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The music of the Rahim AlHaj Trio is inherently mystical and transportive, qualities undoubtedly owed to the group's instrumentation: the lute-like oud of AlHaj, Sourena Sefati's santour (a kind of hammered dulcimer), and the percussion of Issa Malluf. The trio brings authentic Middle Eastern music to its audiences, but not without influences from other cultural traditions as well. The compositions feature intricate melodies and vibrant rhythms that pulse with life. Now living in the United States, the Baghdad-born AlHaj possesses a distinctive artistic voice that honors his Iraqi heritage and reflects the richness of the American experience.

The Rahim AlHaj Trio performs Monday, September 18, at Eastman School of Music's Kilbourn Hall, 26 Gibbs Street. 8 p.m. $14-$29. 274-3000;;