At the age of 13, Mario Morris is Egypt’s youngest professional oud maker. Having seen his father passionately crafting ouds as he came back from school every day, he followed the tradition and now spends most of his free time at his father’s workshop.
Known as the king of instruments and an ancestor of the guitar, the oud is one of the most popular instruments in making Arabic music. The craft stems from a long-lasting family tradition, as Mario’s father Moris Shehata is one of Egypt’s finest oud makers and players, who in turn inherited the craft from his grandfather.
“I not only want to be an oud maker but also an oud player,” Mario tells Africa Journal. Both father and son have now began a quest to get into the Guinness Records as the world’s youngest oud maker. A craft that requires enormous amounts of precision and passion, Mario and his father take pride in keeping this ancient art alive.