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Clarissa Bitar: An Award-Winning Palestinian Oud Musician

Clarissa Bitar is an award-winning musician and composer who specializes in the oud, and is a solo performer who has also collaborated with other musicians. Bitar is not only musically-talented, she has a strong academic background in music, a graduate with a degree in Ethnomusicology, and a part-time teacher introducing younger generations to Arabic music.

Bitar is a Palestinian born and raised in California, the United States. She is a graduate from UC Santa Barbara and, as student, she won several awards for her performances. After graduating, however, she never stopped learning as she decided to learn from prominent oud musicians, including Simon Shaheen, Charbel Rouhana, and Bassam Saba.

Today, Bitar is highly experienced in Arabic music, primarily the oud. As a Palestinian living in the United States, she also uses music as a means to reconnect with her roots. In an interview with Palestine in America, she stated that she uses music to explore themes relating to the diaspora, such as longing and belonging.

Currently based in California, she now works as a studio musician having released her solo EP "Bayati" in 2019. Her songs are available on various streaming platforms, and she's currently working on her next album. Furthermore, she has also worked with other musicians touching on various genres, including Elyanna, Massari, Mona Haydar, Nasri Atweh, Omar Offendum, Rotana, and Sandhill. This is in addition to working with poet Mohammed El Kurd on a poetry-oud album.

When she isn't making music, she teaches it to her students. Her passion stems from her desire to introduce younger generations to Arabic music as a means of reconnecting with their old heritage. This especially includes her students in the diaspora. She also travels outside the United States where she both plays and teaches the oud.

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