Ziad Rahbani - Bennesbeh Labokra... Chou? LP


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Label: Wewantsounds

Wewantsounds present a reissue of Ziad Rahbani's cult album, Bennesbeh Labokra... Chou? released in Lebanon only and mixing Arabic music with jazz, bossa nova, and other western influences. Curated by Lebanese-born music expert Mario Choueiry from Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris, the album is reissued on vinyl for the first time since 1978. 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" "Abu Ali" which went on to become one of the most sought-after Arabic albums on the international DJ scene and Bennesbeh Labokra... Chou?. A soundtrack to Rahbani's eponymous play, the album 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 skillful blend of Arabic music and bossa nova, groove with funky beats, and jazz. It's interesting to hear an early version of "Al Bosta" which would grace Fairuz's 1979 album Wahdon in a faster, funkier version. With a knack for cinematic orchestrations reminiscent of Lalo Schifrin, Rahbani also brings more complex arrangements to the album.