He studied in the Beirut conservatory from oud virtuoso Georges Farah. After moving to Germany, he studied classical flute at the Academy of Music in Munich under Walther Theurer. He has often blended traditional Arab music with jazz, and has earned praise such as "a world musician years before the phrase became a label, he makes the hot, staccato Middle Eastern flavour and the seamless grooves of jazz mingle as if they were always meant to" (John Fordham, Guardian 2002). He helped highlight the oud as a vehicle of eclectic "world jazz".
Abou-Khalil and his associates are arguably creating a new international platform for improvised music, comparable to John McLaughlin and his associates in Shakti. Humor is a very important ingredient in Abou-Khalil's art and live performances. Various compositions are inspired by humorous stories, common to many is the absurdity of "commuting between cultures". Rabih Abou-Khalil's CDs are conspicuous for their high quality covers depicting Arabic art. Read more on Last.fm.
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