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Iraqi oud player Rahim Alhaj to perform with Amaan & Ayaan Ali Khan in Delhi on Feb 27

Rahim Alhaj
Rahim Alhaj

Rahim Alhaj, the well-known Grammy-nominated Oud player from Iraq and sarod players Amaan and Ayaan Ali Khan will perform at a concert of Indo-Iraq fusion music here on February 27 under the auspices of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

Amaan and Ayaan are sons of amed sarod maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and are the seventh generation of the Senia Bangash musical lineage.
 
The three players of ancient stringed instruments will present "Ancient Sounds" in effort to bring together the musical heritage of their respective cultures in a contemporary way, resulting in a harmonious dialogue. 
 
They will be accompanied by Satyajit Talwalkar on the tabla and Chetan Rajbhatt on the dholak.
 
Rahim Alhaj and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan were nominated in 2010 for the Grammy Awards in the Best Traditional World Music category for their CD "Ancient Sounds".
 
According to an ICCR press release, the sarod has evolved from rubab, which is similar to the oud in character. It said the concert would demonstrate the musical synergy and commonality which exists between India and its neighboring region including Central Asia, Iraq and so on.
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"The project is yet another attempt by ICCR to demonstrate the larger cultural spectrum to which the region belongs," said ICCR Director General Suresh K Goel.
 
Alhaj was born in Baghdad and began playing the oud at age nine and displayed remarkable talent very early.
 
He studied under the renowned Munir Bashir, considered by many to be the greatest oud player ever, and Salim Abdul Kareem, at the Institute of Music in Baghdad.
 
Alhaj won various awards at the Conservatory and graduated in 1990 with a diploma in composition. He holds a degree in Arabic Literature from Mustunsariya University in Baghdad. 
 
In 1991, after the first Gulf War, Alhaj was forced to leave Iraq due to his activism against the Saddam Hussein regime and began his life in Jordan and Syria. He moved to the United States in 2000 as a political refugee and has resided in Albuquerque, NM ever since. He became a US citizen on August 15, 2008.
 
Alhaj has performed around the world and is considered one of the finest oud players in the world.  He has won many accolades and awards including two Grammy nominations.  He has recorded and performed with other master musicians of varied backgrounds and styles including American guitarist Bill Frisell, modern accordion innovator Guy Klucevsek and indy-rock pioneers REM.  He has composed pieces for solo oud, string quartet,symphony and beyond.  
 
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