Oudimentary - A Pioneer of Oud in the West

Discussion in 'History of Oud' started by Ouddict, Nov 5, 2017.

  1. Ouddict

    Ouddict Forum Co-Founder & Tech Support

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    I wrote to Oudimentary a couple of months ago to invite them to the forum, but did not hear back which was unusual as they are normally very prompt in replying. Unfortunately I read soon after about Ustadh Usama Canon's illness shortly afterwards and it has been on my mind ever since.

    Oudimentary hardly gets a mention in this forum and that is a real shame as the company deserves better given their role in pioneering Oud in the West and in the USA in particular. Oudimentary have not requested to be promoted on this forum, but I think that providing this publicity is the least that we can do to help out and given them some well deserved recognition. I hope that this thread can highlight their contribution to the awareness and appreciation of Oud in the West and generate some much needed sales for this decent company. Please visit their website and give their excellent products consideration.

    Oudimentary was founded in 2004 and for those who are able to visit their store, are located at 43170 Osgood Rd, Fremont, California, USA 94539. The company is run by Micah Anderson and Ustadh Usama Canon. They started selling artisanal quality Oud back in 2004 and were part of a Western Oud scene that included other companies like Silk Road Ends run by Sidi Khalid Miller (now unfortunately defunct). I have some of their Oud wood chips and oil including a Tarakan and the legendary Cambodi KSSS, of which Habz786 somehow managed to hustle 1g off from me :(. Most of their Oud is aged, of superb quality and sold without fanfare.


    For more information:

    1. The Oudimentary Website can be found on www.oudimentary.com/

    2. Who is Ustadh Usama Canon? Read more on here: http://muzlimbuzz.sg/who-is-ustadh-usama-canon/

    3. You can keep up with Ustadh Usama Canon on Twitter: https://twitter.com/usamacanon?lang=en

    4. An Fascinating Account of a Visit to the Oudimentary Store in 2014
    http://www.cafleurebon.com/on-the-o...from-new-york-city-to-california-oud-perfume/

    5. An superb video featuring the founders Ustadh Usama Canon and Micah Anderson.

     
  2. Ouddict

    Ouddict Forum Co-Founder & Tech Support

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    Below, I have reproduced a few Oudimentary blog entries from 2009 that were posted by the Oudimentary team that were lurking in Basenotes, but judging from the absence of comments, not read widely. Hopefully they can get more exposure here.
     
  3. Ouddict

    Ouddict Forum Co-Founder & Tech Support

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    Oudimentary Presents: The Science of Scent (by Oudimentary)

    One of our goals at Oudimentary is to research and preserve this millennium-old culture of the use of Aloeswood. From biblical times to the modern age, the use of Aloeswood has existed on four separate levels.

    1. On the most rudimentary level, it provides a perfume for the wearer and others to savor and enjoy. A sweet smokiness. An earthy, almost leather-like tone. A hint of berry or dried apricot. These are just some of the descriptions used in attempting to describe the different types and grades of Aloeswood. Each individual oil and wood reacts differently to each individual, therefore giving each individual a highly personalized scent.

    2. On the secondary level, the culture surrounding burning Aloeswood acts as a social gathering point; the bringing together of friends to enjoy the burning of this sacred wood can provide the bonding and nurturing of friendship. Friends compare and share different oils and woods. Coals are lit, smoke rises, stories are shared, and ultimately relationships are deepened.

    3. Next is the level in which the medicinal properties of this rare wood begin to work their magic. In many traditional medicine systems including Chinese, Tibetan, Unani, and Ayurveda, Aloeswood has been highly prized for its healing properties. It is known to reverse rebellious chi, and to help the body’s circulatory system. And of course, because Aloeswood is highly psychoactive, it is used to treat nervous disorders such as neurosis, obsessive behavior, and exhaustion.

    4. On the most enlightened level, it creates an environment, which encourages spiritual remembrance. It is known and taught by the spiritually awakened that the burning smoke from the Aloeswood plant not only repels negativity but it calls for angelic beings to come to the place where the scent is emitted. This is a powerful spiritual tool to have, especially in these times of challenge and uncertianty. It creates an environment conducive to spiritual insight and gnosis, and this environment can be carried with the user at all times, creating a spiritual armor of sorts.

