Najib Alhoush & The Free Music

Free Music (Part 1)

Habibi Funk • 2023

At first glance, this sounds quite classic: Groovy funk and soul in glittering disco garb, with radiant horns, wah-wah guitars and anything else under the sun. But then something different emerges: We hear sequences of tones like those used in the Arab world in the vocals. Composer Najib Alhoush probably created this ravishing adaptation with his band The Free Music around 1976 and in Libya, of all places, a country whose musical treasures probably remain largely unexplored. Unfortunately, given the political situation in the country, nothing is likely to change any time soon. 

The label Habibi Funk has now succeeded in making part of this forgotten history accessible. Sound-wise, the result doesn’t meet the production standards typical to western studios in those days, but the nine songs still sound unbelievably fresh. The opener »Mathasebnish« is already an ear-opener with its funky guitar riff, anthemic melodies and elegant brass sections, and it basically goes on like that, beat for beat. More impressions of the band’s repertoire will follow. One of the most interesting re-issues of recent times.