Oussama Abou Chakra: Redefining music

After graduating from Studio el-Fan, the passionate musician started working on making his dream true.
by Sally Farhat

5 April 2018 | 15:00

Source: by Annahar

  • by Sally Farhat
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 5 April 2018 | 15:00

This undated photo shows Oussama Abou Chakra playing the guitar. (Photo Courtesy of Oussama Abou Chakra).

BEIRUT: At the age of not more than seven years old, was when his fingers first moved swiftly on the piano keys, jumping from one to the other. This early encounter with music drew the future of Oussama Abou Chakra, the Lebanese musician who took a childhood dream and turned it into a reality.

“As a child, I always dreamt of being on stage and becoming a star,” Abou Chakra told Annahar. “But the more I dived into music, the more the latter started taking me into a completely different place far from fame.”

Although he had the opportunity to make use of his talent to gain fame, Abou Chakra decided to create his own musical journey away from what he considers the “material” in music.

After practicing the piano for a few years, Abou Chakra started playing the Oud on his own at the age of 12.

“I took my new oud to the hairdresser because I wanted someone to fix its cords,” said Abou Chakra. “He laughed at me as he fixed the cords and told me that I cannot play without learning.”

“I went back to him the next day and played him two different pieces,” he added.

The music enthusiast started taking private music lessons with Shafiq Abou Chakra, before joining the Lebanese Conservatoire.

Three to four years later, he joined Studio el-Fan, before even turning eighteen.

“I joined studio el-Fan because I believe that anything I do, I must do to the fullest,” he said.

Abou Chakra won the first prize in Mount Lebanon’s district, and then competed with graduates from other districts to win the bronze medal for a song of his creation called “La Tlumine.”

After graduating from Studio el-Fan, the passionate musician started working on making his dream true.

He sang and recorded his very own songs, performed on several stages, and worked with Studio el-Fan’s office, as he continued his musical studies in the Lebanese Conservatoire.

The turning point in Abou Chakra’s journey came to be when he started teaching music at schools.

“The deeper I went into the music universe, the more I fell in love with it,” he said, adding: “I saw a new side to it, one that is different from what I thought.”

He started creating kids’ songs, plays, and musical books to use music as a means to deliver useful messages to children.

After presenting a fair amount of work to the children over a period of eight years, Abou Chakra decided to go back to performing internationally.

His view of music however, was far stronger than his love for performing.

Five years later, he established his own music school.

“I opened Music Academy’s first branch in Baqaata al Chouf during 2006 war,” said Abou Chakra, “I was very dedicated and excited to the extent that nothing could stand in my way, not even the war,” he added.

It was not until four years after the opening of the first Music Academy that Abou Chakra returned to settle completely in Lebanon.

“The first four years I used to go back and forth between Dubai and Lebanon, because I needed to provide assets to grow the academy further,” he noted. “When I came back, I gave all my attention to the music school and opened another branch.”

“Today, we are preparing to open our third branch in Beirut, to ensure that the Academy’s music travels as far and as possible.”

The idea of performing still echoes in the mind of Abou Chakra; but, he will not go back to the world of performance until Music Academy grows bigger.

“What makes me this attached to the academy is seeing my students grow and dive into music further; this feeling is better than standing on a million stages,” Abou Chakra told Annahar.

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