Ferkat Al Ard - Oghneya - Artists Ferkat Al Ard Genre Lebanon, Jazz, Folk Release Date 22 Jul 2022 Cat No. HABIBI0191 Format 12" Vinyl - Habibi Funk - Habibi Funk - Habibi Funk - Habibi Funk - Vinyl Record

Ferkat Al Ard - Oghneya

LABEL:   Habibi Funk

ARTISTS: Ferkat Al Ard
RELEASE DATE: 2022-07-20
FORMAT: 12" Vinyl
STYLE: Lebanon, Jazz, Folk

An absolutely legendary album from Lebanon by Issam Hajali's group Ferkat Al Ard, "Oghneya" stands out as one of the great musical gems of the Arab world. A groundbreaking release from 1978 that represents the meeting point of Arab, jazz, folk and Brazilian styles with the talent of Ziad Rahbani, who did the albums arrangements. Filled with a variety of sounds and genres, from Baroque Pop to Psych-Folk to flashes of Bossa Nova, Tropicalia and MPB, "Oghneya" is like if Arthur Verocai took a trip to Beirut in the 70's to record an album.

In 2015 we heard Ferkat Al Ard's music for the first time, a Lebanese trio compromised of Issam Hajali, Toufic Farroukh and Elia Saba. It was a stunningly unique release that blends traditional Arabic elements, jazz and Brazilian rhythms hand in hand with poetic-yet-politically engaged lyrics. The band was active in the left-wing movement of Lebanon of the time and they communicated their political ideas candidly through their songwriting.

In our mind the idea was to see whether Issam was interested in re-releasing "Oghneya." He was not opposed to it, but also made it clear that it was not his priority for a first project. He suggested we start with his first album, before Ferkat Al Ard was formed, "Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard," which was recorded in 1977 in Paris together with his friend Roger Fakhr (whose work we have been privileged to re-release in the meantime as well.) "Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard" is melancholic, stripped-down, guitar-based folk intertwined with jazz-fused breaks, and the unique sound of the santour glistens through. While the music is very accessible, some song structures are rather atypical, neglecting common patterns of verse, hook, verse, hook. The lyrics mostly trace back to the poetic work of Palestinian author Samih El Kasem, with one song also written by Issam, who composed the music for the whole album.

We re-released Issam's "Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard" in 2019 to a great reception, with positive reviews all over the place and an ongoing appreciation for the album. This meant it was time for us to undertake an "Oghneya" re-release again!

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