YEREVAN / DUBAI – Musician Nina Boutchakjian, known as “Nina Oud” on her social media platforms, was born in Lebanon to an Armenian father (whose family hails from Aintab) and Lebanese mother and raised in Sweden (Stockholm/Nykvarn). She began her studies at the Arab Music Institute in Cairo, Egypt. Boutchakjian consequently saw her career take off, touring all over Europe and the Middle East with her oud and remarkable voice. In 2014 she produced her solo album, “Sea Salt” (MBI), which was the third best-selling Arabic album in Virgin Megastores.
Boutchakjian now resides in Dubai, performing with guitarist Abir Saidani and traveling throughout the world.
Dear Nina, I firmly believe that not a single instrument has any gender limitation – a woman can play a tuba and a man can play a harp. You are the pioneer among women professional oud solo players. Was it hard to overcome that obstacle?
Yes, I believe anyone can. When I started my solo concerts 20 years ago, it was hard to be accepted, but not because my being female. I think it is more because I had no experience. Today I am happy to see so many female oud players around the world.
How did your interest in oud music arise?
My step-dad used to sing a lot at home, and my younger brother, Christian, is a DJ in Sweden, specializing in deep house music. I went to Cairo for tourism and I found the music school! The only available instrument was the oud, but my dream was to play the accordion! I was so small and the Arabic accordion is so big and heavy my teachers did not let me, but I do play a little today!