Rahim Alhaj: When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq (Smithsonian/Elite)

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Rahim Alhaj: Taqsim Maqam Mukhalif
Rahim Alhaj: When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq (Smithsonian/Elite)

It may be some time before the soul of Iraq is settled but if anyone can bring the traditional music of that troubled country to international attention it is Baghdad-born Alhaj who fled Saddam Hussein's regime to Jordan then Syria, and now lives in New Mexico.

A graduate with honours in music, he has been playing oud since he was nine and has been giving concerts since he was 14.

This is a well annotated collection of improvisations on traditional pieces which, in many places, sounds like Indian ragas.

The oud has a mesmerisingly exotic sound and these nine tracks (average length about seven minutes) can be utterly transporting.

Music to settle the soul and feed the imagination.

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