Q: Who are you? A: I’m Nawar Al-Rufaie, aka Sandhill, a music producer/DJ from Montreal of Iraqi origin. I’m the son of Soumaya and Nizar, brother of Nagham and Nawaf.

Q: Can you describe your piece? A: “Blues for Ali Kinani” is an instrumental song dedicated to the late Ali Kinani, the youngest victim of the 2007 Nisour Square massacre in Baghdad carried out by mercenaries employed by private U.S. security company Blackwater.

16 other civilians tragically lost their lives that day, but Ali’s story really struck a chord with me after I read an article back in 2010 by Jeremy Scahill about Ali and his father Mohammed on that fateful day. Ali was only nine years old when he was killed.

Q: What’s the sample used in the piece? How did you choose it? A: Well, simply put, the section I sampled connected with me emotionally. I had to flip it immediately!

Q: Why did you make this piece? A: To be honest, i initially did not set out to record a song specifically about what happened, but the emotion in the piano sample i used is keenly poignant and reminded me of how i felt when i read about Ali. So i named it in his memory to help keep his name and story alive. Most of what’s been published about the massacre is about the perpetrators and their trials, not the victims. Plus, this past September 16 marked the eight-year anniversary of the event. I also wanted to bring attention to the fact this particular massacre is just one of many which have taken place.

Q: Where do you want it to be heard? A: Everywhere.

Q: Who do you want to hear it? A: Anyone who appreciates good music and ideally people who are not aware of Ali’s story.

Q: What else? Shakomako? A: New music. I’ve got two upcoming instrumental records. The first, which is complete, is a hip-hop album in the vein of Dilla’s ‘Donuts’ comprised of 25 or so short beats based on samples i have come across over the past 5 or 6 years. The second is a chobi-electronica EP inspired by traditional 70s and 80s era party music from Iraq.

Nawar Al-Rufaie

Follow Nawar’s music on Soundcloud.