Ernesto Chahoud

Ernesto Chahoud presents Middle Eastern Heavens : Ihsan Al​-​Munzer - Orientalissimo Vol. 2

Nr: BBE5262024

Select items


Coming as the fourth release from BBE Music’s Middle Eastern Heavens series of re-issues of albums by Lebanese maestro Ihsan Al-Munzer, Orientalissimo Vol. 2 is a collection of Al-Munzer’s progressive synth-led rearrangements of Armenian popular, traditional and folklore melodies. In addition to these signposts of Armenian culture the album also features tracks originally released by Armenian singer Yorgantz as well as a handful of melodies credited to Armenian accordionist Bernard Dededjian.

Originally released in 1980 on the legendary Voice of Stars label, Orientalissimo Vol. 2 adds an Armenian dimension to the heady cultural mix that is multi-cultural Lebanon and bonds the musical history of the sizeable Armenian community with that of the Arab communities in Beirut and beyond. Ihsan Al-Munzer innovatively and flawlessly intertwines western and eastern music cultures, with more than a nod towards psychedelic rock and pop with fuzzy synth lines, heavy guitars and drum breaks resulting in a mix of the traditional and the modern.

The Middle Eastern Heavens series of re-issues is curated by Beirutian music collector, archivist and journalist Ernesto Chahoud. Ernesto built his amazingly eclectic record collection from the unwanted, second hand and cheap vinyl he sourced in the shops of Beirut after the arrival of CDs. Echoing Duke Ellington’s philosophy that ‘if it sounds good it is good’ Ernesto would also buy cassettes from the street vendors of his own city.

Known as the Godfather of Belly Dance, Ihsan Al-Munzer lived in the Ghobeiri suburb of Beirut. On picking up his brother’s accordion as a 9 year old he was soon able to flawlessly replicate any song he heard on the radio. He would go on to study at the Lebanese Conservatory and started his first band, Moonlight, in the 60s after The Beatles had exploded around the World. Orientalissimo Vol. 2 is a superb example of his work as an arranger, musician and producer and showcases his ability to fuse multiple styles over a bedrock of traditional forms.

Release Date: May 10th, 2024
Format: Digital

You might also like