Scott Wilson- Oudist/Artist

Thank you for looking at my web site. Back in 1959 when I was five years old, my mother, the famous belly dancer, Serena used to bring me with her to the Egyptian Gardens nightclub. She performed there every night in the heart of “Greektown” on 8th Ave, NYC. I was fascinated with the music of the oud, kanun, and bouzouki (the instruments of the mid-East). This is me, at 5, on my way to the Egyptian Gardens-
When I was 14, I wanted to be just like my idols- Chick Ganimian, John Berberian, Bob Zakian (where are you now?), and George Mgrdichian. I couldn’t find an oud at the time, so I built one out of a wooden box. Rip, my father teased me, calling it a “guitoud.” Rip plays the dumbek, the middle Eastern drum, so he helped me a lot.
I went to the Feenjon down in the village every weekend in the ‘70’s, to see Ali Hafeed, Avram Pengas, Manny Dworman and others perform. It wasn’t just that they were talented musicians, but they were incredible entertainers in a very competitive world back then. Long gone seems to be the musicianship combined with a sense of humor, as we are in a era of “serious,” “ethnically pure,” “mystical” dance to monotone dirges of music. Through the many years since my “guitoud” days I have had many wonderful opportunities to perform. I worked for Italian Cruise Lines in the 70’s playing oud and singing for cabaret belly dance shows throughout the Caribbean. The Turkish consulate brought me to Mexico to play music for the promotion of tourism to Turkey.
I studied the Turkish language for several years at NYU with Belgin Camli, a great teacher. I travel to Turkey every year to learn more music, study the language, and party. One of my greatest opportunities there was in the year 2000. I was on the Hulya Avsar Show, where I played my invention, the "baglama-Hydra" a combination oud, saz, and guitar-
I met and married Leni Cohen, the love of my life, after she belly danced with my group at Le Figaro. I then dragged her to Istanbul for our Bal Ayi (honeymoon). She often drums with me-
This is my Feb. 2009 trip to Ankara, working for the Turkish Deptment of tourism-
I now perform at the “Grisly Pear” on McDougal street every Sunday night-
I often play for belly dance classes at-
I still freelance at Grey Advertising, but also teach ukulele and magic in a New York public school!
You can reach me at-
Photos by Sarah Skinner and Kevin Fox

My Favorites

Favorite Band or Musician: Scott Wilson & Efendi
Favorite TV show: Keith Olberman
Favorite movie: Never On Sunday (1960)
Favorite book: Cat In The Hat series
Favorite sports team: Galata Sarayi
Favorite food: malted milk balls

My Hobbies

Sculpture, magic, playing the oud, bouzoukie and reunions.

Most Admired

My wife, Leni



Want to get in touch? You can send me e-mail at: