Cue the celebration: Omar Souleyman's first-ever studio album is now streaming in full on NPR. For years, the dabke superstar recorded his albums live, on tape, while performing at weddings. Now, the Syrian virtuoso has crafted a proper debut effort with the help of Kieran Hebden, a.k.a. Four Tet. Made in Brooklyn alongside keyboardist Rizan Sa'id, Wenu Wenu delivers seven songs of swirling, clanging electroni-folk that will officially be released on October 22 via Ribbon Music.
Every year we have to make an album," Souleyman told SPIN earlier this year, speaking through an interpreter. "And this time there was the means to do it in America. Hopefully that will help us get good distribution. The most important thing is that the recording comes out clean and gets good distribution. If that happens, I benefit of course."
When asked about the challenges of making music for an American audience, the 43-year-old said, "The big difference is that here the listeners don't understand the lyrics... So perhaps we focus more on the music and the way the vocals sound." He continued, "The lyrics are about love and relationships. All of the lyrics on the albums, and the ones I sing during parties, are all about love and affection between people. Here they don't understand that, but I believe it's possible they can feel it."
Souleyman and Hebden previously shared the album's throbbing title track, but now listeners can get a feel for the entire collection. Stream Wenu Wenu through NPR, and read SPIN's lengthy in-the-studio interview with Souleyman.