Anouar Brahem (1957) plays the oud, one of the oldest stringed instruments in the world and forefather of the lute. When he was just ten years old, Brahem first picked up an oud in his birthplace of Halfaouine, a quarter of Tunis. In the region, the oud was considered a backing instrument but Brahem wanted to make it a solo instrument. He didn’t restrict himself to traditional music but linked elements of it with jazz. His latest project was the double album Souvenance, which was released this year. Recording it took six years: Brahem was so affected by the political turmoil in his homeland Tunisia that even composing became temporarily trivial to him. Fortunately, he regained his passion and is performing at the North Sea Jazz Festival with the quartet with whom he recorded Souvenance.