Album of the Week: To Syria, With Love by Omar Souleyman


Before becoming one of the most praised electronic music producers of the last few years, Omar Souleyman was a successful wedding singer in his homeland Syria, with something like five hundred live albums released through 2011, the year the civil war broke in his country, forcing him to flee to Turkey, where he’s been based ever since.

His latest album, To Syria, With Love (just released from Mad Decent), is a personal ode to Souleyman’s native nation. On the album, Souleyman dwells within a very personal narrative and reflects on his origins and his homesickness. It’s quite different than the direct political engagement of his two previous studio full-length releases. Mixing the traditional dabke and baladi with techno beats, Souleyman sings,

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. 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.”

Listen to three track off the new album below!

Guia Cortassa was born, lives, and works in Milan, Italy. After working as a Contemporary Art curator, she went back to writing. She is a contributing editor for Ondarock and her writing has appeared on Rivista Studio, Flair and the Quietus. She compulsively tweets @gcmorvern. More from this author →