Omar Souleyman

Date:Sat 11 Feb
Time:Music starts 8pm
Venue:J2 (standing)
Price:£17 adv

An unexpected preacher of love.

It's a strange world we live in. Who could’ve foreseen that a wedding singer from Ras al Ayn, Syria with over 500 albums under his belt would become a cult hero among club connoisseurs?

But there is an undeniable bond between the legacy 50-year-old delves in - a synthesized version of the Levantine dance music Dabke - and so-called acid house. In both cases musicians cultivate undulating synths and effective rhythms, and in both cases it feels like your head is about to explode from the stimuli, while the hips take on their own lives.

It is completely irrelevant where you hail from - all it takes is a sensory apparatus. Then it's really no wonder that gurus like Four Tet (who produced his breakthrough album Wenu Wenu), Modeselektor and Gilles Peterson are honored to have worked with a master like Souleyman.

When so much of this day and age is in utter chaos, there’s comfort to be found in how the Syrian sings about the great theme of love as the war drum beat rages on carelessly. This is, after all, dance music's virtue: The ability to dissolve us in time and space, building bridges where walls previously were to be found.

DJ support will be DJ Pete de'Vit (La Raza/Selecta/Beatnik) playing a selection of the latest remixes and tracks from the Middle East, North Africa and European electronica.

Followed by a DJ set until 11.30pm.

Food available from The Wandering Yak from 6pm.

Part of Ahbab Festival, an Arabic music festival celebrating themes of love in music and film. 


The Souk (Market) open from 4.30-10.30pm

Throughout the Ahbab festival we will have a selection of stalls selling all manner of products, books, music and more in the foyer area amongst the cafe with the smells of mint tea, Turkish coffee, sweet Arabic pastries and a cornucopia of tastes and flavours from the Middle East.

“Irresistible, hyperactive electronica” The Guardian

“The music here can compete against any kind of dance music being made right now, and succeed.” Pitchfork

“When the buzzsaw, ear-piercing keyboards and thumps of the drum machine hit your eardrums, all rationale is rendered futile.” The Quietus

Running times (subject to change)

  • Bar and food from 6pm.
  • Auditorium doors open 7.30pm
  • DJs: 8-8.45pm
  • Interval
  • Omar Souleyman: 9.15-10.30pm
  • DJs: 10.30-11.30pm

Under 14s must be accompanied by an adult.

All prices shown include a booking fee.