Improvisational Oud music based on Iraqi traditions, accompanied sometimes by basic percussion. Great stuff –peaceful and meditative. Each piece is based on a traditional maqam, where maqam is a musical system (scale, melodic formulae, mood), which is similar conceptually to the Indian Raga. Each piece begins with an introduction to the maqam, followed by the main improvisational part (taqsim; quite modern in its approach) and ends with the instrumental version of the corresponding traditional song. Classically-trained Alhaj (Arab Classic) left Iraq in 1990 for Jordan and later Syria, and moved to the US in 2000, currently living in New Mexico.
1. Mid-tempo. Percussion (Tambourine) enters at 4:51.
2. Slow, sad and sparse, accompanied by Tambourine. Gets faster at 3:30.
*3. Mid-tempo with some sparser parts. Very atmospheric Arab music. Percussion joins at 5:50 with a rapid belly-dancing (sort of) bounce.
4. Slow to begin and reflective, percussion joins at 5:46 with a mid-tempo rhythm.
*6. Slow and plaintive. Solemn percussion joins at 4:58.
7. Rhythmic yet solemn opening, tense developing with up and down scales.
8. Relatively fast, almost belly-dancing-like.
9. Slow and grieving.