At one point, Omar Souleyman‘s biggest gigs were wedding parties and special events in Syria, his home country. Then, 25 years into the 49-year-old’s career, the rest of the world began to find out what they’d been missing. In 2011, Björk asked him to remix three tracks off her new Biophilia; in 2013 he played at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo; and last year, he led a joyfully chaotic set at his Bonnaroo debut.
After teaming with Four Tet for 2013’s Wenu Wenu, Souleyman is pushing his sound – dabke dance music – with a follow-up featuring Euro producers like Gilles Peterson, Legowelt and Modeselektor. Above, watch the video for title track “Bahdeni Nami,” a Four Tet-helmed eight-minute jam sung to a potential lover.
The clip was shot between Gaziantep and Sanliurfa in Turkey, and it shows slow-motion footage of the singer walking across rocky hills and reciting lyrics as he drives down the highway.
Bahdeni Nami is scheduled to come out July 28th via Monkeytown Records, and Souleyman is ready for whatever increased exposure it might bring. Before the release of Wenu Wenu, he talked with Rolling Stone about his sudden crossover: “At the beginning, it was surprising for me to see an audience reacting to me like this,” he said. “But I kind of got used to it.”