Ahmed Fakroun is one of Libya’s most successful and influential musicians. He is noted for blending traditional Libyan music with modern influences, and he has proven popular both within his home country and internationally. With a long legacy, Ahmed Fakroun boasts a reputation as being one of the pioneers of the ‘world music’ neo-genre.
Now considered one of Libya’s biggest-ever musical exports, Ahmed first developed his international standing when he lived in England for several years during the 1970s. During this time, Ahmed toured and recorded in the country, where his genre-bending style received a warm reception.
In the decades following his emergence, Ahmed has gone on to release over a dozen albums. He continues to enjoy a sizeable fanbase, even if his impactful music has been somewhat underappreciated in recent years.
However, Ahmed Fakroun’s collaboration with O’Flynn is a powerful example of the artist’s enduring influence on successive generations. ‘Soleil’ itself has been called an “Arabic funk” song, meaning that its unique sound is tailor-made for experimentation by dance artists.
O’Flynn himself is considered one of the most versatile producers in the UK and has been heavily touted by the likes of Ben UFO and Gilles Peterson. O’Flynn has released two studio albums to date. He has also had numerous career highlights worth noting, including a major collaboration with Bonobo for the 2022 track ‘Otomo’, which featured on Bonobo’s album ‘Fragments’.
The fact that O’Flynn secured the seal of approval from Ahmed Fakroun for their version of ‘Soleil’ is an example of how his star is continuing to rise.
Speaking about the single remix, O’Flynn said on social media: “I’ve been playing ‘Soleil’ in my sets for a while now and incredibly excited to be releasing it. This kind of sound reverts back to my first album and I’ve been having so much fun making this style again.”
In the remix itself, O’Flynn demonstrates his ability to handle the source material with expertise and make it into something new. This new version of ‘Soleil’ is marked by pulsating builds and drops, with the London producer managing to take the disco-funk nature of Ahmed Fakroun’s original to new heights.
O’Flynn also enriches the production by isolating and looping the string riffs and the chorus refrain, then layering electronic house elements to make sure it arrives fully formed as a dance floor-ready banger.
‘Soleil’ is yet another solid example of older Arabic musicians and their innovative music being rediscovered by new audiences.
Listen to the O’Flynn and Ahmed Fakroun version of ‘Soleil’ below.