Amal Waqar is a young Omani oud player and composer on a journey to transcend.
Born along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Muscat, Oman, Amal was captivated by sound from a young age and clandestinely listened to music throughout her childhood. She began playing oud at fifteen after first being introduced to the instrument in the shop of a local tradesman. A deeply historic and gendered instrument in the Middle Eastern canon, the oud has seldom been an accessible instrument to women. As part of her personal journey, Amal intends to contribute to a growing dialogue working to break down stereotypes of the instrument.
Completing high school with an International Baccalaureate Diploma, Amal traveled to Oberlin College for studies in pre-law, focusing on human rights topics in the Middle East. Pulled towards music, Amal found herself relocating to Berklee College of Music to immerse herself in sound, now studying closely with oud master Simon Shaheen.
An extension of Amal’s unique musical perspective lies in her compositions, which often tease listeners with creative and unconventional interpretations of traditional rhythms and melodies. She continues to expand on the instrument’s current and potential abilities.
Creative and charismatic, 22-year-old Amal is only beginning to carve out her place in the international music scene. Her participation in events with Katara's Festival for Oud Instrument, Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival, and the National Arab Orchestra proves to be an exciting start to her career. Currently based in Boston, she divides her time between the development of pedagogy for female oud players and composition.
Amal Waqar travels frequently between the United States and the Sultanate of Oman.
Photograph by Tariq al-Hajri (2016).