Omar Souleyman

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Omar Souleyman
Omar Souleyman @ Becks Music Box (5 3 2011) (5519121498).jpg
Omar Souleyman performing at Perth International Arts Festival in 2011
Background information
Born1966 (age 55–56)[citation needed]
OriginTell Tamer, al-Hasakah, Syria
Occupation(s)Singer, farmer
Years active1994–present
LabelsSublime Frequencies, Ribbon Music, Monkeytown, Mad Decent

Omar Souleyman (Arabic: عمر سليمان) is a Syrian singer and farmer from the village of Tell Tamer[1][2] near the city of Ra's al-'Ayn on the Syria–Turkey border.[3] He started his career as a part-time wedding singer in his native al-Hasakah Governorate, and while he is a Sunni Arab, he emphasises the influence its culturally diverse milieu has had on his style: "My music is from the community I come from – the Kurdish, the Ashuri, the Arabic, they're all in this community. Even Turkish because it's so near, it's just across the border."[4]


Omar Souleyman began his career in 1994, working with a number of musicians with whom he still performs. He has released an estimated five hundred studio and live albums under his name.[citation needed] Eighty percent of those releases are recordings made at weddings and presented to the married couple, which are later copied and sold at local kiosks.[5] The originality of his music is due to the fact that it mixes sounds of keyboards, electronic beats and vocals.[6]

In October 2013 a newly recorded album Wenu Wenu was released by UK label Ribbon Music.[7]

Collaborations and notable appearances[edit]

He appeared at the Glastonbury Festival in 2011, and performed during Chaos in Tejas in Austin, Texas in June 2011.[8] In August 2011, Omar Souleyman appeared at Paredes de Coura in Portugal. Souleyman was chosen by Caribou to perform at the ATP Nightmare Before Christmas festival that they co-curated in December 2011 in Minehead, England.[9]

In 2011 he recorded three remixes for Björk's Biophilia, all found on the second disc of her "Crystalline Series".

In 2013 he worked with British producer Four Tet on his album Wenu Wenu. He collaborated with Four Tet again on his 2015 release Bahdeni Nami.

In August 2013, before his performance at the Way Out West festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, Swedish authorities initially denied his artist visa out of concern that he would request asylum. His visa was granted two days before the festival.[10] In December 2013, he performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway.[11]

In June 2014 he performed at The Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. In July he performed at Roskilde Festival, Denmark and at the Mostly Jazz, Funk and Soul Festival, in Birmingham, UK. He then performed at One Love Festival in Istanbul on 16 June 2014.[12] In August 2014 he performed at Pukkelpop Festival in Kiewit, Hasselt in Belgium.[13] Later that summer on 31 August he played the Electric Picnic festival in Ireland.[14] He also played at Treefort Music Festival in Boise, Idaho in March 2015.[15] In October 2017 he performed at Bristol's SimpleThings festival.

Personal life[edit]

Souleyman has been living in Turkey since the start of the Syrian Civil War in 2011, which heavily impacted his home region.[16] While in Turkey, Souleyman established a free bakery in the border town of Akçakale, in order to serve poor families from Turkey and Syria refugees. In November 2021, he was arrested on charges of terrorism, with the Turkish authorities alleging that he was a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).[17] Souleyman was released two days later.[18]


External media
audio icon "You Must Hear This: Bjork Picks Omar Souleyman, All Things Considered on National Public Radio, 2009-06-29
video icon Omar Souleyman - Haram in Brooklyn - June 2010



  1. ^ Barry, Robert (9 June 2010). "Review: Omar Souleyman, Jazeera Nights". The Quietus. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  2. ^ Krukowski, Damon (31 October 2010). "Souleyman: Dabke 2.0". Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  3. ^ " (official web site)". Retrieved 2014-08-02.
  4. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (18 October 2013). "Omar Souleyman: from wedding singer to the world". Retrieved 1 March 2015.
  5. ^ "OMAR SOULEYMAN – Love him or hate him". Andy Morgan Writes. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
  6. ^ "Omar Souleyman: The Syrian wedding singer wooing the west". 20 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Omar Souleyman Announces Four Tet-Produced LP Wenu Wenu | News". Pitchfork. 2013-07-18. Retrieved 2014-08-02.
  8. ^ Levy, A. "Chaos in Tejas Preview: Omar Souleyman, The King of Syrian Techno". The Austinist. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  9. ^ "ATP Nightmare Before Christmas". Retrieved 2014-08-02.
  10. ^ Omar Souleyman granted a visa, Radio Sweden 7 August 2012
  11. ^ "Omar Souleyman". Nobel Peace Prize Concert. Archived from the original on December 16, 2013. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Pukkelpop 2014". Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  14. ^ "Electric Picnic: Omar Souleyman - Acid House via the Levant". Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  15. ^ Barnhill, Frankie (16 January 2015). "Syrian Wedding Singer Omar Souleyman Among New Treefort Music Fest Performers". Retrieved 20 June 2017.
  16. ^ Beaumont-Thomas, Ben (18 October 2013). "Omar Souleyman: from wedding singer to the world". Retrieved 21 March 2018.
  17. ^ McKernan, Bethan (17 November 2021). "Syrian musician Omar Souleyman held on terrorism charges in Turkey". The Guardian. Istanbul. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  18. ^ Monroe, Jazz (19 November 2021). "Omar Souleyman Released After Questioning in Turkey". Pitchfork. New York: Condé Nast. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  19. ^ "Shlon, by Omar Souleyman". Omar Souleyman. Retrieved 2019-11-22.

External links[edit]