Omar Souleyman

Music, Latin and world
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Omar Souleyman

Take a traditional folk dance from the Levant, the dabke. Add madly virtuosic Syrian musicians, dirty synths, heavy beats and all-round polished Western production values. Shake very hard, and you get the music of Omar Souleyman. A veteran wedding singer in his native country (at the last count, some five hundred albums had been released under his name), Souleyman was picked up by intrepid crate-digging label Sublime Frequencies in 2006; before long, courtesy of interest from the likes of Damon Albarn and Four Tet, he'd become one of the most sought-after collaborators in Western dance music. The latter, roped in to produce Souleyman's 'debut' album, beefed up the singer's songs with his trademark four/four beats; but all the limelight doesn't seem to have changed Souleyman's character one bit – eternally decked out in his trademark kaffiyeh and shades, he swaggers through video after surreal video, show after bombastic show. Don't miss his appearance at La Machine du Moulin Rouge (with Acid Arab on supporting duties).