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The ney has “a pure, universal spiritual sound”…it “speaks the language of love, instantly comprehensible in the heart…”

 

 

This weeks Belly Beatz is inspired by my interview with Alia Thabit!

Mercan Dede, also known as DJ Arkin Allen, is a multi-talented musician. He plays the ney and bendir as well as composing, producing and djing.

Dede is know for his fusion of traditional Turkish and Middle-Eastern music with modern electronic sounds. His music is also influenced by sufism and spirituality.

To learn more about Mercan Dede go HERE!

Dede is the musical director of the Guldestan project  – The Istanbul State Ballet. View music videos and videos of the ballet below!

 

 

 


This Belly Beats post is inspired by this weeks interview with Kay Kizi’ah (read here!) and this week’s #TBT, Ragaa Youssef (read here!).
Warda’s style was an eclectic mix of “Parisian chic and the more vivacious North African colourings”

FUN FACTS ABOUT WARDA:

Warda Al- Jazairia, born Warda Ftouki, was born July 22, 1939, just outside of Paris. Her mother was Lebanese and her father was Algerian.

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For this week’s belly beats playlist I  have chosen Rachid Halihal! I  love his mastery of Arabic music, from the fiddle to the oud to his vocals— he is just such an incredible, authentic musician! Please support this artist by purchasing his music from his website here or from the iTunes Store.

Rachid plays at Hayaty every Monday nights from 8-11 and on Wednesday nights at Horus on Ave A

Come out and support live music in NYC!

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This week I  made a really cool playlist for you guys of the legend Sugar Mary Vartanian! Make sure you listen – it’s some classic stuff!

We are always so interested to hear stories of 8th avenue back in the day. 8th avenue between 23rd to 40th streets in NYC used to be the place to be. The avenue was lined with clubs that played Turkish, Armenian, Greek, and Jewish music. One of the stars of 8th ave was Sugar Mary Vartanian – or as she was known  – Seker (Shakar in Armenian) Mary. Seker is Turkish for Sugar.

Sugar Mary came from Istanbul. She played the mandolin in France and ended up as a cabaret singer in NYC. During the summer, she like many other Armenian musicians would perform in NY’s Catskills, in what was called the “Yogurt Belt”, because of all the Armenian resorts.  She was known for the sultry tone of her voice and her wooden spoons that she would clap in each hand.

Click below to see a video of her performing when she was in her 90’s!

 WATCH SUGAR MARY VIDEO! 

So freakin’ cool !!! ^^^^^^

 

 

 

For this week’s belly beats playlist we’re shoutin’ out the musical genre and dance reggada (الركادة)

The roots of this music and dance originate with warriors. It’s a very old ancestral dance from the Rif mountain region of Northeastern Morocco. The people of the Rif mountains who were warriors were also called “aarfa” or “imedyazen”, and the dance reflects the nature of these brave people. They would bust out this dance as a sign of victory over their enemies. This is a Moroccan folk music/dance that has evolved tremendously and has been brought to a more public eye due to Moroccan diaspora in Europe. This genre is widely listened to and very popular in all of Morocco and France, not just limited to the Northeastern Rif region.

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Assi Al Helani is a popular Lebanese singer who has been big in the Middle East since the 90’s. What’s cool about him (aside from his great music), are his humanitarian efforts. Helani regularly participates in fundraising concerts for causes like global hunger and poverty. Very cool, Assi, very cool 🙂

Enjoy! This week’s bellybeatz playlist: عاصي الحلاني

 

 

 

*Post originally written by Gazelle.

Popular Rai artists (L to R): Cheb Hasni, Cheikha Rimitti, Khaled

 

This past weekend I went to Anahid Sofian’s Saturday class (www.anahidsofianstudio.com). Anahid is the best because she exposes us to all different forms of Middle Eastern and North African dance and music, like Rai. In the past I  have danced to Rai, and Saturday she brought it back – woop!

SO WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH RAI????

Rai is cool because of it’s content and it’s beat. Rai literally means “opinion,” it’s full of passion and expression. It’s rebel music, sung by the youth for the youth about poverty, police harassment, survival, alcohol, sex and love.  In a way, in terms of message, it can be compared to hip-hop in the early 90’s – Tupac, Biggie, Nas, Public Enemy… that kind of thing.

Anahid explained to us that Rai rhythms are mostly 2/4 and 4/4 with the heavy beats on the 2 + 4 like Western music instead of the 1+ 3 like Middle Eastern music.  When dancing to Rai you use your whole body to express yourself, it’s very loose and free with African tribal influences when appropriate.

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