Rahim Alhaj | Iraqi Music in a Time of War

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World: Middle East Contemporary Classical: Contemporary Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Iraqi Music in a Time of War

by Rahim Alhaj

Contemporary/Traditional Solo Oud
Genre: World: Middle East Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Introduction
3:10 $0.99
2. The Second Baghdad
4:55 $0.99
3. Introduction
1:06 $0.99
4. Dance of the Palms
7:43 $0.99
5. Introduction
1:07 $0.99
6. Dream
9:21 $0.99
7. Introduction
0:45 $0.99
8. Sunset of the City
5:48 $0.99
9. Introduction
1:11 $0.99
10. Missing
7:21 $0.99
11. Introduction
2:24 $0.99
12. Iraqi Faces
6:47 $0.99
13. Introduction
0:06 $0.99
14. Yearning
5:59 $0.99
15. Introduction
0:57 $0.99
16. Horses
5:29 $0.99
17. Introduction
0:33 $0.99
18. Eastern Love
5:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
"This was the moment when a very alternative voice, Iraqi oud virtuoso Rahim AlHaj, living in exile since the 1991 Gulf War, came to visit New York City and to present a concert at Sufi Books. In his words of introduction, Rahim told us that his music is about compassion, love and peace. And then he made audible just what he meant, musically inviting us into his stories, his pain, his hope, his soul.
And along with his music, with its subtle dialogue of Eastern and Western sounds, we heard something else quite special to the moment: the powerful introductions Rahim spoke to each piece. I taped the concert just to give Rahim a souvenir of his visit. But as the invasion and occupation marched on, each listening told us that this performance must circulate, must enter recorded history and witness to the power of Iraqi music in a time of war.
My strongest memory from our New York time together is of the feeling that moved through the room as Rahim played for us that night, comforting our upset and laying bare his own. Listen again now to this intensely war-torn moment, and imagine, in solidarity with Rahim, how music can advocate for compassion, love and peace." Steven Feld, Ethnomusicologist
"When I arrived in New York, I was witnessing Iraq's third war during my lifetime. But this time the war was very different for me; I was not there with my family, and I had no news from them. Yet day to day life for me was as excruciating as if I was in Baghdad. So I wanted to communicate to my audience my experience of war, the pain and misery one feels in a hopeless situation where chaos reigns and loved ones die. I found New York a bustling city, but when I was there I did not see people smiling. I sense that my audience that night felt the despair that I was feeling, and when we came together, it was a catharsis.
To play music in a time of war is to connect, to feed people with hope, and to hold onto my hope of someday seeing my mother's beautiful face once again. Her last words to me were: "I hope your cruise missles don't kills me before I see you again." Music joins people in their souls, and when this connection happens, peace, love, and compassion can fill the hands of humanity." Rahim Alhaj



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Village Voice Weekly

Village Voice Gives Inciteful Review of Iraqi Music in a Time of War
Iraqi Music in a Time of War

Last February, mild-mannered Iraqi matinee idol Kazem al-Sahir played a sparsely populated Beacon. His 17-piece orchestra was exotically anodyne to me, painfully nostalgic to the attendant Iraqis. But either way it was steeped in denial. Recorded April 5 at Manhattan's Sufi Books, with Baghdad under attack, this solo oud recital is the opposite. The conservatory-trained AlHaj is a Saddam torture victim who escaped in 1991. Yet he is appalled by the destruction of his homeland. And yet again he betrays no rage: however uninspired as "concepts," the

Judith Karpova

A delicate, complex rendering of the oud voice
The voice of Rahim Alhaj's instrument is accompanied only by his own, in introductory comments. His renderings drew me deeper and deeper into a meditation of a pure, spare beauty that is the voice of his country and his own heart. I have been to Iraq and these pieces evoke it, the rivers, the scent of the desert, the palms, the unbelievably handsome men and lovely women, the exuberant children. This music, in his hands, is a treasure.

Gary Day

Remarkable string sounds and commmentary by the artist that are very timely. It seems to connect to all types of people who typically like much different types of music. Thanks Rahim and CD Baby!

Jonathan H Shannon

A sensitive exploration of sentiment and strings....
This is a unique recording, capturing a moment in the evolution of our undestanding of the debacle that is Iraq today, as well as a moment in the artist's self-understanding and expression through his instrument. The introductions to each piece must be understood not so much as commentary but as essential elements of the musical compositions themselves. Yes, there are more techincally proficient oud players out there, but anyone with a good ear knows that sensitivity is far more important than technique as a vehicle to the spirit. And what a vehicle Rahim al-Hajj has! Thanks! wa allah ma'kum

Katrina Salleto

Amazing New CD: Iraqi Music in a Time of War
This CD moves me like few others I've ever listened to. It is an amazing mix of heartfelt and eloquent dialogue from the musician/composer regarding his feelings during a time of war between his newfound home (USA) and homeland (Iraq) and original oud compositions poignantly evoking deep passion, pain, peace and hope...truly transformative.

Luke McCabe

Very touching music. Fascinating and beautiful.
Rahim Alhaj is an incredible musician. The music is beautiful, heartfelt, fascinating, and sincere. Good stuff here!

Deborah Dakin

I love this cd. The friends I sent it to, loved it also.
I loved this cd. I sent a copy to friends who also loved it. I teach college music classes, and intend to use it to help my students begin to imagine the world of people they impact, but never meet.