Lesson 5: Iraq

This week in music class we have a mission to accomplish–we’re going to Iraq! We’re not going to land in Iraq with any preconceptions of how the Iraqis will greet us…we wouldn’t do anything like that…. We’re just going there to learn, explore and experience the music and culture of this distant nation which, despite its recent rough years, really does have so much offer.

HISTORY: In the United States we may not hear about Iraq on the news as much as we did for the many years of active War, but when Iraq was front and center in every single news report for years and years and years…you’d think we would have all become experts in Iraqi history, geography, politics, culture………. Nope.

MUSIC: Classical Iraqi music, like much Arab classical music, is deeply passionate, poetic and has a complex internal structure based on “maqams,” interlocking scales (for those familiar with musical terminology, more like “modes“) that indicate a relationship of notes that creates a particular desired emotion or mood….

HACHA’A: In class we’re going to explore a disappearing style of Iraqi dance, one that has deep roots in the Roma/Gypsy village of Qawliya…a village that the Shiite Mahdi Army of Moqtada Sadr demolished in 2004….

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