Bennesbeh Labokra...Chou?

A 12 track middle east album (41m 37s) — released January 26th 2024 on Wewantsounds

When Ziad Rahbani released "Bennesbeh Labokra... Chou?" he was only 22 years old. He had started to make an impression on the Lebanese cultural scene a few years before, while still a teenager, composing and releasing albums under his own name. Born into an illustrious musical family - his mother is the legendary Lebanese Diva Fairuz and his father, Assi Rahbani, was a renowned composer and part of one of the most famous Lebanese groups, The Rahbani Brothers - Ziad quickly gained exposure as a gifted composer and producer. When his father fell ill in the mid 70s, he took over as Fairuz's producer which led to a fruitful collaboration starting with the 1979 album "Wahdon."

Highly influenced by other genres of music, Rahbani had started bringing modern western influences to traditional arabic music. 1978 saw the release of two key albums by the young musician, the Disco 12-inch "Abu Ali" which went on to become one of the most sought-after Arabic albums on the international DJ scene and "Bennesbeh Labokra... Chou?" which follows "Abu Ali" closely in many diggers' want-list.

A soundtrack to Rahbani's eponymous play, the album "Bennesbeh Labokra… Chou?" featuring vocals by famous Lebanese singer Joseph Sakr, gathers all the musical interludes heard during the play, a social diatribe about the Beirut society underlining the difficulties of living in the tense social and political climate of the Lebanese civil war. Written by and starring Rahbani, the play follows the everyday life and problems of a young couple running a cafe in the heart of Beirut. The play underlying Rahbani's leftist sensitivity was an immense success and the album was released the same year (the complete play was also released over three LPs).

"Bennesbeh Labokra… Chou?" is a skilful blend of Arabic music and Bossa-nova ("First Introduction" - the recurring theme of the album), groove with the funky beat of "Second Introduction" and the jazz vibe of "Variation 3" and "Variation 4." It's also interesting to hear an early version of "Al Bosta" which would grace Fairuz's 1979 album "Wahdon" in a faster, funkier version also produced by Rahbani." with a knack for cinematic orchestrations reminiscent of Lalo Schifrin, Ziad Rahbani also brings more complex arrangements to the album on such tracks as "Variation 5" making the album such a rich listening. Undoubtedly one of the most important albums recorded in the Middle East which Wewantsounds is glad to reissue in its full glory with remastered audio and original artwork.

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