn, you can enroll with a Turkish master oud maker. This situation explains why Turkish ouds are consistently of better quality while only a few Arabic makers achieve real mastery in their lifetime. Often they are descendants of other makers. Someone interested in making ouds without a family connection is forced to start from scratch, disassembling ouds to try to discover the secrets. It is very difficult with Arabic ouds since the designs vary so much, even within the Nahat family. This fact inspired me to write the Construction book, and I am so glad I did. The art/craft of oud making has certainly grown as a result of an open dialogue, and many aspiring makers have created their ouds with the help of the book. Some are obvioius master craftsman (Jameel, Benoit Raby, Pierre Marzin, Jean-Paul Dautais, Joseph Hitti and others). The tragedy of the loss of the knowledge and skill of the Nahat family may be recoverable, it just may take another 200-300 years to develop.



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[*] posted on 7-13-2010 at 12:37 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Dr. Oud  
The sad fact is that in the Arabic (and Persian) cultures, only family members are taught the art/craft by a maker. .


It's not only Arabs' tragedy. It's a worldwide problem. I've encountered a western piano builder who has been successfully working for the last 50 years. I asked him if he had taught anyone or if any of his kids had been trained by him, & he said : NEVER ! No one wanted to devote himself to such an exhausting career like mine !
I have met tens of luthiers during the last 3 decades allover the Arab world. None of them (except for one) has ever managed to earn a reasonable respectful living . I've never met a luthier who had ever owned a car !! So why would they like their kids to stick to poverty like they did ?

Quote: Originally posted by Dr. Oud  
The tragedy of the loss of the knowledge and skill of the Nahat family may be recoverable, it just may take another 200-300 years to develop.


We shall be mourning this for the coming 200-300 years . What a loss !

Yours indeed
Alfaraby
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[*] posted on 7-17-2010 at 03:26 PM


You are right, Al Faraby. It's not just an Arab-tragedy. My mother's grandmother knew a lot about the herbal remedies of the florest and the correct way to prepare them. However, she didn't teach her daughters, cause according to her, her descendents were not "gifted" by God. Besides that, she didn't even teach anyone else! All her knowlegde died with her. The same thing happened to many "natural doctors"of her generation. I am not comparing this loss to the Nahat's case. May be my exampe may sounds silly, but shows how a cultural treasure may desappear from Earth so easily.

And, yes... none can be just a professional oud maker without having another profession... that's sad.

But I can also understand what you, Dr Oud, want to say. I really can...

Well. I hope u may reconstruct what time destroyed.... I have learned a lot with you. :applause:

Yours, Livia.:wavey:
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[*] posted on 12-15-2010 at 07:48 AM


Hi, folks...:wavey:

I am back. With some good news... and some bad also...

The good news for you - Mussalam Dibīs son, Walter, got in touch with me. He asked me to write a tribute to his late father who was a Brazilian-Syrian (imigrated from Homs when he was 14 years old) oudist and composer... he recorded some Arab Lps here in Brazil, during the 60īs and 70īs. Walter sent me many old pictures, showing western musicians in Sao Paulo last week, and I published everything in Al Tarab.multiply.
Today he sent me some more pics. Those photos show Mussalamīs oud. And as I have supposed, itīs a Nahat. Mussalam was very close to Elias Nahat, as Walter told me, so I was almost sure that some of his ouds came from Nahat dinasty. But one more mistery raised now, guys... The label (not the same label of the other ouds I have taken pics) show the date - december, 05, year 1934. Eliaīs family told me he and his sons came in 1935. Abdo George came after, in 1938. But if Mussalm got this oud in 1934, so the family arrived before! May be Eliaīs family canīt remember the exactly year of arrival (that would be really difficult, if they donīt kept any document or passport), but I guess we are now getting closer...
This label has the adress - RUA MONSENHOR ANDRADE, 8 - São Paulo, BRAZIL, handwritting, what proofs that the instrument was made here, without shadow of doubt. But for sure Elias label is a post-label, as itīs written in Portuguese.... Now, who can solve this case?

Eliasīlabel: http://altarab.multiply.com/photos/album/17/Brazilian_Nahat_Label_E...

The 1930īs syrian label (Elias oud, kept by his family) - http://altarab.multiply.com/photos/album/7#

Mussalamīs oud - http://altarab.multiply.com/photos/album/30/30

Now, the bad news - Next year, I will close Al Tarab.:( It means that everything I could collected until present time will be there. But I am not going to do any other uploads... Hope you have enjoyed, specially Nahatīs instrument in Brazil.
http://altarab.multiply.com/reviews/item/3


Have a nice time. Merry Christmas, happy new year and so on...

Yours, Livia.
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[*] posted on 12-15-2010 at 09:30 AM


Another loss to our shrinking world of traditional music, I will miss Livia's insightful and informative research on her website. Dang!

I am also going through some changes. I have been given authorization to write the biography of John Bilezikjian. It is a privilege and honor to undertake this task, and the depth and breadth of John's talent and contributions will amaze many people I'm sure. This opportunity dovetails perfectly into my recent education in Graphic Publication, which I have two more quarters to complete.

