Omar Souleyman (SYR)


Omar Souleyman started touring in 1994, and his unique combination of Dabke, a traditional style of Middle-Eastern dance music – and the Shaabi street music of Cairo made him a very popular performer at weddings in Syria.

In 1996 Souleyman expanded his band with Rizan Sa’id from a Kurdish DJ collective, and their sound took on a more electronic flavour. At the same time the music became faster and more energetic, with a flexibility not often heard in Dabke. This kicked off Souleyman’s huge rise to fame all over the Middle East.

His catalogue includes over 500 records, but most of them are wedding gifts given to the couples as mementos of the concert. Copies of these recordings have begun to circulate later, and they’ve been popping up on the streets and in small shops. You could easily argue that Omar Souleyman has — in fact — released more music than anyone who has ever performed at Funky Elephant.

Omar Souleyman 1

In 2004 Souleyman was included on the I Remember Syria compilation by Sublime Frequencies, and his characteristically restless sound found the ears of Western audiences. Since then Sublime Frequencies has released three compilations of his hits as well as one live album. His collaboration with Björk brought about a set of remixes of songs from her album Biophilia.

At the end of 2013 Omar Souleyman finally released his first official studio album Wenu Wenu. The record was produced by Kieran Hebden, better known as the legendary Four Tet. In 2010 at Flow Festival he already showed Finnish audiences how the feverish drive of his “Syrian Techno” is an irresistable force on the dance floor. After Wenu Wenu he has continued to develop and renew his sound, and his music is currently more powerful than ever before.

Omar Souleyman is performing with Rizan Sa’id as Saturday’s headliner at the 20th Funky Elephant festival, and this is your chance to see him at the top of his career.

» SAT 5.4.2014
Main Stage

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The 20th Funky Elephant Festival 3.-6.4.2014