Alhaj, Rahim : Home Again
'Home Again is about the longed-for journey that I undertook in February, 2004 after the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq. It was a journey back to my homeland of Iraq and my family home in Baghdad after 13 years of exile in Jordan, Syria, and the United States. During this first leg of the journey, 'going home', I spent one wonderful and terrible month in an Iraq that I couldn't recognize; an Iraq destroyed by the two Gulf Wars and by the intervening years of harsh sanctions. People and places dear to me were either palpably damaged or completely destroyed. I learned of my father's death since I had left, as well as the destruction of my beloved Baghdad Institute of Music where I had studied under the great Munir Bashir. I also spent infinitely precious times with my dear mother and sisters and brothers, nephews and nieces and friends. These were times of healing and reconnecting--of sharing their pain and dreams and lives again. And then it was time to say good-bye, wonder who I would never see again (my mother died a few months after I left) and come 'home again' to my dearly loved, newly-adopted home of Albuquerque, New Mexico' --Rahim Alhaj From Home Again Liner Notes... 'Home Again continues the remarkable CD listening journey that Rahim Alhaj has offered his world audience since settling in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2000. This deeply personal and poetic recording, like the Second Baghdad (2002), Iraqi Music in a Time of War (2003), Friendship (2005), and When the Soul is Settled (2006), documents the passion of an Iraqi musician to turn the pains of refugee life into an act of global citizenship. In composition after composition, we hear Rahim grapple with place and memory, with sound and sentiment. His ability to musically reside in multiple realities is a grand testimony to the power of musical cosmopolitanism in these times.' Steven Feld, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Music, The University of New Mexico Review on Back Cover of the CD by Bill Frisell 'Music is Good. I feel lucky to have heard Rahim Alhaj. His music is beautiful, mysterious, and powerful. I've never heard anything like it. He has his own voice--his own sound. As the world becomes more and more complicated, confusing, and frightening, there is one thing I am certain of--Music is good. Music can bring people together. Music has power. Music heals. What Rahim is doing is important. I hope many people will have the chance to hear his new album, Home Again, made up of his own very personal compositions. Listen. He's an inspiration. Music is good.--Bill Frisell.