LA Sketches: Dimitris Mahlis, Oud Artist

15 February, 2022



Dimitris Mahlis in a recording session with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (photo Michelle Shiers).

Two original taksim, improvisations on the oud, from Los Angeles musician-composer Dimitris Mahlis.


Dimitris Mahlis


Oudist, guitarist, and composer Dimitris Mahlis has become known in musical circles as an eclectic interpreter of many musical traditions. Having a thorough knowledge of both eastern and western musical theory, he has developed a playing style on several instruments which is both earthy yet intricate. As a composer, his pieces have set a standard in cross-cultural pollination. He says now, “The oud for me has been a musical journey of self reflection. It’s a challenging instrument to achieve some level of proficiency precisely because it is basically very simple — by that I mean it consists of just wood and strings. Like most ancient traditional instruments, there are no bells and whistles so to speak. This means that the artist has to spend the time to develop a relationship with the instrument, hence musical self reflection of the soul. And indeed in a place as strangely lonely and melancholic as Los Angeles, spending the time on such an endeavor of the soul is often at odds with this city. Which is exactly why it is so valuable and much needed in these very strange times in which we live.”


Dimitris’s original compositions can be heard on several recordings with the duo Wahid, the Mahlis-Panos Project, and the duo Diaplus. He is also featured on the soundtrack to the Oscar-winning film Argo, and most recently on the critically acclaimed film The Angel.


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