Habibi Funk Previews Their Reissue of Issam Hajali's Early Work with "Intazirne" (premiere)

Before the vinyl reissuing of his rare, 1977 folk-jazz debut, Berlin-based Habibi Funk previews Issam Hajali's LP with "Intazirne".

In 1977, while exiled in Paris, Lebanese artist Issam Hajali assembled a band comprised of instrumentalists from France, Algeria, Iran, and Beirut. Only able to afford a single day in the studio, Hajali and company pieced together the bones of what would be his debut project. Eventually, Hajali returned to Beirut with the unfinished recordings in-hand, dubbing tapes himself for an initial run of less than 100 black-and-white copies. Titled Mouasalat Ila Jacad El Ard, the album has largely skated under the radar of audiences who have come to appreciate Hajali for his better-known work with the band Ferkat Al Ard. Now, record label Habibi Funk is shining a broader light on the album, reissuing it on vinyl for release on 22 November.

"Intazirne" showcases the early genius of Hajali's work as a composer. At first glance, the track unfurls as a folk number, prominently featuring Hajali's vocals alongside strummy acoustics that offer a fine backdrop to exhibit poetic lyricism. The song gradually sublets to jazzier inflections as it goes along, adding on layers of instrumental progressions that showcase Hajali's innate musicality. It isn't a wonder that when one of his original self-made tapes was brought to Ziad Rahbani, the latter would be inspired and that the two would later work together in Ferkat Al Ard.

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