Rahim AlHaj performing "Eastern Love" from his upcoming release "Letters from Iraq" on Smithsonian Folkways.
Letters from Iraq expresses the love and pain of lives lived by the people of war-torn Iraq. Actual mailed letters and their stories are transposed into eight gripping programmatic compositions by Iraqi-American composer and oud player, Rahim AlHaj with string quintet (2 violins, viola, cello, contrabass) and percussion. He says, “Music can make us laugh, make us cry, make us march into war. I want to make music to make us realize peace.” These recordings are of deep emotion and great beauty, melding mastery of Iraqi and Western classical genres alike to form something entirely new