Kicking it old school with a couple of ouds and the Interstellar theme


Originally published at:


Thanks, Seamus! I wasn’t familiar with the tune already but I very much enjoyed the oud version. I liked Mr. Alshaiba’s “Smooth Criminal” too.

(If you haven’t already, check out AfroCelt Sound System and Shooglenifty!)


Pirates of the Mediterranean.

(I can’t take credit for the joke.)


Thank you for posting this! I’ve loved the oud and middle eastern music for years, but didn’t realize until seeing this that it’s a double-stringed instrument. It seems all of the strings are in unison, not octaves like some are on a 12 string guitar. Is it tuned in 4ths or 5ths? I imagine there are a lot of variations.


Seamus, could you please enlighten us on the apparatus that Mr. Alshaiba is using to pick with?


Hi Medievalist, I’m well versed with both bands!

In addition to the tech journalism and travel writing that I do, I’ve been the Canadian correspondent for Irish Music Magazine for over 20 years. I’ve interviewed both bands in the past, but the magazine is only available in print. However, you can catch a recent profile I wrote in 2016 on the Afro Celts over at Fast Company:


It’s a bit of wood called a risha.


Don’t the main variations of Mandolin, double strung ukuleles. And assorted related “tiny guitar” or “its kind of a lute” sort of things. Use doubled strings rather than octaves? And Wikipedia tells me only some of the guitar strings are octaves.

I’ve always had the impression that 12 string guitars were odd in that their main variant had weird string arrangements. Since double courses of strings originated for making things louder.


Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Off to buy this music. Thank you for sharing it!


Looking for more? Been following Anouar Brahem for years. Love his music.


One of my favorite musical memories is seeing Rachid Taha’s Oud player doing a show for his family here in Montreal. He did a set of traditional music, then at some point warned that traditionalists might like to call it a night. The second set started with him plugging the oud into a Marshall amp and stepping on a distortion peddle. Transcendental.


Thank you! That’s a very nice collection. To which i humbly add the Duduk



Look up Mugar, too. A band that mixes Celtic (mostly Breton) and Berber musics.




Hey, thanks! I hadn’t heard of them! Will purchase!


You may be also interested in Kabyl singer Idir and his numerous collaborations with various musicians.


I’ll give him a listen! (In the spirit of reciprocity, check out E. Shawn Qaissaunee aka “Q”. The man is a phenomenal guitarist and composer (and pretty impressive on the rubab, too)).




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