The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Posts tagged singer
The Other Omar Suleyman
Bjork was the guest DJ on the NPR music show "All Songs Considered" and she chose a Syrian wedding singer as one of her favourite musicians. Omar Suleyman is apparently a phenomenon in Syria, although I couldn't find much on him online (and the Egyptian intelligence chief kept popping up instead).

The singer mixes pop and traditional folk music--his lyrics are backed by an electronic keyboard and plenty of synthesizing. They are incredibly high energy, and like nothing I've heard before. You can watch some kitchy-but-catchy videos on YouTube--I highly recommend it. Here's one: 

You'll notice that in the video, at around 50 seconds in, there is a rather grave (not to say sinister) looking man whispering in the singer's ear. Apparently (according to Bjork) that's his collaborator, a poet who suggest verses improvised on the spot.

You can also listen to two excellent songs from the album "Dabke 2020: Folk and Pop Sounds of Syria" on the NPR program's web site (just scroll down), and the album is available on Amazon.