I too will be closing my oud repair schedule during the effort to write John's story. I will make exceptions for my own ouds or special antiques, but the work will be slowed down by the effort on the book (and finishing school).

Hey alfaraby, I see Abdo in the shams, but when was your Nahat made? It is spectacular!




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[*] posted on 12-15-2010 at 11:59 AM


Hi Livia,

too bad you will put an end to your research :( But thanks a lot for all what you have done so far :applause:

Here is my proposal for the mystery:
the label on this oud is exactly the same printed label that was used in Syria for decades by Abdo George. As you can see in the bottom-right corner on your pictures, there is still the address in Damascus printed on this label. So for sure this label has been printed in Syria. Would Elias have bothered about carrying printed labels with him on the boat to Brazil? So I think that the oud was made in Syria, in 1934 indeed. Later on in Brazil, for some reason, Elias (or George who knows) had to open the oud for a repair (maybe due to the drastic change of climate), and add to the label this handwritten address.

Does it make sense? A way to check would be to find which woods are used on this oud... exotic ones or not?

regards,

Dan
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[*] posted on 12-17-2010 at 12:56 AM


Quote: Originally posted by Dr. Oud  

Hey alfaraby, I see Abdo in the shams, but when was your Nahat made? It is spectacular!

Richard dear !
I wish this oud was mine. This is my friend's in Kuwait. He negotiated for almost a year in order to get & finally he did. He must have paid a fortune, but he never revealed such info.
It's 1917 Abdo Nahat's, one of three to be known to exist : Hamza's, Sherif Muhieldine's in Qunia/Turkey museume & this one. This type is called "Prince Type", since no one but princes could afford such a fancy at that time. This is the atmost Abdo the great has ever reached.

I think your chart should be updated, don't you think so ?

Tours indeed
Alfaraby
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[*] posted on 4-17-2011 at 11:44 AM


Hi, folks....

Maybe you are going to like it. I hope so! A gift to Nahat oudsī addicted. I must confess I did not want to open the web site again... but it would be a pity to waste those pictures... I know it can be usefull to many people. So... I am back for a while. Unfortunatelly Eliaīs grandson gave me no clue about the year of those Ouds... :(

http://altarab.multiply.com/photos/album/31
http://altarab.multiply.com/photos/album/32/32
http://altarab.multiply.com/photos/album/33


With my best wishes, Livia.
P.s.: By the way - Happy 2011, happy carnival, Happy easter and whatever.... ;)
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[*] posted on 4-17-2011 at 12:32 PM


OMG !
Livia keeps surprising us over & over again. What a great exposure of Elias Abdo Nahat (1902-1993), RIP. No one on the net has ever seen his face before today: Palms Sunday 2011, for he didn't use to stick his "nose" in every label, like other did. He just wrote Abdo Nahat & Sons, but never inked his photo in the label. See for yourselves the labels @ Livia's site.

Great job as usual Livia dear !

Mehran Mississian 1924 oud is a beauty as well. I envy these people who had the luck to find such beauties. I hope its sound sounds the same as its looks.

THANK YOU LIVIA for keeping us posted and for keeping this thread alive.

Yours indeed
Alfaraby
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[*] posted on 4-17-2011 at 07:41 PM


Thank you for these pictures. They are all beautiful instruments.

Something about the Missisian oud really makes an impression on me. It must be the combination of symmetry, outline and tasteful decoration. I would love to hear all of these sometime - though I realize that might not be possible.

Just seeing them is really a great treat, thank you again.

Take care,

Mavrothi




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[*] posted on 4-17-2011 at 10:53 PM


a very nice Antoun Nahat oud in excellent condition too.
best wishes,
Adel
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[*] posted on 4-26-2011 at 03:52 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Alfaraby  
OMG !
Livia keeps surprising us over & over again. What a great exposure of Elias Abdo Nahat (1902-1993), RIP. No one on the net has ever seen his face before today: Palms Sunday 2011, for he didn't use to stick his "nose" in every label, like other did. He just wrote Abdo Nahat & Sons, but never inked his photo in the label. See for yourselves the labels @ Livia's site.



Mahraba, ya aziz! Thank u for supporting me. It seems that there was a strong reason that forbade Elias to stamp his face in the labels. Another member of the family wrote me last week. Eliasī niece. She gave me some new information... Letīs see if she keeps writting or if she gives me her phone number. Itīs common to be emailed by people who show some interesting in helping us.... and suddenly they just disappear (sometimes they help for a while and them show they are not interested anymore. I just donīt like to imagine myself as a distubing person and I canīt publish stuffs without peopleīs agreement. So you see.... itīs not very easy).

Anyway, Eliasīpicture was really nice!;)

Mavrothis and Adel, You are right, the oud is just WOW. Do you envy those peoples, Alfaraby? So do I. I also wish I was as lucky as those heirs!:))

I fell happy to see how excited you folks are reading the altarabīs updates. Incredibly, Brazilian-arab musicians donīt show 1% of your enthusiasm about my research. Cīest la vie... et cīest le destin.:( And here I am... back, despite such things. I would fell worse if I had not re-open the site to post that 4 you.

