Stories » Dhafer Youssef - Birds Requiem enters CMJ-World Top 40 this week@#12

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Dhafer Youssef - Birds Requiem enters CMJ-World Top 40 this week@#12

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The oud-the 11-string, fretless, acoustic relative of the lute so central to the culture of the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean-is inextricably tied to tradition, more than 5,000 years of it. But in the hands of Dhafer Youssef, one of the most highly respected and influential virtuosi of the instrument in the world, the oud takes a giant leap into the future. For more than two decades, Youssef has paid his respects to the ancient legacy of the oud while integrating its melodious, robust and resonant-but simultaneously delicate tones-with modern sounds and sensibilities, transcending genre and defying the expected. On his new album Birds Requiem (OKeh Records) Youssef has created his most breathtakingly powerful work to date, a suite of 11 interconnected compositions that, he says, were "constructed as music for an imagined movie." The album has been picking up steam at Radio and has now entered the CMJ-World Top 40@#12.