When I went to Baghdad I ended up being introduced to this young oud player—an Iraqi guy who’d studied in Egypt. He sang in Arabic, and played really quite beautifully. And then it was my turn, so I pulled out the dobro and just started screwing around thinking that I would sort of work my way into a song. I had maintained a discreet silence while he was playing, but he didn’t feel shy at all about joining in with me. So he started playing along and all of the sudden it just turned into this jam, where the two of us were trading riffs. And it was fantastic—he didn’t speak any English and it ended up turning into this really incredible kind of musical communication, and the bystanders were really impressed. A real give and take structure developed.
Category: In Their Own Words