Rahim AlHaj
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Rahim AlHaj

Bagdad, Baghdād, Iraq | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE | AFM

Bagdad, Baghdād, Iraq | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
Band World Folk




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Still working on that hot first release.



Rahim AlHaj, virtuoso oud musician and composer, was

born in Baghdad, Iraq and began playing the oud (the
grandfather of all stringed instruments) at age nine. Early
on, it was evident that he had a remarkable talent for
playing the oud. Mr. Alhaj studied under the renowned
Munir Bashir, considered by many to be the greatest oud
player ever, and Salim Abdul Kareem, at the Institute of
Music in Baghdad, Iraq. Mr. AlHaj won various awards at

the Conservatory and graduated in 1990 with a diploma in composition. He holds a degree in
Arabic Literature from Mustunsariya University in Baghdad. In 1991, after the first Gulf War, Mr.
AlHaj was forced to leave Iraq due to his activism against the Saddam Hussein regime and began
his life in Jordan and Syria. He moved to the US in 2000 as a political refugee and has resided in
Albuquerque, NM ever since. Rahim became a US citizen on August 15, 2008.

Rahim is currently booking 2014 - 2015 dates.

Rahim is available in a variety of configurations including solo, with Middle Eastern percussion,
with string quartet and with his compelling and irresistible LITTLE EARTH ORCHESTRA. Little
Earth is a septet that features around Rahims oud Middle Eastern percussionist, two violins,
viola, cello, and acoustic bass. Little Earth is a vehicle that brings Rahims artistic vision to the
next level. Rahim can also perform with local string quartets. Also available: Rahim AlHaj &
Ancient Sounds, featuring sarod protges Amaan & Ayaan Ali Khan.

Rahim has performed around the world and is considered one of the finest oud players in the
world. He has won many accolades and awards including two Grammy nominations. Rahim has
recorded and performed with other master musicians of varied backgrounds and styles including
genre-busting American guitarist Bill Frisell, modern accordion innovator Guy Klucevsek, Indian
sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan and indy-rock pioneers REM. He has composed pieces for solo
oud, string quartet, symphony and beyond. Rahims music delicately combines traditional Iraqi
maqams with contemporary styling and influence. His compositions evoke the experience of exile
from his homeland and of new beginnings in his adopted country. His pieces establish new
concepts without altering the foundation of the traditional Iraqi School of Oud.

Rahim has released eight CDs. His March 2009 release, Ancient Sounds (UR Music), a duet
recording with Indian sarod maestro Amjad Ali Khan, was nominated for a 2010 Grammy in the
Best Traditional World Music Recording category. In November of 2009 he released a special
recording Under The Rose with Ottmar Liebert, Jon Gagan and Barrett Martin, with all net
proceeds benefitting Direct Aid Iraq. Home Again (UR Music, 2008), is a tour de force of touching
and evocative original compositions portraying his trip to Iraq after 13 years in exile. When the
Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq (Smithsonian Folkways Recordings) was also nominated for a
Grammy in 2008. His earlier recordings include Friendship: Oud and Sadaqa String Quartet
(2005), a unique East and West musical collaboration, The Second Baghdad (2002) and the live
CD Iraqi Music in a Time of War, (2003). Rahim is featured in the 2009 documentary film on
Smithsonian Folkways Records . Capping off an artistically fruitful 2009, Rahim was awarded the
prestigious US Artist Ford Fellowship Grant on December 14th. His latest recording Little Earth
was released on September 2010 to remarkable reviews. The two-CD project features Rahims
original composition in collaboration with the likes of Frisell, Klucevsek, Peter Buck (REM), Maria
De Barros, Liu Fang, Robert Mirabal, Hossein Omoumi, Santa Fe Guitar Quartet, Yacouba Sissoko,
Stephen Kent, and many more including, of course, Little Earth Orchestra. Rahim is set to
release the CD Journey, a compilation of his music up until the present. 

Instrumentation: Violin, violin, oud /voice, double bass, cello, viola