The oud, the predecessor of the western lute, is a stringedinstrument that enjoyed great popularity in the late Middle Ages,particularly in Islamic countries. Although the Dutchman and guitarvirtuoso Jan Akkerman has on occasion turned his hand to thisinstrument, it is Dhafer Youssef who truly gave the oud a new placeon the contemporary music scene. As a child, the Tunisian built hisfirst oud out of litter that he found along the coastline of hisbirthplace Teboulba. Since then, he has cherished the baroqueinstrument with heart and soul. Only after years of playing as awedding musician did Dhafer have enough money to buy a 'real' oudand the world soon heard him. Since that time, the 41-year-oldNorth African has recorded several successful albums, worked invarious European countries and he has won the prestigious BBC WorldMusic Award. Dhafer will be performing at the North Sea JazzFestival with an interesting jazz line-up. He will enchant hisaudience with a musical and multicultural improvisation session asonly he can produce on this historical and mysteriousinstrument.