OMAR SOULEYMAN is a Syrian musical legend. Since 1994, he and his musicians – Rizan Said keyboard and Ali Shaker Ali – bozouk - have emerged as a staple of folk-pop throughout Syria, but until now they have remained little known outside of the country. To date, he has issued more than five-hundred studio and live-recorded cassette albums which are easily spotted in the shops of any Syrian city.
From rural Northeastern Syria, Omar began his musical career in 1994 with a small group of local collaborators that remain with him today. The myriad musical traditions of the region are evident in their music. Here, classical Arabic mawal-style vocalization gives way to high-octane Syrian Dabke (the regional folkloric dance and party music), Iraqi Choubi and a host of Arabic, Kurdish and Turkish styles, among others.
This amalgamation is truly the sound of Syria.
Together, they commonly perform the Ataba, a traditional form of folk poetry used in Dabke. Acting as a conduit, Souleyman struts into the audience with urgency, vocalizing the prose in song before returning for the next verse. Souleyman’s first hit in Syria was "Jani" (1996) which gained cassette-kiosk infamy and brought him recognition throughout the country. Over the years, his popularity has risen steadily and the group tirelessly performs concerts throughout Syria and has accepted invitations to perform abroad in Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Lebanon.