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Omar Souleyman Refused Swedish Visa
Laurie Tuffrey , August 5th, 2013 07:54

Syrian musician was set to play Stockholm Music & Arts festival this weekend; stream his new single Wenu Wenu below

Quietus favourite Omar Souleyman had to abandon a set at this weekend's Stockholm Music & Arts festival after he was refused entry into the country.

In a statement released by Way Out West, the Swedish festival Souleyman is due to play next weekend, the organisers say: "[Omar Souleyman] was refused a visa on the grounds that Sweden does not admit Syrian citizens to the country at the moment. The reason behind this was that they believed the risk of him applying for a residence permit in Sweden was too high [...] It's obvious that Omar Souleyman is a professional touring artist who does not intend to flee to Sweden."

Way Out West go on to point out that Souleyman is playing a number of other festivals in the West, listing Iceland's Airways festival, Pitchfork's Paris festival and FYF Festival in Los Angeles, by way of urging the Swedish authorities to give him entry for Way Out West.

Says Souleyman himself: "I could not believe the reason for which my visa was denied - that of Sweden being afraid that I will want to stay there and apply for a residence permit when I arrive. I am a musician who travels all over the world and to all western countries to sing for people and to make them dance. I have never ever had any wish or intention to remain in any country that has issued me a visa that enables me to perform for people there. It is clear to anyone who will take a look at my extensive touring history for the last 5 years in the western world - where I have been and how many borders I have crossed. Hundreds and hundreds.

"I have a family in Syria and I have no intention of ever abandoning them. The Embassy had the information clearly of all my children, wife, brothers and sisters, parents, who all live in Syria. I support them and give my life for them. I have never had nor will [I] ever have any intention to defect into Sweden. I love my home as troubled as it is right now, more than anything.

"The decision of the Consulate is very wrong but I have accepted that; now I hope that my management will do everything together with promoters in Sweden to correct that."

In other news, Souleyman recently posted the title track of his forthcoming Wenu Wenu album online. The record, which sees Souleyman and long-time collaborator Rizan Sa'id being produced by Four Tet's Kieran Hebden, is out on October 21 via Ribbon Music - have a listen below:

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