File under lame…

It appears that SoundCloud has changed their rules overnight and disabled downloading of the tracks from Under the Rose. We are looking into an alternative – and I would also like to offer a lossless download option.

PS: I uploaded to zipped folders. One contains the ten songs in 16/44.1 FLAC format, and the other contains the songs in 320kbps mp3 format. The links will be added to the webpage soon.

The FLAC Folder is shared here (281 MB)

The mp3 Folder is shared here (114 MB)

Under the Rose

under the rose :: rahim alhaj ; ottmar liebert ; jon gagan ; barrett martin

Album Webpage

The webpage is live now. You can download the music for free, but the musicians involved in the making of this recording invite you to make a tax deductible contribution to Direct Aid Iraq. Read more at the webpage:

I hope you will help me spread the word about the album! It is very easy to embed the music on your blog or website, using the SoundCloud widget. Just go to our webpage and click on the embed symbol. It looks like this – I encircled it in red in this screenshot:

That will bring up these options:


Monday Andalusia

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.

Monday Music

Under the Rose
Rahim AlHaj – Oud
OL – Flamenco Guitar
Jon Gagan – Bass + Keybaords
Barrett Martin – drums + percussion

Produced by Jon Gagan @ The Electric Company (((Jon also recorded, edited, mixed and mastered the music!! What a guy!!))

Download the 320kbps mp4 file here.

I will leave to have breakfast with Rahim and Jon in a few minutes. Stevo and Rusty will arrive today  and rehearsals will start tomorrow.

A few hours later:
Had a great meeting with Rahim and Jon. I had been pushing to release the album we recorded a while ago as a free download on a dedicated web-page that would also have links to a few, maybe three, Iraqi charities, with the suggestion to donate whatever amount people were willing to give. Rahim wants to a have an actual CD out, and we agreed that we could very well do both. The income from the sale of the CD would go to Iraqi charities as well and the musicians agreed not to take any money. As a tentative release date for the CD and the download-web-page early September was suggested. Under the Rose would be the first piece on the album and possible the title track. I suggested adding Arabic calligraphy to the English title, possibly the Arabic word for Peace. The title Under the Rose was suggested by me and alludes to Sufi history. Sufi masters had regular lives, regular jobs – they were often Stone Masons – and often had families. They did not live in temples or cloisters or centers, but taught small groups in their personal homes. For hundreds of years a rose above the entrance to a house was the sign that a Sufi master lived and taught at that location.

Rahim has been working on a Sufi-themed album for his own label for release next year, and the three of us will record a track for it at Jon’s studio sometime in April. Recently Rahim recorded another track for that album with Toumani Diabate, the great (((greatest))) Kora player and one of my favorite musicians – see my Diary. I think every track on that album will feature different musicians, including small and large orchestras around the world. Sounds like a wonderful project.


I want to celebrate my birthday by giving away music. The piece I shall offer in our ListeningLounge – only from January 29th through February 4th – is a piece that came on the wings of… something. We had stopped recording and Jon was doing something in the control room. I started playing guitar and Rahim began to sing , well, here is a link to my Diary entry from the day after it happened.

I think this piece is an appropriate gift, because it was also a gift to us, in a way. Improvisations like this are the reason why I wanted to become a musician in the first place, to hunt for similar moments of spontaneous combustion.

Jon later added the beautiful bass intro.

Visit the LL on Thursday morning and feel free to tell your friends.

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