Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Letter 1. Eastern Love – Sinan
Letter 2. Forbidden Attraction – Tiama
Letter 3. Running Boy – Fuad
Letter 4. The Last Time We Will Fly Birds – Riyadh
Letter 5. Going Home – Rahim
Letter 6. Unspoken Word – Laila
Letter 7. Fly Home – Fatima
Letter 8. Voices to Remember – Zainab

“The album is quite elegant and strikingly beautiful at times, built as it is on a series of instrumental tone poems. But the true stories behind these compositions are chilling. They paint pictures of ordinary people whose lives are damaged by constant warfare. Opening tracks “Eastern Love-Sinan” and “Forbidden Attraction-Tiama” focus on two lovers—one a Shiite Muslim, the other a Sunni—torn apart by sectarian violence, unable even to meet in person. There’s no attempt here at sensationalism. Alhaj focuses as much on the small things torn from people during war, as on the larger moments of impending death that scar the psyche.” – Devon Leger, Paste Magazine