From Syria, With Love
Omar Souleyman is internationally known, touring clubs and performing events around the world, but calls the village of Tell Tamer in Syria home. Though Bahdeni Nami is just his second studio album, Souleyman has already established himself and his sound over the past two decades.
Bahdeni Nami is an excellent album for someone who wants to begin exploring international music that sounds different than what they are used to. The songs themselves are all fast-moving and keep a good, upbeat pace. There is nothing too surprising or shocking (except for maybe a little bit of culture shock) that would turn off a casual listener.
The album, all over, has a very personal feel to it. The lyrical content alone holds on to that feel, as it explores love both on the end of having it and being able to immerse yourself in it, to the other end of having to deal with the pain of losing it. The process that Souleyman went through to have this album produced also seems personal; the recording was done in Istanbul, closer to his home, and Souleyman was able to collaborate with a few artists familiar to him: Ahmad Alsamer, Khaled Youssef and Rizan Said. With all the individual touches given, Bahdeni Nami has had a lot of heart put into it.
It’s interesting how Souleyman gets his inspiration for his music. Though he identifies himself as being a Sunni Arab he draws on the influence of the surrounding cultural groups: the Kurdish, the Ashuris, the Arabic, the Turks, the Iraqi. For some of the songs on Bahdeni Nami, he works with groups with home bases in different parts of the world: England, the US, Germany. Souleyman’s music is a collaboration of cultures that don’t regularly collaborate. Maybe, his music is to reconcile all the difference by finding a common human ground and, in this case, that common ground is love.