Special Guest Artists

Omar Souleyman

Living Traditions Festival – North Stage

Friday – May 19 – 9pm

Omar Souleyman, who has collaborated with Björk and Four Tet, began his career as a prolific wedding singer, releasing nearly 500 live albums before civil war broke out in his native Syria in 2011. In 2013, Souleyman released Wenu Wenu via Ribbon/Domino, which NPR called, “…a jam so visceral, thrilling and intense as to make the mysterious matter of earthly borders seem hardly worth the time to contemplate.” The 2015 release Bahdeni Nami garnered widespread critical praise including The Guardian who proclaimed, “It’s so fast that the only appropriate way to engage with it is to wriggle your limbs. Melodies are both abrasive and ebullient, chattering endlessly like raucous birdsong.”

He has bolstered his growing status as a world and electronic music icon establishing an extensive international following after touring widely and performing at major festivals including Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, Pitchfork Paris and Roskilde. Since its founding in 2013, Souleyman has been an advocate for the charity “Our Heart Aches for Syria,” which operates in collaboration with Doctors Without Borders. In that same year, he performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Norway.

Omar Souleyman’s new album, To Syria, With Love, is set for release June 2 via Mad Decent.

“…he pitches R&B woo, invoking camelhair scarves and Damascus honeymoons
with ferocious vocal fricatives…”—Rolling Stone

“…there’s something in his stentorian singing that’s irresistible.”—Pitchfork

“…Souleyman is a singular entity of tireless genre exploration.”—Consequence of Sound


Omar Souleyman

View last year’s special guest artist:

2016 Special Guest Artist