Love and loss. Home and hope. Iraqi-American composer and oud player, Rahim AlHaj and percussionist Nicholas Baker joins NZSQ and double bassist, Joan Perarnau Garriga, with Letters from Iraq.
AlHaj’s musical response expressing 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.
AlHaj, a man with first-hand knowledge of oppression under Saddam Hussein’s regime and a deep love for the people of his native Iraq, tells a specific tale with each piece. To listen is to experience the reality of a nation, to feel heartbreak, loss, and the day-to-day journeys of so many Iraqi citizens. An inspired and loving tribute to people in dire conditions, but who still press forward.
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 works are of deep emotion and great beauty, melding mastery of Iraqi and Western classical genres alike to form something entirely new.