Have a nice season guys (as I donīt know when I will come back... and if I will come back). Bye bye.:wavey:
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[*] posted on 5-19-2011 at 10:59 AM
Brazilian Elias Nahat oud (1976) in Nazareth


This evening I had one of the most moving experiences I had with the Nahat ouds issue . An old friend of mine, knowing I suffer from an acute Nahat fever, invited me to join him in a visit to a friend of his, who had told him he's got a Nahat oud. We dropped in at a very friendly youngman's place, who, after serving (Brazilian) coffee, brought a big cartoon box from which he pulled out a velvet bag, apparently containing an oud, & showed us his Nahat : It was a brand new oud, very shiny and a clean soundboard, so I thought to myself: OMG, another replica ?!

"The story of this oud", said the gentleman, is in short : " My parents visited Sao Paulo/ Brazil back in 1976, where my mother was supposed to meet cousins of hers. One of these cousins was Mrs. Elias Abdo Nahat" !
OMG, I held my breath ... "They had a wonderful time with the old couple, and before leaving, Elias Nahat gave my father an oud of his. My late dad apologized he doesn't play the oud, but the oldman insisted he'd take the oud and try to play it. He told my old man that this is a handmade of his, so dad thankfully took the oud and said farewell to the nice couple, hoping to see them again. My parents visited another cousins of my mother's and didn't have a chance to re meet the Nahats again. Two weeks or so later, they flew back home, leaving the oud at one cousin's home, asking him to return it to Elias.
After my folks left Brazil, Elias knew they've left the oud in Sao Paolo, so he got very angry saying this oud was a present to my wife's relatives, how do you let them leave it here ? He took the oud, went to the post office and sent the oud to my father via air mail ! A month or so after my parents came back, they got an notice from the customs to come over & pick up some item coming from Brazil. Coffee ? Wondered my father ? What could it be ? He released the item right away to find in this same cartoon the same oud Elias gave him in Sao Paolo. So here it is the present of Elias to his wife's cousin" End of story !

So here I am holding the first Brazillian Nahat oud in my life. As far as I know it's the only Brazilian Nahat oud ever seen in Palestine &/or Israel, "It's brand new", I said & our host replied : "It is ! It has been kept like this for the last 35 years in the same cartoon sent by Elias ever since and no one ever played it but me once I tried to learn how to play and shortly quit" .

The bowl is made of an unknown wood to me, pretty heavy, the soundboard is B' class spruce, the roses are handmade ivory on wood, the fingerboard is ivory inlay in ebony, the bridge is the same we see in other Nahats', the pickguard is ebony ...

Unfortunately, I couldn't play the oud. The strings were old & worn out producing dull sound, but after all it sounded just like any other new oud, or unplayed oud for 35 years.

What a pity !

Take a look !

Yours indeed
Alfaraby


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[*] posted on 5-19-2011 at 12:29 PM


This is a great find my friend Alfaraby....excellent Job....
I have 2 things to say here
this forum has been of a great inspiration to all of us who wants to know more about this beautiful instrument....Playing the oud or the history of it.....
This also tells us, that we no longer have a great deal of nahat ouds in the Arab world, and we have to wait until somebody from the USA or Europe to sell thier ouds to find the beauty of these instruments.... 2 examples are Marcus , few years ago has sold a beautiful George Nahat coming from Germany.... today we have Franck from France selling another great Abdo on this very Forum.

Another point also to say that Palestinain people have the best Nahat ouds in the World and when a Palestinian hold a great Nahat in his /her Hand..... that oud will never ever go...it stays with the person.
Thank you Alfaraby for this beauty....while you about it..... may be you can post the other Abdo oud in Nazareth.
Take good care and all the best wishes to all of you.
Adel
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[*] posted on 5-19-2011 at 05:35 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Adel Salameh  
Another point also to say that Palestinain people have the best Nahat ouds in the World and when a Palestinian hold a great Nahat in his /her Hand..... that oud will never ever go...it stays with the person.


Does this mean that if a Palestinian is selling a Nahat, then it is probably not a great Nahat and perhaps we shouldn't consider buying it?

Adel
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[*] posted on 5-19-2011 at 11:29 PM


Nahat oud has to be protected....any one has a nahat oud should keept it to her/himself.
best wishes,
Adel
http://www.adelsalameh.com
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Ararat66
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[*] posted on 5-20-2011 at 12:43 AM


OK then ... being half Armenian I think it's only fair that I should step up to the mark and announce that I will undertake to accept all your spare Karybians and Bedrossians from around the world into my safe keeping.:D:D

... you know it makes sense

Leon
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ALAMI
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[*] posted on 5-20-2011 at 01:19 AM


Leon,

I am Sending you half of the LEON Stanbuli oud, which half do you prefer?

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