Osama Abdulrasol

Osama Abdulrasol

Osama Abdulrasol is an Iraqi qanun player and composer. He was born in Babylon, as a descendant of a very religious family. Because music was forbidden at home, Osama had to learn how to play music in secret during his entire childhood. Obsessed as he was with music, he started studying it virtually – from books, only in his mind. Until he left Iraq as an adult, he could never even afford to buy a music instrument. His father never knew that Osama had become a professional musician.
As a boy, Osama became fascinated by the quran recitals that he heard on television, in the mosques, & in the streets. He then became so eager to discover as much as possible about music that he listened to every type of music he could. On a small Dictaphone, he listened to everything from Paganini to Pat Metheny, without realizing the huge difference in style. Later it would become one of his talents as a composer, to write new music without paying too much attention to musical borders or genres.
In his hunger for music he discovered jazz. When he went to Baghdad to ask about it in small music stores, the record seller gave him a cassette with the title ‘Jazz’ on it, written in Arabic – without names, or a title. It was 20 years later during a concert in Belgium, that Osama would realize that it was a recording of Toots Thielemans.
The young Osama played every instrument he could get his hands on: starting with accordion, going to violin, oud and guitar – playing classical music, folk, rock and heavy metal on them. Not satisfied by that, he learned to play the clarinet and the saxophone – at least, until his reeds were finished and he discovered that there were no places in Iraq where you could buy new reeds.
It was only when he left Iraq that he discovered the Arabic harp or qanun, one of the most ancient instruments. He learned to play this complicated instrument all by himself, and soon they became inseparable. He then settled down as a musician and started his career as a qanun player and composer.
Needing to leave Iraq, Osama came to Belgium. The cultural and musical diversity in Europe, with so many influences and possibilities, opened a totally new world for him, and very soon he started working with different musical personalities such as Goran Bregovic, Claron McFadden, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Lucilla Galeazzi, Roby Lakatos, Assala Nasri, Lula Pena, Wannes Van de Velde and many more.
The young Iraqi boy thus became a cosmopolitan and now plays almost everywhere in the world, both as a soloist and guest, and with his own ensembles.
In 2013 the city of Ghent, his new home, awarded him with the Cultural Prize for his extraordinary musical personality and his cultural achievements.
Osama has played with:

De Filharmonie
The Flemish Radio Orchestra (conducted by Dirk Brossé)
The Dutch Metropole Orchestra
Les C de la B
Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui
Goran Bregovic
Roby Lakatos
Claron Mc Fadden
Lucilla Galeazzi
Lula Pena
Assala Nasri
Jahida Wehbe
Tom Robinson
BJ Scott
Wannes Van de Velde
Dick Van der Harst
Luc De Vos
Waed Bou Hassoun
Olla Vogala
De Kolonie – muziektheater
Muziektheater Transparant

Black – the movie
Osama Abdulrasol – Sumerian Harp
Luthomania – Peregrina
Jahida Wehbe & Osama Abdulrasol ensemble- Shahd
Osama Abdulrasol- Elarouse
Arifa – Beyond Babylon
Turquaze – the movie
Tri a Tolia- Zumurrude/ Homerecords
Melike- Macar Longdistance/ harmoniamundi
Djamel Hamza/Wild Boar Music
Djamel’ntia ‘ntia/ Wild Boar Music
Oblomow-Sporen/ Wild Boar Music
Alshwak- Wannes Van de Velde- Djar /Provincie Antwerpen
Wouter Vandenabeele- Chansons sans paroles/ Homerecords


Osama Abdulrasol (°1968 Irak) is muzikant, componist en producer. Hij werd geboren in Babylon en groeide op in Kerbala, een zeer conservatieve stad voor sjiitische moslims waar muziek verboden was, zelfs thuis. Zijn eerste muziklae ervaringen beleefde hij via mono-cassettes met Arabische en Westerse klassieke muziek en populaire Westerse muziek (van Paganini tot Pat Metheny). Na zijn studie Arabische muziek in Bagdad en klassieke gitaar in Engeland begon hij zijn muzikale carrière als qanun-speler en gitarist. Op zijn 22ste begon hij te componeren voor theater en TV, waarna hij naar België kwam, wat de start betekende van zijn Europese muzikale carrière. Tijdens zijn muzikale ontdekkingsreis kruisten vele stijlen zijn pad: zijn muziek werd beïnvloed door Arabische, Turkse, Perzische, Afrikaanse, Indiase, Jazz en hedendaagse moderne muziek. Daarbij plaatste Osama zijn muziek altijd in de context van zijn muzikale wortels.

Zijn naam als producer en arrangeur is inmiddels in vele albumhoesjes te vinden (o.a. Melike ‘Macar’, Djemal’s eerste album ‘Ntia ntia’, dat ook soundtrack werd van de film ‘Kassablanca’, Baran Selahattin, Mustafa Avsar, … als producer van o.a Thelema trio, filmmuziek Dirk Brossé, regie Mattias Lebeer, Aardvark, Olla Vogala in een project met Elias Beshouri, …en als arrangeur van o.a. percussionist Shahin During (boegbeeld van Turqumstances, Tarhana, …), IndiAra, e.a.

Verder schreef hij muziek voor tal van theaterproducties: Pijnboom, Foto’s in de storm, Womb, El medine, El sherife en voor Osama Abdulrasol Ensemble waarmee hij eigen composities brengt.

Osama toerde door Europa, het Midden-Oosten en Noord Afrika en werd uitgenodigd op vooraanstaande festivals over de hele wereld. Hij werkte samen met muzikanten van verschillende strekkingen: deFilharmonie, Dirk Brossé, Goran Bregovic, Lula Pena, Olla Vogala, Oblomow, El Ashwak, Nahda, Weshm, Sidi Larbi Cherkawi & Les Ballets C de la B, Elftwelf trio, Café Cotton, Time Machine, e.a. Op die manier hielp hij mee een brug te slaan tussen westerse en ethnische wereldmuziek.

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