Iraqi-born composer will bring his music to Music and Speech Building


A small piece of Iraqi culture comes to Kent tomorrow night as Rahim AlHaj takes the stage in the Music and Speech Building.

AlHaj, composer and master of the Iraqi oud, an 11-string lute, will speak and perform for students in the Carl F. W. Ludwig Recital Hall.

He was born in Iraq where he began playing the oud at a young age and later attended the Institute of Music in Baghdad. The oud itself has been a part of Middle-Eastern culture for roughly 5,000 years, originating in the Sumerian culture in Mesopotamia.

AlHaj left his home country in 1991 after being jailed for activism against Saddam Hussein and the Iran-Iraq War. After receiving his political refugee status, AlHaj moved to the United States in 2000.

AlHaj released his first album since coming to America in 2002, titled “The Second Baghdad.”

The performance will feature several of AlHaj’s compositions, including brief descriptions of the message behind his music.

The show is open to the public and is expected to start at 8 p.m.

—Greg Kupetz