21st February | Marble Factory

Not many good stories have come out of the war-torn ravage that is Syria in recent years.

Omar Souleyman is an exception. Omar enjoyed success as a part-time, but extremely popular wedding singer before the civil war, which the release of 500 live albums attests to. The war meant he had to flee to Turkey where he is based, and to which he his sings a love letter (to Istanbul in particular) in the track ‘Es-Samra’. International acclaim has seen his music being played on dancefloors from New York to New Delhi.

And that music, a pounding swirling saz/keyboard take on the traditional Syrian Dabke sound is a hypnotic force, with Souleyman’s vocals eulogising on affairs of the heart rather than any commentary on his homeland’s plight: “I don’t feel bad or bothered about the way I often sing about love,” he once confessed. “My music is from the community I come from – the Kurdish, the Ashuri, the Arabic, they’re all in this community. Even Turkish because it’s so near, it’s just across the border. And even Iraqi.”

Immigration faff may have got in the way of the original date on 31st January, but you can once again prepare for that rhythmic love from Syria…

See the video to ‘Es-Samra’ here: