Monday, November 28, 2016

The Right Stuff: Rahim AlHaj and "Maqam Rast"

Albuquerque's immigrant son, Rahim AlHaj, brings us the random tune for today. Rahim Alhaj is an Iraqi-American oud player and composer living in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He began playing the oud at age nine and soon revealed a great talent for the instrument. A political activist against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, he was forced into political exile, first in Syria and Jordan and finally in the United States. Resettled in Albuquerque, he was told to report to a job. As an oud master, he assumed that he would be teaching music, and asked where the job was. "McDonalds," he was told. We think he was better off staying with his first love, music. He combines traditional Iraqi maqams with contemporary stylings and influences. This song, Maqam Rast, can be found on his 2013 album Journey.