Rahim AlHaj, Oud
Rahim AlHaj is a globally recognized, Grammy-nominated master of the oud. The oud, a grandfather of all stringed instruments, is rooted in the ancient traditions of Middle East and North Africa. Iraqi-bornAlHaj’s compelling life story infuses his playing with a distinct gravity. A musician since the age of nine, AlHaj became involved in the revolutionary movement, writing protest songs opposing Saddam Hussein’s regime. After twice being imprisoned, he was forced to flee Iraq in 1991, ultimately finding a home in the United States as a political refugee. Now a US citizen, he’s released 10 albums and tours the world with his harmonious blend of tradition and new work.
In 2015 Rahim was awarded the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship, the highest honor for traditional arts in the country.
Rahim AlHaj Trio: Middle Eastern Music from New Mexico
Do Good By Doing
This season, many of The Clarice's artists are working to raise awareness of a multitude of pressing social issues, including the environment, human trafficking, race relations, homelessness and much more. We stand by their efforts and deeply believe in the power of the arts enact change.
Rahim became aware of injustice in Iraqi society under the repressive Ba’athist regime began at a very young age. While in college, he became active in the underground revolutionary movement. Indeed, AlHaj gave that movement its anthem, setting to music a poem written by a friend. His song Why gave voice to ordinary people’s dissatisfaction with the regime and was sung with seditious relish across the country. Today, AlHaj continues his journey of determined optimism, seeking to bring the world to a compassionate understanding of our shared destiny and to give the oppressed a voice for justice. Information about how to help Iraqi refugees can be found here.
He has also been awarded for his work towards peace from Veterans for Peace.
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