For the inaugural post of this blog, I can think of no better place to visit than the ancient land of the cedars: Lebanon.

Lebanon is by many accounts the most cosmopolitan of all Middle Eastern countries. Prior to its 1975-1990 civil war, it was also the #1 producer of domestic vinyl records in the region. The only other Middle Eastern country that might compete with it is Egypt, but if you omit the ridiculously huge discography of Umm Kulthum there can be little doubt that Lebanon comes out on top. If you are new to collecting Middle Eastern vinyl, chances are you’ll run across many titles by Fairuz, Sabah, and other famous Lebanese artists on EMI’s Greek-pressed “Voix De L’Orient” series, as these seem to be the most common of all Middle Eastern records from the post-78 RPM period.

And then there are records like this one, on tiny labels probably financed by Lebanese immigrants or other people from the region looking to make a little dent in the local record market. From my one year of Arabic in college I can tell you that the record label name means something like “Immigrant Nights”, but I could find no mention of this record label even when searching using an Arabic search engine. As for the group, “Fatat” means “girl”, so it’s probably best that I don’t go into detail about what came up when I searched for “Fatat Lebanon”.

Based on web searches, composer Mehsen Mouawad may or may not be related to several people in the Zgharta district in North Lebanon who bear that family name, including a major in the Lebanese Army who was married in September of 2010 at the church of Our Lady of El-Hosn in Ehden. Whoever he is, he’s written a catchy little tune. Enjoy!

Fatat Lebanon- Asmar Ya Bou Al Shami (Layali Al Mohajer Records, date unknown)