Rahim Alhaj

Rahim Alhaj 2006

Iraqi `oud virtuoso and composer Rahim Alhaj will debut on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage to kick off a national tour for his new CD of originial works on Smithsonian Folkways Records entitled When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq, his fourth album since he arrived in America.

Born in Baghdad, Mr. Alhaj trained in classical Arabic `oud at the prestigious Baghdad Institute under Munir Bashir (whose son Omar Bashir played on the Millennium Stage in 2003). Mr. Alhaj performed extensively throughout the Middle East and Europe, then relocated to the US as a political refugee in 2000. Since then, he has performed at hundreds of venues across the country.

Rahim's concept of cross-cultural bridging and understanding between the West and Arab worlds, as well as his focus on peace and compassion, are most timely. His musical compositions are contemporary yet rooted in traditional Iraqi maqams.

His music has been featured on NPR's Studio 360 and played often on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!, as well as the documentary XXI Century (2003).

Smithsonian Global Sound


CLICK HERE to listen to Rahim Alhaj's performance on the Millennium Stage.

  • Raqs-at al-nakhiil (Dance of the Palm Tree)
  • Huluum (Dreams of Iraq's Children)
  • Second Baghdad
  • Sunset of the City
  • Improvisation - traditional taqaasiim from around the Arab World, as demanded by audience:
  • Horses
Chamber Music Albuquerque
Roots World
Washington Post
Diplomatic Traffic
University Musical Society
UNM Today
W & M Today

September 23, 2006: Colby College (Waterville, ME)
October 8, 2006: Smiths Auditorium (Albuquerque, NM)
October 13, 2006: Coalesce Performance Space (San Luis Obispo, CA)
October 14, 2006: Castoro Cellars (San Luis Obispo, CA)
October 15, 2006: Freight and Salvage (Berkeley, CA)

When the Soul is Settled: Music of Iraq (2006)
Friendship: Rahim Alhaj, Oud and Sadaqa String Quartet (2005)
Iraqi Music in a Time of War: Live in NYC (2003)
Second Baghdad (2002)

Official website:

Katherine Hughes-Fraitekh

June 18, 2006 (Sunday) 6:00 p.m. on the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage

*** co-production, co-marketing by David Chambers

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