Lebanon

It's a common sight in Lebanon: a construction site where every laborer slapping cement onto cinder blocks is a Syrian refugee working illegally. The men take a break to smoke and to tell me how things are.

Yeah, they say, their breath clouding the cold air. Of course they owe money.

"Especially in wintertime," says Radwan Mahmoud. "The jobs are getting less and less."

The farms near this village in the fertile Bekaa Valley don't need laborers now.

Crammed Discs Records

I first heard the haunting voice of Lebanese singer Yasmine Hamdan on a track called “Lili s’en fout,” from a CD released by Toufic Farroukh. Her captivating vocals added a whole new dimension to the song.