Libyan reggae artist Ahmed Ben Ali, whose music is finally getting released thanks to Berlin label Habibi Funk. ‘Habibi’ is the Arabic word for ‘darling’, and the company’s passion is to reissue mostly North African musical treasures.
Ben Ali was born in Benghazi in 1965 and later spent time in Canada, London and Jamaica, all of which informed his love for reggae. Returning home in 2003, he set up a studio and released cassettes of his own work while producing for others. After the Gaddafi regime was overthrown, Libyan musicians became a target for Islamic fundamentalists as the country’s politics and security grew ever more unstable. All of which makes Subhana a cause for celebration, not least for shining the spotlight on a very fine songwriter.