An Iraq-born folk musician wrote a song once while staying in Hyattsville.
Rahim AlHaj studied music at a conservatory in Baghdad in the late 1980s, learning composition as well as oud-playing. After the first Gulf War, he was forced to leave the country because of his activism against Saddam Hussein. He eventually settled in New Mexico and became a U.S. citizen.
Called “Morning in Hyattsville,” that song got its start early one morning in a Maryland friend’s backyard as a call and response between AlHaj on his oud and a mockingbird hidden in the trees.
Given the song and the Baghdad connection he shares with Busboys and Poets owner Andy Shallal, AlHaj seems like a great choice for a booking in Hyattsville.
You can listen to a snippet of the song on iTunes here.