Paul Hughes-Smith is an aficionado of the music of the Middle East and at present is studying the ‘ud with Ahmed Mukhtar. He was an Associate Producer for BBC TV working in the Music & Arts and Education departments. After leaving the BBC in 1995 while studying for a degree in Arabic, he joined the arts charity Cultural Co-operation and was their music advisor and press officer until 2008 for the Music Village Festival held all over London every 2 years bringing musicians from many countries to play at open air free concerts in London parks and elsewhere.
While studying briefly in Yemen in 2001, he was introduced to the music of Yemen and subsequently brought over several groups to play at the Music Village Festival as well as other festivals in the UK and abroad. As well as visiting Yemen many times before the current conflict made this no longer possible, he has traveled widely throughout the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent. He is also a political activist working to achieve justice and freedom for the Palestinian people. He has written articles and reviews for the world music magazine Songlines, The Middle East in London, Palestine News, and for the journals of the British Yemeni Society and the Society for Arabian Studies.