Bahdeni Nami is technically Omar Souleyman’s second album, but in his 20-plus years as a musician, the Syrian singer has reportedly put out over 500 recordings, mostly mixes from weddings he performed at before he began to gain notoriety. That type of workhorse longevity is rare, but Souleyman is a singular entity of tireless genre exploration. Bahdeni Nami is more proof that one of the most exciting voices in electronic music is a 49-year-old Syrian man, and that he’s exactly what the genre needs.
Souleyman has crossed over into the mainstream to some degree with assistance from a few big names in electronic music, who show up again on Bahdeni Nami. Four Tet has been one of Souleyman’s strongest allies, and his production on the album’s title track is the highlight of the whole affair. The eight-minute track never lets up, and Souleyman and Kieran Hebden avoid falling into any trance cliches as the synths dance between octaves. Modeselektor produced two of the album’s seven tracks, “Leil El Bareh” and “Enssa El Aatab”, both of which make you feel like you’re attending a Souleyman-hosted wedding. The music elevates the surrounding temperature as you’re transported by the overwhelming wealth of diverse cultural influences.
Souleyman’s music won’t be accessible to everyone, but his passion makes itself evident in every part of this record. When you can feel the same connection that a musician feels to their craft, it intensifies the experience of hearing it. Listen to Bahdeni Nami with an open mind and be prepared to come away feeling like you might want Souleyman to play at your wedding, too.
Essential Tracks: “Bahdeni Nami”, “Leil El Bareh”, and “Enssa El Aatab”