World Watch: Omar Souleyman

Country: Syria

If Adam Sandler’s The Wedding Singer had taken place in 90’s Syria, it could potentially have been about Omar Souleyman. Okay, likely not. Though since beginning his career singing at weddings and selling recordings of his performances at kiosks, Souleyman has garnered a global following with his style Dabke music. He’s played Glastonbury and Bonnaroo (and wherever else he is able to get the relevant visas), and even done official remixes of Bjork songs. Unfortunately due to the violence in Syria, Souleyman has had to flee to Turkey for safety.

His music is heavily keyboard and synth based, with repetitive ululating rhythms that could work at a wedding or a rave. The thumping beats accompany lyrics about love, not that most Western audiences will be able to tell. His latest album, To Syria, With Love, was released in June this year.

An interview with Souleyman with The Guardian is available here.

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