This is the sound of <3 Break! This is the sound of Lebanese Love Songs from the 80’s!
This mixtape premiered in the brilliant Middle Eastern & North African playlist in The Guardian, go and check out what they had to say.
Here’s what I have to say:
I find 80’s Lebanese music some of the most romantic I have ever heard and it appeals to my heart and mind and never ceases to astound me with its beauty!
80’s Lebanese music is still considered by many in the Arab world as part of The Golden Age of Lebanese Music! Indeed, in the 80’s many Lebanese artists duplicated the essence of their musical heritage from earlier decades but this time they imbued it with western inspiration and included western instruments like the electric guitar and electronic drums. It was an exciting time as the past fused with the present to showcase the future!
To me it still sounds so timeless and futuristic whilst at the same time sounding authentic, classical and (welcomingly) dated too!
This mix that I did contains many styles from classical styles through to western fusion. In a lot of the tracks you’ll hear early incantations of popular American R&B, lush orchestral ballads, torch songs, bellydance songs and tracks with shades of Reggaeton and even TechnoBrega of all things!
When you are growing up and getting into music and live in one part of the world, unfortunately it sometimes means that you do not get to hear the Ronettes, Frank Sinatra’s, George Michael’s and Shakira’s of the other part of the world. Lebanon has its own Ronettes, Sinatra’s, Michael’s and Shakira’s and most of us never knew that.
I mention the Ronettes as there’s some tracks on this mixtape by Lebanese girl groups that echo with hues of them, evoking the same spirit, subject matters and the same teen heartbreak!
Sinatra because there’s an awesome Lebanese cover of one of his most famous tracks and George Michael too because a couple of the tracks kind of remind me of his moods, most notably of the “Careless Whisper” variety.
I mention Shakira because she has a dual Colombian and Lebanese heritage, the latter via her father. You could probably have guessed that already from seeing her dance, we all know about her dancing, but you can hear it in her music too. Her biggest hit and one of the world’s biggest ever singles (and one of my personal faves) “Hips Don’t Lie” is often cited as containing a horn sample from a 1992 Spanish song “Amores Como el Nuestro” by Jerry Rivera.
However, to me, that same horn sample has always sounded strikingly Lebanese! The sample sounds very similar to one contained in a 1980’s Lebanese song, “Ta’a Ninsa Keef Ikberna”. You can hear it around the 41 minute mark in my mix. Btw, I have no idea who the artist is. It is possible that Shakira probably first heard it from amongst her paternal family’s music collection and it struck a familiar chord with her.
So you have more than just a hint of Lebanon via the roots of the artist in one of the world’s biggest hit songs. You also have the “actual sound” of 80’s Lebanon too!
I had over 1000 (one-thousand) tracks to choose from in my collection which I narrowed down to 20 for this mix. They’re some of the ones that appealed most to my sensibilities and personal tastes! I have not included a track list because I never usually do with any of my Arabic mixes because this music is extra special to me and I’m quite possessive over it. If you’re interested in this stuff, start digging, it’s not that hard to find and it’s what DJ’s/music lovers do!
You do not have to understand the Arabic language to fall in love with a lot of these tunes! Indeed, the Arabic Voice and its music is some of the most beautiful & heart-breaking in the whole world, it’s just that many of you don’t know it, just yet!
As usual, recorded live on CDJ’s with manual mixing and with no pre or post production work. Basically, a live DJ mix, like all my mixes are.