Amal Waqar, Oud Player, Composer & Activist
Amal Waqar is an independent Omani oud player and composer. Born along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula in Muscat, Oman, Amal was captivated by sound from a young age and clandestinely listened to music throughout her childhood. She began playing oud at fifteen after first being introduced to the instrument in the shop of a local tradesman. A deeply historic and gendered instrument in the Middle Eastern canon, the oud has seldom been an accessible instrument to women. As part of her personal journey, Amal intends to contribute to a growing dialogue working to break down stereotypes of the instrument.
Completing high school with an International Baccalaureate Diploma, Amal traveled to Oberlin College for studies in pre-law, focusing on human rights topics in the Middle East. Pulled towards music, Amal found herself relocating to Berklee College of Music to immerse herself in sound, now studying closely with oud master Simon Shaheen. An extension of Amal’s unique musical perspective lies in her compositions, which often tease listeners with creative and unconventional interpretations of traditional rhythms and melodies. She continues to expand on the instrument’s current and potential abilities.
Creative and charismatic, 22-year-old Amal is only beginning to carve out her place in the international music scene. Her participation in events like Katara's Festival for Oud Instrument, Beirut & Beyond International Music Festival, and the National Arab Orchestra proves to be an exciting start to her career. Currently based in Boston, she divides her time between the development of pedagogy for female oud players and composition. Amal Waqar travels frequently between the United States and the Sultanate of Oman.
Carol Rashawnna Williams, Award Winning Visual Artist, Civic Innovator, Curator and Arts & Environmental Advocate
Born in Topeka, Kansas in a military family, Carol is the only child of Bessie Williams & Willie C. Williams. Soon after birth Carol and her family moved to Frankfurt Germany where she grew up on a military base and went to German schools until she was 11 ½. At which time she and her mother settled in Tacoma, WA. Carol graduated from Mount Tahoma High School, went to the Evergreen State College, was an Upward Bound student of 4 years.
Carol's mother was a certified missionary and gave her life to community service for over 25 years, feeding and sheltering those who were homeless. or re-entering society from prison. Carol's father was a patriot and believed in American Democracy. He gave 28 years of his life to his country through military service.
After graduating from college Carol was accepted as a Vista-Americorps for 1 year in Seattle’s White Center neighborhood working with young single mothers of Head Start students get jobs and get into school. Carol had her first group exhibit at the Seattle Central Community College Gallery in 1990 when she attended Seattle Central College, it was a community college. Her second group exhibit was in 1996 at the Evergreen State College at which time her work was acquired and catalogued into The Evergreen State College’s (TESC) video art library and showcased into the TESC student anthology book.
Carol is a mother to 2 children. She currently resides in Seattle, WA and works to mentor emerging artists from various backgrounds. Carol is a musician of 21 years who plays the violin and the viola. Carol enjoys hiking in the Pacific Northwest's numerous old growth forests. Carol was certified thru the City of Seattle Parks & Recreation Urban Forest Educator Program and loves to teach about conifers, indigenous and invasive species. You can find her walking all over Seattle.
Carol deeply believes in the power of art to build community, bridge community relationships and create authentic space for healing.