Rahim Alhaj | When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq

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World: Middle East Contemporary World: World Traditions Moods: Type: Improvisational
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When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq

by Rahim Alhaj

The CD is a beautiful rendition of traditional Iraqi music and improvisation featuring Rahim Alhaj, oud virtuoso and Souhail Kaspar, percussion.
Genre: World: Middle East Contemporary
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Taqsim Maqam Ajam
8:51 album only
2. Taqsim Maqam Mukhalif
4:36 album only
3. Taqsim Maqam Sika
7:46 album only
4. Taqsim Maqam Kurd
8:38 album only
5. Taqsim Maqam Bayyat-Hussayni
7:53 album only
6. Taqsim Maqam Hijaz
8:20 album only
7. Taqsim Maqam Lami
9:24 album only
8. Taqsim Maqam Sharqi Rast
10:53 album only
9. Taqsim Maqam Saba
7:05 album only


Album Notes
Rahim Alhaj was raised in Baghdad, Iraq, and began studying the oud when he was nine years old and gave solo concerts from age fourteen. He attended the prestigious Baghdad Conservatory of Fine Arts, (comparable to Julliard School of Music in the US), studying under Munir Bashir and Salim Abdul Kareem, whence he graduated from the six-year program with honors in 1990. He left Iraq the next year under pressure from Saddam Hussein's government including imprisonment and torture due to artistic resistance to the regime. Rahim lived in Jordan and later in Syria until 2000, when he was granted political refugee status and moved to the US, where he resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. An improviser and composer, he has performed in hundreds of solo concerts throughout the Near East, Europe and across North America. He performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC in June 2006 for this CD release tour. Rahim also teaches a Middle East Music History and Ensemble class at the University of New Mexico. His website is www.rahimalhaj.com. As received from his teachers, Rahim Alhaj carries the Iraqi musical tradition, yet he has moved it along toward the next generations in his own way, in his own time.
Souhail Kaspar is a master percussionist, born in Lebanon and trained at the Conservatory of Traditional Arabic Music (Nadi al-Funun al-Arabiyya) in Aleppo, Syria. He lives in Los Angeles, but travels worldwide to work, in constant demand for performances, recording sessions and teaching engagements. For online information, see www.neareastmusic.com.



to write a review

Nigel Williamson, The Times (UK)

the stunning virtuosity and profound emotion
An unforseen effect of the Iraq conflict has been an upsurge of interest in the region's music. Last year Ilham al-Madfai was nominated for a BBC Radion 3 world music award. This year's nominees include Aida Nadeem, whose album of Arabic electronica we reviewed favourably in June. Next year's list might easily include Rahim Alhaj.

Like his compatriots, he lives in exile, but his album is by far the most traditional of the three, offering nine improvisations on the oud (lute), without any concessions to Western pop influences. His oriental melodies are somewhat austere, but the stunning virtuosity and profound emotion are balanced with the finest judgment.

Kris Drever, The Weekend Planet, ABC Radio National (Australia)

Alhaj's dramatic and virtuosic playing of the oud
Rahim Alhaj's dramatic and virtuosic playing of the oud (fretless Arabic lute), quite solo and improvisatory. At the end it becomes a catchy rhythmic instrumental duo rendition of a song, with percussionist Soyhail Kaspar.


Great work
I bought AlHaj's CD online and I received it within a few days in the mailbox.When the Soul is Settled is a great work.Since I got the CD, I have been playing it every morning while I am having breakfast and the Autumn sun is slowly rising.If you listen to it at the right moment,it will certainly help your soul settle.


as a lover of the OUD, one must buy this album. I saw Mr. Rahim Alhaj on YouTube and fell in love with his music. Simply beautiful for the soul.