Electric Picnic: Omar Souleyman - Acid House via the Levant

Artist: Omar Souleyman

Venue: Rankin's Wood

Date Reviewed: August 31st, 2014

It used to be that Omar Souleyman’s Saturday nights involved playing the tunes at Syrian weddings, though probably not the tunes which are popular at Irish ones. He doesn’t strike you as a man who has much truck with Dont Stop Believing.

These days, though, he plays joints like the Electric Picnic, turning on festival crowds to his take on Syrian folk music. It’s a highly unlikely success story but boy, does it work.

It begins with a slow, atmospheric groove from his sideman on the keyboards and gizmos before a hard beat kicks in and we’re away. What follows is wave after wave of rudimentary, minimal hypnotic electronica, the sound of early acid house raves rewired via the Middle East.

The show goes off like a whirling dervish. Souleyman chants away, the crowd twirl and twist into a trance. Saturday night fever in downtown Stradbally.

In three words: Jack your body
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