In 1978, Lebanese band Ferkat Al Ard released their debut album Oghneya in Beirut. It was a groundbreaking release that brought together Lebanese folk music, Arabic strings, Brazilian bossanova and jazz (mainly fusion) into a gloriously lush sound that requires the listener to reconsider Lebanese music. Brazil in Beirut? How did that happen?
The cover of Oghneya. (Photo: John Clewley)
The good folks at the Habibi Funk label recently reissued the album to wide acclaim. The label is dedicated to recovering and reissuing Arabic funk, soul and jazz from the 1960s to 1980s to international audiences. Readers may remember a recent review of the Habibi Funk compilation The King Of Sudanese Jazz on the work of singer and guitarist Sharhabil Ahmed.
Ferkat Al Ard was a trio led by Issam Hajali and supported by his friends Toufic Farroukh and Elie Saba….