top of page
  • Kai Bradner

Fine Anyway: Songs From the Folk Legend Roger Fakhr

Eighteen Songs, forty-five minutes, and twenty seconds of timeless art; Roger Fakhr completely captivates the listener with his genre-bending album/folk-inspired “Fine Anway”. Fakhr’s album expresses the full range of human emotions from the despair found in “Sad Sad Songs” to the groovy funk felt from The Wizard”. Until recently, much of Fakhr’s music was lost in time. Fortunately, Fakhr’s recordings were put together to create Habibi Funk 016:Fine Anyway released in 2021.

For an album with so much life, it is hard to imagine how Fakhr was able to record his music during an incredibly violent time. Born in the 1960s, Fakhr was raised in Lebanon's welcoming alternative music scene. With musical legends like Fairuz and Elias Rahbani, and Nancy Arjam. Lebanon has always been a country home to incredible music. Fakhr left his childhood home after disagreeing with his parents about his chosen career in the music industry. Fakhr spent much of this time on his own, going wherever his music led him. Fakhr was able to make music and perform with several other blossoming artists of the time. However, this peace did not last forever throughout the 1970s civil war plagued Lebanon and her citizens. During this time Fakhr and other artists/friends came together to create music. They created pieces of art that transcend time, a symbol of resilience for the Lebanese people. The civil war lasted from 1975-1990. During this time Fakhr was able to record much of his album and self-released it with 200 cassette tapes. However, due to the ongoing conflict, many of these cassette tapes never saw public distribution.

Fine Anyway’s eighteen songs all have their own distinct sounds but together they flow effortlessly. An overwhelming feeling of peace. When listening you can imagine yourself face-to-face with Fakhr as he tells you all of his stories, of love and heartbreak, of peace and pain. The album begins with “Lady Rain” a somewhat melancholy but comforting folk-inspired song that sets the tone for the rest of the album. Track four Express Line is an impressive mix of folk and a taste of blues. When listening to this song it can be hard to imagine that the voice is not some American folk singer. If you are not listening carefully you might mistake Fakhr’s voice for folk legend Bob Dylan. One man from Lebanon and one from Minnesota were both able to inhabit the same musical space while being thousands of miles apart. Folk music throughout the 1970s carried heavy themes of freedom, love, and life with stanzas of heavy poems sung with deep melodic voices. America for much of the 1970s was in active war with Vietnam just like Lebanon and in the music of both Bob Dylan and Roger Fakhr, you can feel the pain violence has caused, connecting artists across the world. Track three is Fine Anyway; the titular song, consisting of true folk compositional elements with harmonious vocals and hypnotic production, paired with poignant lyrics. When thinking of folk songs to recommend to others, this song always first comes to mind. Track sixteen Keep Going sounds and feels like reflections on the Lebanese Civil war, Fakhr singing “Keep Going” is a message that no matter how hard we must endure together, we cannot let pain and suffering consume us– we must keep going. Arabic is introduced into the song, the native language of Lebanon followed by sirens and what appears to be a bomb detonating. These components signify the destruction caused by the war, but as Fakhr sings we must keep going.

Some of my favorites off the album include track six “Everything you Want”, track thirteen “Had to Come Back Wet”( folk rock), and “Dancer on the Ceiling”. If it were not for Habibi Funk much of the world would have never gotten to experience Roger Fakhr and a glimpse into the diverse music scene of Lebanon. This album reminds us to experience life no matter the circumstances, it is a symbol of resistance against war and serves as a connector of cultures.

Habibi Funk 016: Fine Anyway | Rogér Fakhr


bottom of page