Great news, non-violent ravers! In keeping with the ancient-but-timeless mantra “Peace…Love…Spasmodic Electronica,” legendary Syrian musician/performer Omar Souleyman has just announced the resumption of his ongoing mission to (just guessing here:) “spread all the love and all the good vibes to all the possible places all the time always” via the announcement of his third album for the Mad Decent label.
Following 2015’s exuberant Bahdeni Nami, the new seven-track affair is called To Syria, With Love, and it marks “a departure musically and lyrically from his previous material, with focus on more elaborate keyboard and techno elements.” As its title indicates, it also comprises a (relatively) apolitical “personal ode to his native country with an emphasis on his emotional connection to the land and people,” though of course filaments of deep and emphatic concern for the current state of his homeland cannot help but course through each of the album’s pulsing, ebullient, “medium to high-speed” Dabke and Balad-style dance tracks (which feature the “complex electronic arrangements” of Hasan Alo and lyrics and poetry co-written by long-time collaborator Shawah Al Ahmad).
“It’s been six years I’ve been away, and I’m tired of looking for home and asking about my loved ones […] my soul is wounded and it’s like having dust in my eyes,” sings the impassioned Souleyman. “We are in exile, and our nights are long. Our homeland is our only comfort […] life caused us so much pain—our wounds are too many and every wound calls out, ‘We miss Al-Jazira’” (Souleyman’s native region in north eastern Syria).
To Syria, With Love is out June 2; so stay tuned for updates and ordering info. In the mean time, Souleyman will be making a few tour stops in the US next month — including shows in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, and Salt Lake City — as well as several festival appearances, including FORM Arcosanti in Arizona and MoogFest in North Carolina. Check out the complete list of those dates, and acclimatize yourself to how exhilarating it feels to dance-your-ass-off and be a peace-advocate at the same time by viewing the video for Bahdeni Nami’s Four Tet-produced title track down below.
To Syria, With Love tracklisting:
01. Ya Boul Habari
02. Ya Bnayya
03. Es Samra
04. Aenta Lhabbeytak
Omar Souleyman US tour dates:
05.11.17 - New York, NY - Le Poisson Rouge
05.12.17 - Detroit, MI - El Club*
05.14.17 - Arcosanti, AZ - Form Arcosanti
05.15.17 - Santa Barbara, CA - University Of California Santa Barbara
05.16.17 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echoplex
05.18.17 - Durham, NC - MoogFest
05.19.17 - Salt Lake City, UT - Living Traditions Festival