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October 18 2021 5:24 PM ˚

Visually impaired violinist, oud player says ‘disability not an obstacle’

Issam Elayyan-Local Celebrity 2
Issam Elayyan is pictured in this undated photo. The musician said Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Umm Kulthum are among his favorite to cover. (Photo: Handout from Issam Ellayan)
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AMMAN — After losing his eyesight, Jordanian musician Issam Elayyan had to choose between allowing his disability to limit him for the rest of his life and continuing to battle in order to succeed. “Disability is not an obstacle to success,” the violinist and oud player said in an interview with Jordan News.اضافة اعلان

After learning to play the violin and the oud, Elayyan got a bachelor's degree in Arabic music from the National Music Conservatory in 2004. In 2017, the musician earned master’s degree in musicology from the University of Jordan.

“I gave my first stage performance after several months of training at the conservatory,” he said. “My training sessions could go up to six hours per day.”

Elayyan has joined many local bands both as an oud player and a violinist, and has performed in several local and international concerts. The musician also won the award for best soloist with disabilities in the US, in 2008.

“I was looking for something based on the sense of hearing, and music was my first choice,” Elayyan said.

The musician added that his family supported him since day one. “I used to play oud since I was 17 years old. My father loves oud and he encouraged me to study music.”

Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Umm Kulthum are two musicians whose music he enjoys playing the most, in addition to Palestinian musician Ahmad Al Khatib. 

“Ahmad Al Khatib is my idol, and I enjoy playing his music, although it needs great skills,” Elayyan said, noting that the musician has personally helped him hone his oud skills. “I met him once, got some tips, and adopted his method, which has improved my playing.”

Elayyan says that he loves to play oriental music, in addition to blues and jazz, “I like to play blues and jazz on the oud. It requires great skill, both mental and technical, as well as instruments that support oud.

Moreover, it can be a combination of oud with a piano or any other instrument.”


Issam Elayyan is pictured in this undated photo. The musician said Mohamed Abdel Wahab and Umm Kulthum are among his favorite to cover. (Photo: Handout from Issam Ellayan)

For the musician, physical disabilities are not an obstacle to reaching any goal, because there is always an alternative technique. 

“I have had a hard time learning to read music, but I found an alternative way to solve this problem. My tutors at the university used to record the music for me, which I then listened to and played on the instrument,” he said.

“One of the things I'm considering is making it possible for the blind to read music.” The musician added.

Elayyan loves the type of music that merges oriental and Western music, with an ambition to become an international musician and to have a team, working together on a genre of music that is based on the merging of oriental and Western music.

Elayyan uses TikTok, in addition to his YouTube channel, to advise people with visual impairment on how to overcome minor problems that they may face. “People are often surprised to know that I cook for my family and rely solely on my senses of hearing and touch,” he said.

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