Went to see Rahim AlHaj at GIG this evening. I took the above photo during soundcheck. He was in great form and played from 8PM until a quarter past 10PM. A new song called “Iraqi Lullaby” was especially beautiful, I thought, as Rahim sang along with the oud-melody. The combination of the quick-dying ephemeral sound of the oud with the voice was wonderful.
Another highlight of the evening was the very last piece. Rahim showed the audience a little riff and said that after he performs a little intro he will play this riff at which point he would like people to call out any Middle Eastern or Arabic country and he will play a traditional melody from that country that fits the maqam. I think we had “traveled” through 8 or 9 countries by the time the music stopped.
Afterwards we went to the only restaurant in Santa Fe open past 10PM, the Atomic Grill.
Barrett announced that our album (Rahim AlHaj, Jon Gagan, Barrett Martin and myself) will be released on March 11, 2008. I told Rahim I would like us to come up with song-titles that resonate with Naruda and Rumi or Hafiz – a friend gave me “I heard God laughing” by Hafiz while I was in Miami, and I am enjoying the book very much.
Other Rahim AlHaj news:
– in August Rahim will record a duet-album with Bill Frisell
– in September Rahim will record an album with a Sufi theme and four percussionists
– in November a new solo album will be released by Fast Horse and will also be available from the LL. (In fact Barrett and I are talking about adding all of the Fast Horse catalog to the LL.)