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Launched in 2009 by Raed Yassin, Sharif Sehnaoui and Hatem Imam, Annihaya is a concept musical label that specializes in the displacement, deconstruction and ‘recycling’ of popular or folkloric musical cultures. The label’s mission is to work through popular forms of music whilst skewing their normative diffusion and meanings for the listener. To date, Annihaya label has produced five albums, all designed by Studio Safar, the latest album being Malayeen, with: Raed Yassin: Keyboard, Turntables & ElectronicsCharbel Haber: Electric Guitar & ElectronicsKhaled Yassine: Darbouka, Percussion
Malayeen is an experimental homage to belly dance. The album mixes original compositions with samples of Arabic dance classics. In an effort to pursue the eclectic and playful form of musical production of the label, we worked together with an illustrator to draw and conceive portraits of the musicians, referring to visuals from the Arab world and beyond. Both for the design and inside artwork we were inspired by gold-leaf manuscripts and oriental miniatures.
The result is hypnotic and electrifying. The album cover in rich emerald borrows from illuminated manuscripts with the title Malayeen (the Arabic word for Millions) stamped infinitely in gold leaf. The inside poster illustrated by Omar Khouri depicts the three artists with their instruments in a garden in the style of Islamic miniature. A belly dancer in gold sequin outfit is secretly listening to the music in the background.