Omar Souleyman

Dabke 2020: Folk & Pop Sounds of Syria

by Deanne Sole

23 July 2009

cover art

Omar Souleyman

Dabke 2020: Folk & Pop Sounds of Syria

(Sublime Frequencies)
US: 12 May 2009
UK: 15 Jun 2009

Omar Souleyman’s first release through Sublime Frequencies sounded harsh, and this second one sounds harsh too, in the same cassette-sourced way. That harshness is a large part of his charm. It poses the question: Will you keep listening when the system is so overloaded that it blats with static? Even the keyboard seems scraped and bleeding. Souleyman is a Syrian pop-dabke singer. Beneath the fritz of the reproduction, his music is looping, eager, Middle Eastern, sentimental, sometimes cheesy, nudging you and twirling its fingers, punctuated with violin swishes. That sentimentality is the camp cherry on the harshness cake: the music may seem exotic to a non-local audience, but the swimming coils of its passing are enough to convince that audience that there’s nothing threatening in it. Someone, somewhere is having a good time. The first four tracks on Dabke 2020 are the most relentless, therefore the most exciting. After that the album calms down, the cheese comes out, and the sentimentality becomes more pronounced.

Dabke 2020: Folk & Pop Sounds of Syria


Topics: dabke | syria

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times.

//Mixed media

Counterbalance: Elvis Costello's 'Imperial Bedroom'

// Sound Affects

"History repeats the old conceits, the glib replies, the same defeats. Keep your finger on important issues, and keep listening to the 275th most acclaimed album of all time. A 1982 masterpiece is this week's Counterbalance.

READ the article