Monday, October 11, 2010

CD Review: Rahim Alhaj's 2-CD Set

Little Earth
UR Music

New Mexico-based, Iraqi-American Rahim Alhaj, is a composer, oud player, and pigeon farmer. The musical spirit of the Middle East is brought to life with help from various artists, including Bill Frisell, Peter Buck, Robert Mirabal, Glen Velez, Maria de Barros, Liu Fang, Stephen Kent, Yacouba Sissoko, Hossein Omoumi, and others. The Grammy-nominated Rahim provides written compositions with little in the way of improvisation. Disc one only contains one vocal track, which is sung in Portuguese by Cape Verde's Maria de Barros. The remainder of the disc contains instrumental works with classical Arabic percussion, along with kora, sitar and guitar. The varied instrumentation and diversity of the musicians signifies a unification of musical development and performance across cultures. Disc two continues the musical diversity with didjeridoo, pipa, Native American flute, and Iranian ney flute. Rahim's collaboration with Southwest musicians and others from aroudn the world clearly illustrate the world of music. In effect, Little Earth is symbolic for the close interconnectedness of human society. Liner notes include artist biographies and song information in English. ~ Matthew Forss

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