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Tue 22 May 2007 04:27 PM

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Oud sales up 25%

The market in traditional Arabic instruments is booming thanks to a focus on Arabian heritage.

The market in traditional Arabic instruments is booming. Manufacturers of the Arabian oud reported a 25% increase in sales in 2006 and consistent year on year growth in the market.

"Demand for the Arabian oud is growing," said Mohammed Saleem Butt, managing director of Saleem Musical Instruments. "I've been in the industry for 25 years and the market has never been as strong as it is today. In 2006, our sales of ouds increased by 25% over the previous year, while the increase in the sales of strings was up by more than 50%, from $47,066 to $114,303 last year."

Butt attributes the growing demand for ouds to an emphasis among the region's leaders on preserving Arabian heritage. In some countries such as Kuwait, education also plays a key role, as school children are encouraged to play stringed instruments.

While demand for ouds is particularly strong in the Middle East, Saleem reported interest from the United States. "The USA is a big market for us, and it's not just Arab-Americans who want the instruments, but other musicians and even non-musicians who appreciate its distinctive appearance and want to display it in their homes."

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