The Bluesman of Baghdad


Friday, August 29, 2008

Guitarist Ghassan al Mosuli once played John Denver songs at the Saddam Hussein Cultural Center. Now he dreams of moving to the United States, to a rustic cabin in the mountains. But as an Iraqi refugee in Syria, he can’t get a visa. As Theo Padnos discovered, the uncertainty and displacement of wartime hasn’t curbed al Mosuli’s passion for American folk music.


Theo Padnos

Comments [18]

susanna smets from aleppo

Great piece and - having met only briefly with Ghassam and Theo in Damascus - wonderful to hear you play guitar and better understand your background and life. Looking forward to more pieces of Theo too

Jan. 26 2009 03:14 PM
fp from Canton

Thanks for sharing this wonderful music! Ahlan Ghassan plays one of the best guitar peices i ever heard! I loved hearing his music and journey!!

Sep. 03 2008 08:52 AM
fp from Canton

I loved This story more than most of the other 360s!!! :)

Sep. 03 2008 08:50 AM
fp from Canton

Great Story!! Amazing! I cant believe how touching this was

Sep. 03 2008 08:41 AM
Lyn from Michigan

Ghassan- You rock! Everyone else: here is where you can hear more of Ghassan's music.

Meet you in the USA!

Aug. 31 2008 10:19 PM
Kseniya from belmont, ca

It was a real treat to hear this story, with what snippets of song it included.
Is there somewhere on the internet where we can hear more of Ghassan's music? he is truly talented, and I really hope he'll make it to Montana someday.
As a Russian immigrant in a America, I highly empathize with his "American Dream." though we come from very different background, I share his belief in the land of opportunity, this free land.

also, Ghassan - you might want to make a myspace music profile? Your songs would reach a lot of people there.


Aug. 31 2008 02:13 PM
APB from Sweden

Despite the somber subject, it was great to hear Ghassan talking in his own way about his troubled background, situation, dreams and the pull and significance western music has had in all of this. Interesting and sobering interview.

Wishing that all yours hopes and dreams come true in the not too distant future.

See you around at in the meantime.


Aug. 31 2008 03:47 AM
Sarah from Norfolk, VA

I absolutely LOVED hearing this great man's journey. Any idea on how to get in touch with him? I'd love to send him some music.


Aug. 30 2008 06:04 PM
Susan Chenard from Connecticut

Ahlan Ghassan,

Thank you for sharing your wonderful music with us this morning. I grew up playing John Denver's Country Road, Take Me Home and The House of the Rising Sun over and over and over again on my guitar- especially while I was away from home while living in the Gulf. It's incredible that you played those two songs for the show today.

I hope -like the other listeners - that you will join us in the States some day soon.


Aug. 30 2008 08:28 AM

Feter, hearing this interview made my day. Keep your hopes my friend.

As Salam Alaikum

Aug. 29 2008 10:08 PM
Rebsie Fairholm from Cheltenham, UK

Ghassan, I can't tell you how wonderful it is to hear you speaking after listening for so long to the voice of Mr Sanchez. I wish you every blessing in following your chosen path in life. You know you can do it.


Aug. 29 2008 05:27 PM
Peter Schalck from usa

Great interview! I wish you the best in your dreams to journey across the pond and make a life here n the US.

Pete ( aka FlatRock2)

Aug. 29 2008 02:57 PM
Guy Groves from Calgary Alberta Canada

I enjoyed this interview, and I am hoping and praying you make it to Bozeman. You might consider Alberta Canada too because it is basically "northern Montana" ;o) I truly am honored to know you my friend, and I am really happy to have caught this interview. I feel I am closer to you now. Good luck my friend you are in my prayers.

Aug. 29 2008 01:14 PM
Stratcat from Illinois


I had no idea this was your background. I'm proud to have done a collab with you via the internet. This was a wonderful story, and I hope you can get to the USA to realize your dreams.

See you at Macjams


Aug. 29 2008 10:23 AM
Bajih from Michigan

You are absolutely wonderful and I pray that things work out and all your dreams come true. Your story will not end in Syria. You have too many people praying for your journey home to the USA.

See you in Bozeman.

Aug. 29 2008 01:16 AM
Evolvweb (Tobin Meyer) from Bellingham, WA


This was amazing. You are amazing. We will always rally behind you in whatever you may endeavor to do in life. I look forward to writing more music with you whether you are in Syria or in Montana (and maybe you will even visit Bellingham one day)!

All my best,
Tobin (evolvweb) Meyer
Bellingham, WA

Aug. 29 2008 12:15 AM
Jack Miller from Santa Barbara, CA


This was a joy as I listened to this interview. It only increases my hope for you that somehow a door will be opened for you to enter the U.S. Until then... more music collaborations and God be with you! See you at MacJams.

You are in my thoughts and prayers.

Jack Miller/Dadai

Aug. 28 2008 08:50 PM
Roxylee from Rhinebeck, NY

This was very exciting for me to listen to, having had the pleasure of doing song collabs with Ghassan via the Internet. I'm amazed at the knowledge of American music Ghassan has. He is a very gifted musician and songwriter, and I hope to be able to sing with him in person one day soon.

Aug. 28 2008 08:42 PM

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