Syria lies in ruin now. Going forward it will be devastating to witness the works of art, architecture, and artists that have been lost. One that managed to escape with his family is Dabke singer Omar Souleyman. Dabke is a levantine style of folk music and dance (think line dancing0but cooler) Souleyman was long regarded for his style and voice, but he exploded onto the world stage when he was discovered by underground, world music record label “Sublime Frequencies“. His sound is at once classic, aggressive, and almost punk-esque in the balance between a gruff bark and velvety folk tone. He sings in Arabic and Kurdish and has pioneered an almost hardcore ethos to his words (one of my favorites is called “Hafer Gabrek” or “I Will Dig Your Grave With My Hands”–epicccccccc). Souleyman has found an audience in the most unlikely of places. Having performed to an exuberant crowds at Hardcore/Thrash/Punk fest “Chaos in Tejas” and and alt-music celebration South by Southwest. And having more recently completed a duet with Bjork. I’ve loved his stiff since I got a CD years ago as a birthday present. Now his music means so much much more.