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SNEAK PREVIEW - The fastest way home

We so often yearn for home... our homeland, the place of our birth and the home of our childhood memories. It always amazes me how I could have been away for decades and that place still holds the very same special meaning in my heart. It does not matter that it changed, and I did, that it grew older, and I did. Its place in my heart was meant to live on... and it did. I so often yearn for home. Over the years, I have tried to go back as often as I could, but at times when life held me tight in place, I've learned that listening to a masterfully played piece of oud is my fastest way home. ""Ah, music," he said, wiping his eyes. "A magic beyond all we do here!""*. Magic indeed. Food for the heart and soul.

This work in progress is a homage to oud, the oldest and most cherished of instruments in our part of the world-and its beautiful music. It is a homage to the master artisans who craft it-tirelessly bending, molding, inlaying, gluing, staining, polishing until their treasured creation comes to life; and to the musicians who skillfully and effortlessly extract the magical sounds. They never knew they were dispensing soul medicine.

"Y'demlak hal bahha ya 'oud... inshallah dawm tehla w tjoud.

Ysallim dein elli hemlook, w sammaaouna l'han mlouk."

*J. K. Rowling

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