Founder of Habibi Funk Jannis Stürtz, discovered the existence of Libyan reggae by devoting a release from Ahmed Ben Ali works.
Ahmed Ben Ali was born in 1971 in Benghazi. He went to boarding to school in Canada for 8 years, and returned to Libya. For a couple of years he also worked in the UK. While going to school and also living in the UK he was always playing music and playing in bands. This culminated in recording his first album, which he released in 2003. Since then he recorded maybe 40 tracks and released two more albums. He also started playing gigs in Libya with his own band.
Contextualizing his own style Ben Ali pointed out that “The Libyan folkloric rhythm is very similar to the reggae rhythm. So if Libyan people listen to reggae it’s easy for them to relate because it sounds familiar. This is the main reason why reggae became so popular here. […]We played the reggae Libyan style, it’s not the same as in Jamaica. We added our oriental notes to it and if you mix both it becomes something great.” With a bit of laughter he added: “And to me it’s still original reggae, it’s Libyan style, not some bullshit.”
Habibi Funk 012: Subhana out February 21st via Habibi Funk. Discover the album artwork here and pre-order it here.