Samer “Zimo” Saem Eldahr (Hello Psychaleppo) is a 28-year-old producer whose music Vice calls:
A pastiche of twitchy electronic sounds and golden age Arab pop music of the 1950s and 60s. It is alternately danceable and cathartic, melancholic and apocalyptic….The dark, disturbed aesthetic of the music betrays the emotional backdrop of Zimo’s project: This is music you can listen to while your country burns.
The title of his project alludes to his hometown and alma mater (University of Aleppo). By 2012 he had grown tired of his country’s conservative values, and the revolution was becoming violent. He packed his bags and began looking for a gallery space in Beirut. Upon arrival, the violence had escalated so much that his parents adviced him to remain in Lebanon for his own safety (they would later flee to Jordan).
“I know for people inside Syria,” Samer tells Vice, “they’re really suffering. They’re suffering the thing. But for Syrians outside Syria, it’s also hell. To be departed from your country, from the people you love back there and from your memories and everything.”
After settling down, Samer met Minnesota native (and now-wife) Jessica. When Lebanese regulations changed regarding work permits, the couple moved to Minneapolis.
Since then he has toured Europe and the Middle East extensively, but as he tells City Pages, he’s still not sure what to expect from his American audience.