Monday Andalusia

02009-08-03 | Music | 12 comments

Return to Andalusia, Rahim AlHaj, OL, Jon Gagan + Barrett Martin. I gave this song away for my birthday this year. The album will be released in September. (((or October?)))

For those who missed the chance, or who would like a higher quality music file – you can download a 320kbps mp3 file here.

The album is on track for a release in October. The music will be available on CD from Rahim’s label (((I will publish a link when the album becomes available, for those who prefer a CD))), and as a free download from a dedicated web-page and from the LL – with a suggestion and link to donate to an Iraqi charity. Here is what the cover will look like:

From the liner notes:

The deep and soulful sound of Spanish flamenco is rooted in a unique series of historical events and cultural overlaps that stretch across centuries, reaching from India to the New World—none more important than the Moorish conquest of the Iberian peninsula in the eighth century.

Early in the Moors’ reign, an illustrious Iraqi oud player, Ziryab, fled Baghdad in fear for his life, as the story goes, and migrated to Córdoba, a cultural center of Al-Andalus (Andalusia). He brought with him a profound musical heritage and a host of innovations that laid the foundation for Spanish music. Among many other things, he initiated an evolutionary process that led to the development of the modern flamenco guitar.

The circle has come round again, and another illustrious Iraqi oud player, Rahim AlHaj, has fled political tyranny in Baghdad, carrying with him an ancient musical heritage and a head full of innovative ideas. Among those ideas is his determination to engage players across a wide range of musical genres to explore the common language of music, which reflects our common humanity.

On Under the Rose, AlHaj combines with the world-renowned guitarist Ottmar Liebert to unite the ancestral Iraqi tradition with modern flamenco, celebrating and exploring the family connections. Liebert, who has incorporated his own innovative ideas into the vocabulary of flamenco—bringing electric bass, synthesizer, electronics, drum kit, and more into the mix—proves a compelling musical foil to the ancient sound of the oud and AlHaj’s contemporary approach to the instrument.

Ably assisted by Jon Gagan (bass, keyboard), who also produced the CD, finding just the right textures and contexts to illuminate this unique pairing, and Barrett Martin (percussion), these two musical masters bring a fresh perspective to flamenco that echoes its distant past while perhaps anticipating its future. Whether playing in call and response (“The Coin”), weaving two lines together in a rhythmic dance (“A Storm Approaches”), experimenting with electronic embellishments (“Return to Andalusia”), or hewing closer to tradition (“Under the Rose”)—AlHaj and Liebert display a rare musical simpatía that bridges cultures and genres.

This collection of 10 tracks—all collaboratively composed by the four players—offers a deep-soothing balm for the listener. From the most energetic to the most profoundly contemplative, each track takes the ears on a short, refreshing journey that reaffirms music’s magical powers and the virtuosity of these splendid musicians.

But it does more, as well. All proceeds from this CD will be donated by UR Music to the Iraq xxxxxxxxxxx (; in support of its heroic efforts to restore hope for the tens of thousands of Iraqi children whose lives have been devastated by violence, whether through the loss of home or family or through injury and disability.

Under the Rose, then, offers a deeply satisfying experience for the listener, the knowledge that each of us can make a difference, and the hope that we can all live in a world free from fear and violence and overflowing with compassion.

—Mel Minter

According to the final cover art Rahim picked this charity: Direct Aid Iraq –

The CD will be available from Rahim and 320kbps mp3 files of all ten songs will be available for free (donation suggested) from a website Canton and I will assemble. Not sure what the actual release date of the CD will be, but we will have the website up at the beginning of October.


  1. Carol

    What a beautiful gift you give, and you allow others to experience your music and get the chance to give too. That is pretty keen!

  2. dave

    It’s been a long time since you four worked on this. Great to see that this will finally be available. I’ll definitely order a cd.

  3. yumi

    Beautiful music and wonderful news. High regards to each of the artists.

  4. marijose

    What is there not to love about this collaboration? Another reason to look forward to Autumn.

  5. Victor

    Hi I tried to download the 320kbps version and it said it is no longer available.

  6. Ottmar

    Victor: Thanks for letting me know! The link had expired but it is fixed now. Enjoy.

  7. LindaW

    Victor, I had that problem as well, but in the future if this happens you can also right click the link and choose “Save As”: it will download the file.

    Thanks for fixing the download Ottmar!

    I LOVE the album art! (I will buy the CD just for this)

  8. Brenda

    Kindness of an open heart produces music that heals.

  9. Luz

    I too am mesermized by the album art! Would make for very nice posters, which I would gladly purchase–perhaps making another contribution to the designated charity. Am listening to the titled song on iTunes as I type this and very much looking forward to the release of the CD. As Marijose mentioned…”can’t wait for autumn”!

  10. Ottmar

    Glad you like it, Luz. I had nothing to do with the cover. I think that while it might look good on a wall, it makes for a bad CD cover. The size is wrong, the colors will not turn out well once printed etc.

    It’s strange that there are two releases in 2009, where I had nothing to do with the cover – the “Spanish Sun” compilation and “Under the Rose”. It’s interesting to let go of that process. Neither cover is anything I would have come up with.

  11. Vic

    Great song… appreciate the free download. Thanks!

  12. Ulrich

    I heard OL playing guitar (solo in 2008) and I heard the oud: in this combination it’s great.
    When/where do you play live together?


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