    In the words of one of our teachers in the blessed city of Fez, Morocco, “In the old days, no one would even think of leaving their house without scenting their garments with Aloeswood first.”

    The process of creating this aura of scent is a simple one-the layering of essential oil extracts from Aloeswood (or another attar or extract) on to the body and clothes in which afterwards the fragrant smoke of burning Aloeswood is then put into the clothes, garments, etc. This process leaves a sweet smelling scent, which can last for days. It surrounds the wearer with a type of “aura” that is carried from home, to the workplace, or to wherever the person may go in this vast world.

    To assist those interested in this ago-old science, Oudimentary has created what we call the 5 “Oudiments.” These Oudiments are 5 simple steps to Oud Understanding.

    Oudiment 1: A wood of your choice. From an unpretentious, earthy Thai wood, to a long-burning heady Burmese, to the finest, sweetest of Oud Cambodi, Oudiment number 1 is the foundation of all other Oudiments, and is the foundation to the existence of the Oud-alchemist. Burn it, be it.

    Oudiment 2: A fine oil or attar, be it Aloeswood, musk or some other personal favorite. Walk the middle path of moderation with this one. Not too little, not too much. Usually a moderate-sized “swipe” does the trick, applied firstly to the outer right hand, then dabbed behind the ears, in the facial hair, then the rest rubbed between your hands and applied to the rest of the body-arms, clothes, etc.

    Oudiment 3: A mubkhara (oud burner) used exclusively for aloeswood. When embarking on the path to Oud mastery, this is your most prized accessory and dear companion on the path to oud understanding. It is always at your side, patiently waiting for its counterpart-which brings us to Oudiment number 4.

    Oudiment 4: A high quality coal on which to burn the hallowed wood. Flame should be applied to the coal for at least 30 seconds and then a time of at least 5-10 minutes should pass before attempting to place any wood on the coal. A think layer of ash on the coal tells when the time for burning has begun. Light ‘em up, and then wait for the culmination of the first 4 Oudiments to take place.

    Oudiment 5: Companions. Perhaps the most important. As stated above, The Oudiments are always best served in the company of friends and companions. Enjoy, talk, drum, breathe, learn, remember, pray, laugh, be. Essential.

    In these days of high-paced workweeks, drive-thus, and what seems like constant bombardment of technology, we find it important to carry on a respected, almost primal tradition in the midst of it all. Wood. Fire. Smoke. Scent. From the gathering of friends, to the lighting of the coals, to the journeying to higher levels of understanding, to the remembrance of the Divine. All are a part of this sacred heritage in which we embrace wholeheartedly, and hope you will as well.
     
  4. Ouddict

    Ouddict Forum Co-Founder & Tech Support

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    The Oudimentary Society of Aloeswood Enthusiasts (OSAE) (by Oudimentary)

    The Oudimentary Society for Aloeswood Enthusiasts (OSAE) is an international fellowship of men and women united by their love for the use of aloeswood on physical, psychological, and spiritual levels.

    The society was founded in 2004 to provide a community for like-minded aloeswood aficianados where they could learn, teach, assist, and serve this rapidly-growing alliance of aloeswood burners.

    OSAE is dedicated to the research and preservation of the ancient tradition of aloeswood use in a modern-day setting.

    We hope this group will provide a platform where interested people can get and share information, ideas, stories about this blessed wood, which is known by many names, including agarwood, oud, oudh, aloes, gaharu, eagleswood, or as the “Bubble Love-Love.”

    In these days of high-paced workweeks, drive-thus, and what seems like constant bombardment of technology, we find it important to carry on a respected, almost primal tradition in the midst of it all. Wood. Fire. Smoke. Scent.

    From the gathering of friends, to the lighting of the coals, to the journeying to higher levels of understanding, to the remembrance of the Divine; all are a part of this sacred heritage in which we embrace wholeheartedly, and hope you will as well.

