Consisting of just six tracks lasting a total of 36 minutes, Schlon – billed as "six new techno-meets-dabke songs of romance and love to the world" – is a curiously short offering from Syria's Omar Souleyman. Here is after all an artist under whose name some 500 live recordings have been released down the years, from his days as a wedding singer in his pre-civil war homeland soundtracking line-dancing throughout the rural parts of the Levant, to his recent lauded international studio works. But, as with much of Souleyman's studio material to date, every track here bears repeating again and again.
Syrian vocalist Omar Souleyman scored his first hit with Jani in his native land in 1996. In 2004, Khataba cemented his reputation as an innovator in the trans-Arab world. Some 500 live albums released on cassette appeared between those two outings. In 2007, Highway to Hassake (on Sublime Frequencies) introduced Souleyman's new wave dabke music to the West.
T here was a glorious moment during Syrian singer Omar Souleyman's 2011 Glastonbury set. Having just opened to a crowd of sedate, sun-baked West Holts revellers with the trilling saz lines of ballad Saba, he gives one waft of his hand and commands the entire crowd into a dabke-fuelled frenzy. His keyboard player starts hammering out electronic drums on the keys, while Souleyman wails deep-throated entreaties to his audience; it is a joyous encapsulation of his music and appeal.