Omar SouleymanThe wedding singer at whose wedding nobody sang.

Omar SouleymanThe wedding singer at whose wedding nobody sang.

Issue 26

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Music

Omar Souleyman is a dabke musician from northeastern Syria, where, before exile, he was a prolific and popular wedding performer. In 2007, his music was repackaged and resold to the world via the American record label Sublime Frequencies. Since then, Souleyman has played Glastonbury, collaborated with Björk and ended up on stage at a Nobel Peace Prize concert. Much has been written about the black-swan quality of his career trajectory, how his music—so commonplace in the Levant—became “cult” for an audience outside of the context in which it was originally produced, and what that means for cultural colonialism. Souleyman will not entertain questions pertaining to his public image, but it’s obvious that he exudes as much charisma as his music does danceability. Asked about his...

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