Categories MusicPosted on

Omar Souleyman Releases ‘To Syria, With Love’

SEEN cannot believe that she hasn’t listened to anything by the great Omar Souleyman, before. He started out as a wedding singer in his native Syria before re-locating to Turkey six years ago to escape the civil war. Since then he’s toured the globe, collaborated with Björk and Four Tet, performed at the Nobel Peace Prize and recently signed to Diplo’s Mad Decent – his acclaimed third LP To Syria, With Love was released on 3rd November, and there are further tour dates and a remix EP on the way for the end of November (featuring Simian Mobile Disco and CZ). He has been able to write, record and perform on at a level that few Arabic musicians have ever been able to, and has become a real figurehead over the years, with fans as varied as Skepta and Diplo.

The new album is sonically somewhat of a departure from his earlier releases, melding dabke and baladi styles but also weaving in complex keys and techno elements. The narrative of the record serves as a personal ode to his country.

The follow-up to 2015’s Bahdeni Nami, To Syria, With Love marks Omar Souleyman’s third full-length studio record. Released digitally and to critical acclaim in the US earlier in the summer, the album now receives a physical release in the UK on Diplo’s label Mad Decent in partnership with Because Music. The album also now features an additional track, ‘Tensana’. SEEN has been listening and can confirm that much dancing will be had in February next year at the Oval Space. I challenge anyone to sit still through this album.
Check out his wonderful videos here:

Completely setting politics aside, Souleyman consciously shares this personal ode to his native country with an emphasis on his emotional connection to the land and people, but not without heartache in view of the nation’s current state: “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,” Souleyman sings on the album.

Superimposed over complex electronic arrangements provided by Hasan Alo, the new music is joined with lyrics and poetry co-written by Souleyman’s long-time collaborator Shawah Al Ahmad. Medium to high-speed dabke and baladi styles are heavily featured throughout as Souleyman expresses his overarching longing for collective peace.

Souleyman released nearly 500 live albums before civil war broke out in his native Syria in 2011. He then moved to Turkey and in 2013 released Wenu Wenu via Ribbon/Domino, which NPR called, “…a jam so visceral, thrilling and intense as to make the mysterious matter of earthly borders seem hardly worth the time to contemplate.” The 2015 release Bahdeni Nami garnered widespread critical praise including The Guardian, who proclaimed, “It’s so fast that the only appropriate way to engage with it is to wriggle your limbs. Melodies are both abrasive and ebullient, chattering endlessly like raucous birdsong.”

He has bolstered his growing status as a world and electronic music icon establishing an extensive international following after touring widely and performing at major festivals, including Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork Paris and Roskilde. Since its founding in 2013, Souleyman has been an advocate for the charity Our Heart Aches for Syria, which operates in collaboration with Doctors Without Borders. In that same year, he performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Norway.

TO SYRIA, WITH LOVE TRACK LIST:

  1. Ya Boul Habari This makes you want to get up and dance.
  2. Ya Bnayya
  3. Es Samra
  4. Aenta Lhabbeytak
  5. Khayen
  6. Mawal
  7. Chobi
  8. Tensana

The Album has been released on: Double vinyl sleeve, Coloured Vinyl (yellow, orange, red and white) and CD. Order it here.

Forthcoming Tour Dates:

November 18th      Razzmatazz,  Barcelona , Spain
February 2nd (2018) Vega, Copenhagen, Denmark
February 7th          Oval Space, London, UK
February 8th            Arena, Vienna, Austria

Seen this week

Categories DesignPosted on

Lotusier: the magical Sakura

In keeping with the ice-cream pastel colours that have so been a feature of the SS 2018 catwalks, luxury brand Lotusier has brought this trend to their into the home with the launch of two new colour options to their Kyoto collection: baby pink ‘Sakura’ and the ‘Kyoto sky’, in a delicate blue. They are …

Categories DesignPosted on

Clerkenwell Design Week 2018: London’s Creative Heart

SEEN always enjoys Clerkenwell Design Week. There is so much to see and appreciate. The inventiveness and innovation on show is truly breathtaking, yet somehow it retains a playfulness and joy that is never oppressive or pretentious. With sustainability at the top of the agenda for many showrooms and designers, the products on display are …

Categories Music, NewsPosted on

The White Tiger Roars: KVLT

SEEN came to hear White Tiger on Facebook. His fabulously atmospheric synthwave music has already been snapped up for music videos. Hailing from Liverpool, SEEN, for one is keen to hear him in the capital… We caught up with him recently after the release of new album KVLT. SEEN: Congratulations on KVLT! How long did …

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

1980s New York comes to Paddington Central: Huckster

Paddington Central is fast becoming a destination for all sorts of reasons, not least the food and drink. Inspired by the late 1980’s lower Manhattan street scene, Huckster will recreate the bustle of an urban street market where diners can choose from a selection of New York street food and beverage brands. This will include …

Categories Food&DrinkPosted on

Bowling Bird: Hidden Gems of London – SEEN reviews

If there’s one thing about her job that SEEN really values, it’s the opportunity to go to parts of London that seem special and almost a best-kept secret. One such area is Smithfields, not far from Barbican and Blackfriars and currently undergoing huge changes as new housing appears and crossrail development ratchets up a gear. …

Categories NewsPosted on

Yee-har! Wild West Cocktail Bar Moonshine Saloon to open

Fun fact pardners… SEEN is distantly related to the old gunslinger Wyatt Earp, no less, thus it is that we shall be moseying on down the King’s Road to check out the Moonshine Saloon, an immersive cocktail experience from the team behind BYOB bar concept Alcotraz: Inventive Productions. Initially open for a 4-month run, but …