    If like us, you feel the quest for the better burn is perpetual, we request for you to join OSAE.

    Oud burners of the world unite! Burn it, be it.

    (For more information, see http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=43094005847)
     
  5. peter4ptv

    peter4ptv Member

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    I will like to add their current super Assam is excellent classic type hind for the price.
    And they still have KSSS that ouddict mention it it was very popular oud on the old basenotes oud forum and compare it only to the original batch of thaqueel, now is under the name private reserve Cambodi.
     
  6. Ouddict

    Ouddict Forum Co-Founder & Tech Support

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    Aloeswood’s Foremost Companion: The Mubkhara (by Oudimentary)

    No other piece of oud paraphernalia holds a higher rank in the eyes of a committed oud-adept than the hallowed mubkhara, or Oud burner. Their designs range from rustically simple to the most embellished, and as we shall see, have not changed much over thousands of years. Let us look more in detail at several different styles now.

    Saudi Arabian
    First off, and possibly most instantly recognizable, is the Saudi-style burner. This traditional style has a square metal base with inward sloping sides which support a square cup with outward sloping sides. 4 legs support the square cup on top. The top cup will be plated with metal, to be able to bear the hot coals. Variations on this model range from the simple, unadorned wooden or aluminum mass-produced models, to those made of precious metals, encrusted with jewels and/or emblems of royalty, which are works of art within themselves. Also of note here, are more modern versions of these burners, which are plug-in electrical requiring no coals, and even a small portable burner for the car, which plugs simply into a cigarette lighter! Apart from these new variations, these burners have remained virtually unchanged for 2,000 years.

    Tarimi
    Secondly, we have the traditional Tarimi-style burner. Its shape varies slightly from the Saudi burner in the fact that most Tarimi models come equipped with a handle. This handle is functional for frequent use in congregations, in which the burner is passed from person to person. In the common Yemeni style, these burners are much more rustic, and usually made of hand-carved wood, which gives each model a more unique appearance. They are quite lower in height and stubbier than the Saudi-style. Some come painted in muted colors, and other are simple wood tones. These examples of mubkhara are quite rare outside of Yemen or circles of Yemeni immigrant communities.

    Moroccan
    Last but not least, we have the refined beauty of the Moroccan-style Mubkhara. Perhaps the most visually striking and ornate, the Magribi-style mubkhara carries all the history and tradition of Andalusian elegance. Most commonly made of pressed stainless steel, the Moroccan style burner usually has a wide hexagonal base on 5-6 small feet. Towering upwards, 4 more feet have been placed on the base holding the main burner, which has an ornate, domed (sometimes pointed), attached lid. They are commonly engraved and have intricate metalwork lattice surrounding the burner level and lid. When used, the lid is closed, and the smoke wafts upwards through the latticework creating a visual feast. Even the smallest versions are quite large, with the largest being too big to even be lifted!

    No matter what the design may be, the revered mubkhara is always handy, patiently awaiting the next aloeswood burning session, and never leaves the side of the adept. For years on end they toil while demanding nothing in return, only to improve and deepen with age.
     
  7. Ouddict

    Ouddict Forum Co-Founder & Tech Support

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    References to Aloeswood in Hadith and the Bible (by Oudimentary)

    One of the modern-day appeals of aloeswood use is it’s ability to allow the user connect with a tradition of deep spirituality in a contemporary setting. For millennia, aloeswood has been used to aid higher states of realization in many spiritual traditions, from Islam to Christianity to Taoism.

    The modern aloeswood-adept means to preserve this age-old practice in full awareness that technology can not replace it. Now more than ever in our societies, this aid is needed for grounding and introspection, and from this, our modern civilization can be healed from it’s current state of ignorance.

    Two particular spiritual sources in which aloeswood use has been mentioned and referenced stem from Abrahamic traditions-Christianity and Islam. Let us take a moment to look at these in more detail.

    Aloeswood and Hadith

    Hadith are the words and actions relating to the Messenger and Prophet of God, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him. We will look at two separate hadith here in which aloeswood has been mentioned.

