Salem Abdul-Karem was born in Raghibah Khaton – Baghdad. Since his childhood the desire of studying music stick out with him but because of his family circumstances he couldn’t start studying music until 1973 where he began study music at the Iraqi Institute for Musical Studies which he finished In 1978. In the same time he was studying Mathematic In the University of Science-Baghdad university.
Since the beginning of his Oud study under supervision of professor Rawhy Al-Khammash Salem show real talent and prolific abilities which was clearly appears in his early performances during the institute concerts.
In 1976 Salem joined Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra (INSO) to present Oud concerto [in d-dur and three movements] composed by Munther Jamel Hafuth, that was the first time that INSO joined Oud performer. This was a brilliant point in the history of Oud.
In 1978 Salem gave his first Oud recital in Ankara-Turkey.
In 1980 Salem joined INSO to present Variations on Iraqi folk song, composed by Abdul-Razaq Al-Azawee, he recorded it with INSO in Iraqi TV.
In 1980 Salem went in a tour to present concerts in Turkey and Morocco, also he recorded many solos to Turkish radio & Tv.-TRT-.
Since that time Salem used to present Oud concerts inside Iraq and abroad where he presented concerts in Turkey-Morocco-Oman Sultanate-Jordan-Egypt-Malaysia-U.A.E-England-Bahrain-Germany.
As an admirable Oud virtuoso Salem Abdul-Karem has a very distinguished style regarding his performing and composing for Oud well known since many years with many aspects. Among these aspects there is a very rich tones,very high technique depending on a deep understanding of Oud as an Oriental string Instrument and his own tuning which he developed it on a mathematical basis
Salem worked very hard to expand the compass of Oud horizontally and vertically.
Horizontally by enlarge the scope of notes [tones] that can be played on Oud to the degree that make Salem as the first and the only Oud virtuoso who can achieve complete four chromatic octaves on Oud.
Vertically Salem developed many technique aspects such as chords,left hand technique, right hand technique, harmonics (artificial & natural), double stops, pizzicato, right hand fingers, etc..
Because of his mastering on all these technique aspects and because of his distinguished talents he could arranged many musical pieces originally written for other instruments like Piano, Guitar, Violin, ‘Cello or symphonic orchestra and played it on Oud in an attractive manners with a great success.