ROCHESTER, NY— Imprisoned for two years in his native Iraq for opposing the regime of Sadaam Hussein, Rahim AlHaj is a modern master of the oud—the eastern parent of Europe’s lute. AlHaj lived as a political refugee in several countries before coming to the United States in 2000 and now offers a glimpse into the beauty of his country’s traditional music by performing throughout the U.S. and other parts of the world. He will perform here as part of Eastman’s World Music Series Wednesday January 24 at 8 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall.
AlHaj was a student of the renowned Munir Bashir—considered by many to be one of the greatest oud players—at the Institute of Music in Baghdad where he received several awards and graduated in 1990 with a diploma in composition. He also holds a degree in Arabic Literature from Mustunsaria University in Baghdad.
AlHaj has performed all over the world—on tour with his former teacher, Bashir, as a soloist and with his string quartet, including concerts throughout the Middle East, Europe, and hundreds of concerts in the U.S. Rahim’s music delicately combines traditional Iraqi maqams—centuries-old Middle Eastern scales (muh-KAHMS)—with contemporary styling and influence. His compositions are about the experience of exile from his homeland and of new beginnings in his adopted country.
His performance last June at the Kennedy Center celebrated the release of his fourth album, When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq for Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. His first CD, The Second Baghdad, was released in 2002, and his second CD, Iraqi Music in a Time of War, in 2003, both produced by VoxLox Records. His third CD, Friendship: Oud and Sadaqa Quartet, with Fast Horse Recordings, was released in December 2005.
Tickets range in price from $18 to $8 with a discount for University of Rochester ID holders and can be purchased in person at the RPO Box Office, 108 East Avenue or by phone at 585/454-2100. Visit www.esm.rochester.edu/concerts/tickets.php for more ticket information or to order tickets online.
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