    1. Book 27 of Sahih Muslim, #5601

    Nafi’ reported that when Ibn Umar wanted fumigation he got it from aloeswood without mixing anything with it, or he put camphor along with aloeswood and then said: This is how Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) fumigated.

    2. Book 55 of Sahih Bukhari, #544

    Narrated Abu Huraira: Allah’s Apostle said, “The first group of people who will enter Paradise, will be glittering like the full moon and those who will follow them, will glitter like the most brilliant star in the sky. They will not urinate, relieve nature, spit, or have any nasal secretions. Their combs will be of gold, and their sweat will smell like musk. The aloes-wood will be used in their centers. Their wives will be houris. All of them will look alike and will resemble their father Adam (in statute), sixty cubits tall.”

    3. Book 26 of Sahih Muslim, #5487

    Umm Qais, daughter of Mihsan, the sister of ‘Ukasha b. Mihsan said: I visited Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) along with my son who had not, by that time, been weaned and he pissed over his (clothes). He ordered water to be brought and sprinkled (it) over them. She (further) said: I visited him (Allah’s Apostle) along with my son and I had squeezed the swelling in the uvula, whereupon he said: Why do you afflict your children by compressing like this? Use this Indian aloeswood, for it contains seven types of remedies, one among them being a remedy for pleurisy. It is applied through the nose for a swelling of the uvula and poured into the side of the mouth for pleurisy.



    Aloeswood and the Bible

    There are 5 separate places in the bible where aloeswood is mentioned. In older oral traditions, aloeswood is sometimes referred to simply as aloes (not to be confused with aloe vera).

    1. “Like valleys that stretch out, Like gardens beside the river, Like aloes planted by the LORD, Like cedars beside the waters. (Numbers 24:6)

    2. Nicodemus, who had first come to Him by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about a hundred pounds weight. (John 19:39)

    3. “I have sprinkled my bed With myrrh, aloes and cinnamon.” (Proverbs 7:17)

    4. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad. (Psalms 45:8)

    5. Spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices. (Solomon 4:14)

    Conclusion

    From these 7 examples, we can see with certainty that modern-day aloeswood-alchemists are following an unmistakable prophetic tradition, and that they are tapping into boundless spiritual energy by doing so. By employing these traditions, they carry on a living, breathing, ancient tradition.
     
    Royalbengalouds likes this.
  8. Ouddict

    Ouddict Forum Co-Founder & Tech Support

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    The Coffee Connection (by Oudimentary)

    For many, the thought of an oud-burning session with friends would be incomplete without the beverage that goes back as long as aloeswood use itself—coffee. Let us look now at the use of coffee in the tradition of mystics, and it’s connection with aloeswood use.

    Coffee use can be traced at least to as early as the 9th century, when it appeared in the highlands of Ethiopia. According to legend, Ethiopian shepherds were the first to observe the influence of the caffeine in coffee beans when the goats appeared to “dance” and to have an increased level of energy after consuming wild coffee berries.

    The legend names the shepherd “Kaldi.” From Ethiopia, coffee spread to Egypt and Yemen. It was in Arabia that coffee beans were first roasted and brewed similarly as they are today. By the 15th century, it had reached the rest of the Middle East, Persia, Turkey, and Northern Africa.

    Legend has it that a great Sufi Mystic from Yemen was traveling in Ethiopia when he was introduced to the edible beans and the fact that they promoted wakefulness. He brought the beans back to Yemen with him, in hopes the new brew could assist his fellow mystics staying awake during late-night sessions of Remembrance of God. His hopes were fulfilled.

    The use of coffee spread all over the Arabian peninsula, reaching the Holy cities of Medina and Makkah where we have this quote from an early Arab historian, Jaziri-

    “…It was drunk in the Sacred Mosque itself, so that there was scarcely a dhikr or mawlid where coffee was not present….”

