Guitar Repair & Building program repairs an Oud
"This is a very big part of why we do what we do, to be part of an important art" -- David Vincent
Touring the United States with the Israeli band Sofi & the Baladis, musician Yaniv Taichman made a horrifying discovery the morning they left Pierre, SD. The headstock of his oud had suddenly snapped off -- a victim of the the cold, dry air in the Dakotas. Fortunately they had a backup oud, so he was able to continue performing in concerts.
Wait a minute -- what's an oud? An ancestor of the guitar, the oud (prounounced "oohd") looks a lot like a lute, with a large bowl-back body, 11 strings, no frets, and violin-style tuners. Sofi & the Baladis play Samaritan music on the oud and other traditional instruments.
Alerted by the tour manager, Arts Midwest World Fest Project Manager Ken Carlson scrambled to find a luthier who could repair the broken instrument. He suggested that en route to their next tour residency at The Sheldon Theatre, the group could drop the instrument off for repairs about 100 miles away from Red Wing.
At the last minute, Yaniv decided to keep his oud instead. This turned out to be a stroke of luck, since Arts Midwest and The Sheldon Theatre had arranged a lunchtime workshop at Minnesota State College Southeast early in the band's week-long Red Wing residency.
During the Oct. 31 workshop, Yaniv got so many technical questions about the oud that he realized MSC Southeast isn't an ordinary college. Of course not -- he had stumbled upon the premier lutherie college in the United States, MSC Southeast's Guitar Repair and Building program!
Yaniv explained that he was playing an oud that belonged to lead singer Sofi. He unzipped the black case that was carrying his own instrument. When he pulled it out -- in two pieces -- there was a collective gasp from the audience. "We can fix that!" somebody called out, and that's just what happened.
He left the oud in the capable hands of instructor David Vincent, and that very afternoon the repair process began. "The original maker's work on this instrument is quite nice, and it appears that hot hide glue was used. Where the headstock broke off is not on the original glue line but in the wood next to it. That's a good sign that the original glue joint was well done," David commented.
Ready to rock
By the end of the week, Yaniv's oud was ready to return to the stage at the Sheldon Theatre concert on Nov. 3. He was overjoyed to be reunited with his instrument.
"Maestro David Vincent brought my Oud back to life," said Yaniv. "It sounds, looks and feels amazing!"
"This is a very big part of why we do what we do, to be part of an important art," David Vincent responded. "It was very special to me to hear these fabulous musicians share their culture and tradition from halfway around the world, and to feel a part of it."
Top: Sofi and the Baladis gave a workshop on traditional Samaritan music at MSC Southeast. (Katryn Conlin, photo)
Left: Yaniv Taichman showed his broken oud to the audience at the college. (Katryn Conlin, photo)
Right: Instructor David Vincent worked on the instrument. (Yaniv Taichman, photos)