Ottmar Liebert releases collaboration with Iraqi oud player Rahim Alhaj
Middle Eastern influences are already present in the flamenco music that is at the core of Ottmar Liebert‘s sound. He explores those themes even more thoroughly on Under the Rose, a collaboration with Iraqi oud player Rahim Alhaj. It’s more than just duets. Liebert brings in his rhythm section while his production creates a seductive, nocturnal atmosphere around these pieces, adding slight effects like backward guitar punctuations to melodic trade-offs between Liebert and Alhaj on the title track. Liebert explores Middle Eastern exotica on “A Storm Approaches.” Over a rolling caravan groove, synthesizers swirl in the background while Liebert improvises on wah-wah electric guitar with punctuations from Alhaj. None of the tracks get all that fiery in either a flamenco or Middle Eastern sense, hewing to the slow tempo burn Liebert has favored for years.
Under the Rose is available as a free download from ottmarliebert.com, and comes with beautiful, printable artwork. But the disc is also a benefit CD for Direct Aid Iraq. Direct Aid Iraq (DAI) is a network of Iraqis, Americans, and others supporting a future of peace for Iraq through providing aid, facilitating cooperation, engaging in advocacy, and providing education. DAI is a program of the Middle East Cultural and Charitable Society, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization registered in the United States. So give ’em some money if you want to support the cause.
Personally, I think Liebert has made a mistake putting Under the Rose out as a free download. It’s among his best CDs and the dual leads between guitar and oud bring a new dimension to his already hybrid flamenco fusion.
John Diliberto ((( echoes )))