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CMNZ presents Letters from Iraq

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“Unique combination of traditional and innovative performance techniques. AlHaj’s spontaneous inventions are constantly fascinating.”
– Los Angeles Times

Love and loss. Home and hope. Grammy-winning Iraqi-American composer and oud player, Rahim AlHaj leads the New Zealand String Quartet, double bassist Joan Perarnau Garriga and percussionist Justin DeHart to perform Letters from Iraq.

AlHaj, a man with first-hand knowledge of oppression and torture under Saddam Hussein’s regime and a deep love for the people of his native Iraq, recounts a specific story with each piece. To listen is to experience the heartbreak, loss, and day-to-day journeys of so many Iraqi citizens. An inspired and loving tribute to people in dire conditions, who still press forward.

String Quartet, op. 11

Dream (solo oud)

Letters from Iraq
Letter 1. Eastern Love – Sinan
Letter 2. Forbidden Attraction – Tiama
Letter 3. Running Boy – Fuad
Letter 4. The Last Time We Will Fly Birds – Riyadh
Letter 6. Unspoken Word – Laila
Letter 7. Fly Home – Fatima

Rahim AlHaj oud
Justin DeHart hand percussion
Helene Pohl violin
Monique Lapins violin
Gillian Ansell viola
Rolf Gjelsten cello
Joan Perarnau Garriga double bass

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