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Omar Souleyman, Bahdeni Nami (Monkeytown Records)




Omar Souleyman, Bahdeni Nami (Monkeytown Records)
CD Reviews: July 23, 2015

07/23/15
By Eric Saeger news@hippopress.com



Omar Souleyman, Bahdeni Nami (Monkeytown Records)

There’s nothing funnier than watching honkies dance confusedly to wildly ethnic tuneage — I’ll have to find some YouTube footage of this Syrian not-really-crossover singer when he hit Bonnaroo in 2014. The actual genre under discussion here is Dabke, a Middle Eastern chorus-line-ish dance that looks like it’d be a lot of fun on Free Jello-shot Night, but in this case it’s supercharged with electronic inputs — not that it’s easy telling the loops from the analog instruments (tablas, Ouds and daffs if we must get pedantic). Souleyman’s voice is, of course, enthusiastic but omniscient at the same time, as much a carnival bark as a melodic conduit, thus it’s not overly conducive to balladry, only the frenzied whirling-dervish world music that comprises this stuff. Producers Four Tet, Modeselektor and Gilles Peterson have cleaned up Souleyman’s sound but not the mess — if anything’s poised to replace Gogol Bordello in the knuckleball-indie space, this is it. A Eric W. Saeger





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