|Iraq / USA:
Interview with exiled oud player
Rahim AlHaj is a former political prisoner of Saddam Hussein who escaped Iraq, relocated to the US in 2000, and made a new home in New Mexico.
“How does Iraqi music change when the musician doesn’t live in Iraq anymore?” asks Tom Chandler in his article about the Iraqi oudist and composer Rahim AlHaj, which was published in the American newspaper East Bay Express on 5 November 2008.
Rahim AlHaj studied under the legendary Munir Bashir, who is referred to as one of the greatest oud players of the 20th century. Rahim AlHaj released an album of his own compositions for solo oud, ‘Home Again’, based on the experience of visiting Iraq after the second US-Iraq war. This was after he has been living 13 years in exile. He found out about his father’s death, and visited the site of the Baghdad Institute of Music, which had been bombed into oblivion.
One newspaper described Rahim AlHaj as a ‘Prophet with an Oud’ because of his message of peace and humanism. Tom Chandler writes that it becomes clear that with Rahim AlHaj that the message and the music are inseparable.
“I am now here to tell the truth, about women and kids… In my country, they have no voice,” he told Tom Chandler.
Photographed by Douglas Kent Hall
|Read the article:
East Bay Express – 5 November 2008:
‘Here to Tell the Truth – Iraqi oudist and composer Rahim AlHaj spreads peace and compassion’
Rahim Alhaj’s official website:
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