Omar Souleyman - Highway to Hassake / Folk and Pop Sounds of Syria (2006)

«With cassettes by the hundreds in shops all over Syria, Omar Souleyman qualifies as a cultural phenomenon. Highway to Hassake is his first Western release. The album was compiled by Sublime Frequencies' Mark Gergis from cassettes recorded between 1996 and 2006. Most tracks were recorded for release straight from the mixing board at live events, making for often less-than-ideal sound quality. However, the performances are generally spirited enough to make up for the sonic flaws. Souleyman is quite the performer, no doubt about that. His rich, flexible voice has bite in frantic numbers (mostly in dabke style, typical Syrian party music) and a lot of soul in ataba songs (a mournful style). Among his other influences are Iraqi choubi (a style already chronicled by the label on the CD Choubi Choubi) and Turkish pop music. Omar is also surrounded by highly talented musicians, including oud players Hamid Souleyman and Ali Shakir, and keyboardist Rizan Sa'id, whose lightning-fast solos can put Rick Wakeman to shame. Highlights include the pumping “Leh Jani” (watch the video!) and “Dabke 2001”, along with both versions of “Atabat”, which together illustrate how Souleyman can build seemingly endless variations over simple themes.» (AMG)

«Omar Souleyman, dont ce Highway to Hassake constitue la première parution hors de son pays natal, a déjà publié plus de 500 cassettes en à peine douze ans de carrière. La population syrienne retient avant tout de lui Leh Jani (ici le video!), son hit de 1996, au programme bien sûr de cette savoureuse compilation. Hybrides comme l’est la culture de son pays, ses chansons offrent un amalgame de choubi irakien, de chant mawal arabe et d’emprunts aux traditions musicales kurdes et turques. Ajoutez aux guitares, oud, claviers, saz et autres youyous un zeste d’effet phasing plus qu’appuyé et des rythmes électro frénétiques et vous aurez une idée du kistch oriental entretenu le long de morceaux dont on ne ressort pas indemne. Petite mise en garde: Highway to Hassake est pour tout occidental normalement constitué une friandise hautement addictive.» (Ethnotempos)

Note: This amazing CD is one of the latest releases by Sublime Frequencies, «a collective of explorers dedicated to acquiring and exposing obscure sights and sounds from modern and traditional urban and rural frontiers via film and video, field recordings, radio and short wave transmissions, international folk and pop music, sound anomalies, and other forms of human and natural expression not documented sufficiently through all channels of academic research, the modern recording industry, media, or corporate foundations. Sublime Frequencies is focused on an aesthetic of extra-geography and soulful experience inspired by music and culture, world travel, research, and the pioneering recording labels of the past including Ocora, Smithsonian Folkways, Ethnic Folkways, Nonesuch Explorer, etc.» You can buy their products online directly from their site, http://www.sublimefrequencies.com/

Link in comments


Radu said...

Part 1:

Part 2:

Mr. N. said...

Vaya que marchaaa! Syrian merengue!

Theo said...

absolutely great, thanks. Sublime Frequencies is easily my favourite world music label.

Radu said...

Alternative Links:



Mars said...


YOUTH CLUB said...

hello, great blog thanks very much! im having trouble with the extraction of this file, ive got all the album except track 10?

YOUTH CLUB said...

no its fine! i tried a few times more and it extracted fully, dunno what happened? thanks again!

houston Kenna said...

This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. POP Displays

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