Sunday, October 09, 2022

Björk: Crystalline (Omar Souleyman Remix)

Crystalline is a song from Björk's eighth album, Biophilia, and was released as a single in June 2011. Two remixes of tracks from the album by the Syrian musician Omar Souleyman.

The Guardian profiled him in 2015:

Omar Souleyman was a prolific wedding singer with more than 500 live albums to his name before civil war broke out in Syria in 2011. As his country became increasingly unstable, Souleyman fled to Turkey, where performing for couples tying the knot was no longer an option. Yet he continued to write songs of love and positivity as a welcome distraction from the horrors of war, and in the process found himself something of a star in the west.

His thumping Arabic songs aren’t the kind of world music that normally gets played in the background at barbecues, yet neither have they made their way on to the average 2am rave playlist. In fact, his dizzying use of ululating keyboards, pounding synthesised beats and throaty vocals pays homage to dabke, a Middle Eastern line-dance synonymous with weddings and other celebrations.

"They can feel the music and the rhythm of the songs," he says of his western audience, "and that fills me with pride. I’m so happy to be able to do this; few Arabic or Syrian singers have the opportunity to play festivals, or even perform outside the region."

Souleyman was arrested in Turkey a year ago on terrorism charges related to alleged membership of the Kurdistan Workers’ party. He was released two days later.

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