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Arts & Culture

Syrian Wedding Singer Omar Souleyman Among New Treefort Music Fest Performers

Christina Birkinbine
Treefort Music Fest
Built To Spill's Doug Martsch plays among fans at the 2014 Treefort Music Fest.

Music fans, get your headphones ready.

Boise's Treefort Music Fest has announced another round of bands set to play in March. The multi-venue festival will feature an eclectic mix of artists over five days.

Here's some from the top of the announcement this morning:

  • Omar Souleyman
  • Josh Ritter
  • !!! (pronounced "chick, chick, chick")
  • Built To Spill
  • Joyce Manor
  • Delicate Steve
  • of Montreal
  • Foxygen

One of the most interesting so far is Omar Souleyman, who tops Friday's release. Souleyman is a Syrian wedding singer who escaped the civil war there and has captured the attention of the West's indie music world.
Festival director Eric Gilbert says having Souleyman on the lineup is one of the things he's most excited about.

"In Syria, wedding singers are taken considerably more seriously than in the States, and it's considered kind of a high art form to a degree," says Gilbert. "Since then he's collaborated with the likes of Bjork and the Four Tet and has really made a name for himself in the states and in the festival circuit in general. We're going to have him play at El Korah Shrine which I think is going to be an intriguing pairing."

Click "play" to hear the audio version of this story.

Here's a 2013 NPR Music showcase featuring Omar Souleyman.

Other bands that come with today's announcement include Idaho native Josh Ritter and Treefort veterans Foxygen, of Montreal and Rubblebucket. To see the full list of bands click here.

Josh Ritter is from Moscow, Idaho. He's joining a growing list of bands set to play Treefort.

Gilbert says ticket sales for the festival are up from the same time last year.

"General enthusiasm seems to be up and building from the momentum from last year. Enthusiasm from the bands is overwhelming -- we're in the process of finalizing the last list and there's too many bands we're going to have to say 'no' to who we would love to have. That's to a degree a good problem, but makes for difficult decisions."

Stay tuned for the final band announcement for this year's festival, which kicks off March 25. 

Find reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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