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Why Omar Souleyman Represents the Future of EDM

EDM encompasses such a large swath of music that it can be an almost entirely unhelpful classification.

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Whether it’s techno’s hypnotic four-to-the-flour beat or the aggressive stylings of drum and bass, it’s all EDM. One artist that may not immediately come to mind, however, is Omar Souleyman, the Syrian wedding singer turned international dance icon.

Souleyman’s style of music is owed mostly to traditional Arabic Dabke music. Before his current status, he was a well-known wedding singer in his home town of Tell Tamer with a discography of over 500 separate albums recorded during his live performances. In 2011, tensions in Syria rose to a point that Souleyman decided to flee his beloved home country to neighboring Turkey. He continued to write music that promoted love, affection and positivity. These notions would resonate very well with lovers of EDM in the Western world as he slowly started to develop a cult following abroad.

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In 2013 Omar Souleyman released his first studio album, Wenu Wenu, with a popular world music label, Ribbon Music. Some of the production work on the album was even done by DJ/producer Four-Tet. At this point, Omar Souleyman would still be considered more world music than EDM even though all the traits necessary to be considered EDM were right there waiting for audiences to dance to. His most recent effort, called To Syria With Love, was put out by Mad Decent. Diplo’s popular EDM label has always made it a priority to introduce worldly sounds to Western audiences in an EDM setting.

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