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Music of Iraq Comes to MLS Libraries
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Every fall, your Metropolitan Library System takes you on a magic carpet ride to some of the world’s most exotic musical destinations.  This year, pack your bags for The Music of Iraq.

“Music of Iraq” will be presented by Rahim Alhaj and Souhail Kaspar.  Allhai plays an ancient pear-shaped forerunner of the lute called an “oud,” and Kaspar is a virtuoso percussionist.  The series begins on Sunday, November 8 and continues through Friday, November 13 at eight MLS library locations.

“I am as excited to bring these outstanding musicians to our libraries,” said MLS Director of Outreach Services Dana Morrow, “as I have ever been to present any musicians here.  It’s not often you can say without hyperbole that someone does what he does better than anyone else in the world, but I’m saying it now.”

The musicians are from Iraq and Lebanon.  Rahim AlHaj was born in Baghdad, Iraq and he began playing the oud at age nine. In 1991, after the first Gulf War, Mr. 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 US in 2000 as a political refugee and has resided in Albuquerque, NM ever since.  He will be

accompanied by Lebanon-born and Grammy-nominated Souhail Kaspar, Master Percussionist. A true virtuoso, his ability to improvise and embellish the rhythmic patterns of Arabic music, as well as his knowledge of ethnic musical history make him one of the most highly acclaimed performers and instructors of our day.  His impressive body of recorded work includes soundtrack credits for the movies “The Prince of Egypt,” “Sinbad” and “Scooby-Doo in Egypt.” He has been featured on many CDs including “Caravan” with the cutting edge Kronos Quartet.

Here is the schedule for “Music of Iraq” concerts:

Sunday, November 8, 2pm at the Downtown Library, 300 Park Avenue (231-8650)

Monday, November 9, 1pm at the Edmond Library, 10 S. Boulevard (341-9282)

Monday, November 9, 7pm at the Midwest City Library, 8143 E. Reno (732-4828)

Tuesday, November 10, 7pm at the Bethany Library, 3510 N. Mueller (789-8363)

Wednesday, November 11, 10:30am at the Del City Library, 4509 SE 15th (672-1377)

Thursday, November 12, 1pm at the Warr Acres Library, 5901 NW 63rd (721-2616)

Thursday, November 12, 7pm at the  Belle Isle Library, 5501 N. Villa (843-9601)

Friday, November 13, 2pm at The Village Library, 10307 N. Pennsylvania (755-0710)

“Music of Iraq” is co-sponsored by the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma Arts

Council, National Endowment for the Arts.

The Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County includes 12 libraries and five extension libraries.  Libraries include Belle Isle, Capitol Hill, Ralph Ellison, Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and Southern Oaks in Oklahoma City, as well as Bethany, Choctaw, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Village and Warr Acres.  Extensions are located in the communities of Harrah, Jones, Luther and Nicoma Park and include Wright Library in Oklahoma City.  You can also reach us at www.metrolibrary.org.