April 10, 2007

My Beloved Is Engaged To Another Man... Let's Party!!

OK, time for some manic folktronic party stomp from Syria; courtesy of local superstar, Omar Souleyman. The song’s called Leh Jani, and it’s about finding out that your beloved is engaged to another man. Normally, you’d expect such subject matter to provoke some form of anguished lament; but for Souleyman, the occasion demands a thumping beat, phased-out synth noodling, and frenetic insectoid oud. All of which is fine by the fans, who form lines on the dancefloor and start discreetly pogoing in formation. Fun, fun stuff.

If you like that track (which you can download as an mp3 here), you might also enjoy Jani, an even more crazed number which was released in 1996 and became Souleyman’s first big hit. Both of these songs can also be found on Omar Souleyman: Highway To Hassake, a compilation of material culled from the 500+ cassettes (!) that he has recorded in his 10 year career. The CD is out on our favourite disorientalist label, Sublime Frequencies, and can be purchased here.

(The video itself was posted on YouTube by porest aka Mark Gergis, the man who put the compilation together. In addition to this, he’s posted a video of a performance by a Lebanese improv trio, featuring Mazen Kerbaj, the free jazz trumpeter who recorded that spontaneous duet with Israeli jets bombing Beirut. Other treats are to be found in his extensive favourites collection which includes pop and traditional music from the Middle East, Cambodia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Colombia and even Eritrea.)

Posted by Warren at April 10, 2007 11:05 PM | World