    Another 16th century historian, Ibn ‘Abd al-Ghaffar, talks about the use of coffee in Cairo;

    “They drank coffee every Monday and Friday eve, putting it in a large vessel made of red clay. Their leader ladled it out with a small dipper and gave it to them to drink, passing it to the right, while they recited one of their usual formulas, mostly “La illaha il’Allah (There is no reality apart from God)…”

    To accompany an oud-burning session, the adepts at Oudimentary prefer the traditional Arabian-style coffee, which is favored on the Arab peninsula. When brewed, the coffee is the color of hay, a greenish-yellow brew. In actually it is closer to what many would think of as a tea rather than a coffee, since the traditional dark-roasted appearance and flavor is completely gone. Its tones are quite organic tasting, and its effect is quite grounding. Yellow coffee has hints of grass, a slight bitter taste, and for many, after one sip they are hooked.

    Saudi-style coffee will contain ground cardamom, possibly a pinch of saffron, and will be served with dates to counter the slight bitterness of the brew, for no sugar is added to the coffee. In the traditional Yemeni style, sugar and ground ginger are added, possibly with a pinch of clove or cinnamon, depending on personal taste and preference. Both are served in copious amounts in small cups. Also, an Arab-style coffee pot (dallah) is most often used. It has a rounded bottom with a curved, pointed pourer.

    Desert tribes traditionally would begin a coffee session with the unroasted beans. A fire pit in the sand would be made, and the beans would be roasted to a mustard yellow tone. Hand ground, the beans then would be brewed with the appropriate mixture of spices, and depending on which region you were in. Coals would be used directly from the fire to burn the hallowed aloeswood in this circle of companions. In this tradition, coffee and aloeswood would almost always accompany each other. Long sessions of drinking and burning would continue in to the night. Friends would tell stories, bond, and always remember the Divine.

    At this juncture, it is of interest to note another time-honored tradition that also goes hand in hand with oud burning–and which Oudimentary strongly endorses–Moroccan tea service. Tea preparation in the Moroccan style is as important and ritualized to Moroccans as yellow coffee preparation is to Gulf-Arabs. Unlike other tea styles in the Arab and larger Islamic world, Moroccan tea is exclusively made with loose Chinese green gunpowder tea. Because of this, Morocco is the largest importer of Chinese green tea in the world. Also of note, Magribi tea is always consumed with generous amounts of freshly cut mint (never dried!), and most prefer their brew with liberal spoonfuls of sugar as well. While the actual preparation may vary slightly, the result is always clearly Moroccan! Historically Moroccans are also avid Oud-users, and Oud and Moroccan mint tea often stand shoulder to shoulder in many different gatherings.

    The modern day aloeswood-alchemists at Oudimentary and the OSAE have carried the combination of these traditions into the 21st century. We maintain this ritual of coffee or tea preparation during our oud-burning sessions. Although taking place in a modern environment, our intentions remain focused on the heart of the experience–companionship, tradition, and wisdom. They go hand in hand for us, and hope they will for you as well. We invite you to join us.
     
    Chip Burns and Royalbengalouds like this.
  9. Habz786

    Habz786 Resident Artisan & Forum Co-Founder

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    @peter4ptv there have been a few batches of KSSS i think the original is the most spoken about and rare. Props to them a great company and good to deal with. Their oils and woods are great and also good value. Thoughts and prayers with Sidi Usama Cannon
     
  10. Mandeel AlMandeel

    Mandeel AlMandeel Oud Geek

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    In my beginning of buying oud oil and Agarwood online i deal with this company and I own private reserve Cambodi I still have little amount but I don't know if old batch or not really but I have it from very long time and my wife love that oil so much is classic Cambodi with some lovely incense aroma also I try private Burma agarwood and it was so lovely quality...
     
  11. IronMike

    IronMike Just Arrived

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    Oudimentary's Super Thai is one of my most favourite oils.
    Sad to hear the news about Sidi Usama. May Allah envelope him in His Mercy and grant him shifa.
     
  12. Mandeel AlMandeel

    Mandeel AlMandeel Oud Geek

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    Ameen
     
  13. Ouddict

    Ouddict Forum Co-Founder & Tech Support

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    Ameen
     
  14. Kabir Attars

    Kabir Attars Oud Fanatic

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