leh jani

First release on Sham Palace, a new label from key Sublime Frequencies conspirator Mark Gergis. "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 hypnotic course. "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 (SF 031CD) 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 cassette album features an hour of music, and ensures an all-night Syrian dabke party no matter where on Earth you rest the needle.

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