The members of Tel Aviv’s Fortuna Records have spent the last several years collecting some of the rarest records from the Middle East. The music runs the gamut from classical Egyptian to Palestinian folk to Greek-Israeli music. Check out a mixtape of their favorite rarities, accompanied by their stunning (and often strange) album covers.
By Fortuna Records
1. Koko – Koko
The debut album by Koko, an unknown singer on the Tel Aviv “Kol Dorit” label, and who sings in Greek, is without a doubt one of the best albums recorded in Israel during the 1970s. If you ask us, it’s also the best Greek album recorded in Israel, period. Koko, however, was never recognized as a “gifted” singer in the local scene at the time, as many claimed that he did not have the correct Greek accent.
On the cover: Koko dons a flowery, open shirt, flare pants and a golden Star of David necklace as he stands in the middle of “Mini Israel” in a million-dollar pose. No doubt one of the better album covers to come out of the genre.
2. Unknown Artist – Oriental Dances Past & Present
There is no information on this instrumental album that was released in 1974 on the Lebanese Duniaphon label. So little is know that even the name of the artist remains unknown. This is one of the strangest and most special albums that came out of Lebanon in the 70s. Trumpets and saxophones accompanies by darbukas and electric guitars. The beat is the traditional Arab one, but the mood is somewhere between Japan, Lebanon and Spain.
On the cover: The album was bought in a record store in Athens several months ago. Without listening, we just knew this album couldn’t remain in the story. Imagine a Lebanese version of Kill Bill. And it sounds just like it looks… killer!
3. Ran Eliran
A singer, songwriter and composer, Ran Eliran was one of the most famous wartime singers in Israel. After releasing nearly 25 records in the 50s, he decided to put aside the accordion in 1969 and instead pick up the electric guitar. This album,...Read More