Leh Jani – the legendary Omar Souleyman
track was originally released in Syria as a
sprawling 30-minute epic groove, alongside two
additional tracks. The entire 60-minute cassette
album was recorded live to tape in 1998 at the
home studio of producer Zuhir Maksi in the
village of Ras Al Ain in northeastern Syria.
Many of Omar’s early tapes were recorded in this
fashion to replicate the feeling of his live wedding
party performances while minimizing the inherent
recording chaos and distractions of those parties.
The full track – featured here, reveals plenty more
twists and turns from synth and saz during its
Leh Jani appeared in slightly edited form on the
original Syrian-issued tape, which was distributed
throughout the country for a short period of time.
The song was further truncated for Omar’s debut
western compilation, Highway to Hassake
(Sublime Frequencies, 2007) and a concurrently
assembled internet video clip of the track helped
earn Omar his first attention in the west.
The album begins with a lively introduction,
followed by a majestic mawal, before showcasing
the incredible uptempo and previously unreleased
Salamat Galbi Bidek. All tracks are embellished
with the virtuosic folk stylings of longtime
collaborators Rizan Sa’id on keyboards and
Hamid Souleyman on electric bozouk.
This complete version of the original Leh Jani
album features an hour of music, and ensures
an all-night Syrian dabke party no matter
where on Earth you rest the needle.
Recorded and produced by Zuhir Maksi in Ras Al Ain, SYRIA, 1998
Omar Souleyman : Vocals • Rizan Sa’id : keyboards & percussion
Hamid Souleyman : bozouk • Ahmed Samer : poetry & backing vocal
LP produced by Mark Gergis • Mastered by Tyler Harwood
© Omar Souleyman / Sham Palace 2011