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One of my favorite parts of visiting the Serena Belly Dance Museum was seeing all of her old albums. Take a look and listen to the belly beats playlist! Enjoy!

 

 

 

There are still several albums that I can’t find recordings of online, but you can order the vinyl if it interests you.

Here are some of the albums that were not on Spotify, but are on itunes.

The Greek Way – Gus Vali: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-greek-way/id979494971

Festive Dance Music From The Middle East – Eddie “The Sheik” Kochak & Hakki Obadia Orchestra: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/festive-dance-music-from-middle/id1004020686

Exotic Belly Dancers – Middle Eastern Ensemble: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/exotic-belly-dances-classics/id268865865

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Brothers of the Baladi are the ‘real deal’ –– a fresh take on an ancient idea“ –The Beat Magazine

Unique is the perfect word to describe the grammy nominated band Brothers of the Baladi. Their style is one of a kind, “the quartet combines traditional acoustic Middle Eastern instruments and songs with western instrumentation, exotic rhythms with familiar grooves and vocals in seven languages (Arabic, Turkish, Farsi, French, Spanish, Armenian and English) to create a unique and highly rhythmic dance music.”

Brothers of the Baladi is headed up by the multi – talented and very cool Michael Beach, who in addition to providing the lead vocals, plays doumbek / Arabic tabla, mizmar, mijwiz, def, riq and davul. The band also includes talented musicians J. Michael Kearsey, Clark Salisbury, and Charles Pike. Michael credits composer/ conductor, David Amram and the Middle Eastern band Sirocco as some of his/the bands influences. Brothers of the Baladi has also had the chance to collaborate with artists like Moroccan born Tariq Banzi and drummer Michael Shrieve.

Learn more about the history of Brothers of the Baladi here.

LISTEN!!!!! BELLY BEATZ PLAYLIST: BROTHERS OF THE BALADI 

Brothers of the Baladi has been going strong for 30 years and dropped 11 albums!

I had such a hard time putting together this playlist because all the songs are so good!!!!

[spotify id=”spotify:user:1272124796:playlist:6xKLzCcfNghcoaD9d72OlB” width=”300″ height=”80″ /]

You can also buy their music here 🙂

And don’t miss Michael’s solo album – Hands of A Thousand Dances

[spotify id=”spotify:user:1272124796:playlist:2GUmcd6aXCn2TD7YuaLu5e” width=”300″ height=”80″ /]

 

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SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Nesrin Topkapi is a famous Turkish dancer from the 70’s. She was born Nesrin Gökkaya in 1951.  She first danced on stage at age six and and at only 15 moved to England, where she lived and danced for 8 years. She moved back to Istanbul in 1974 and worked very elegant venues such as the Maksim Gazinosu, a casino in Istanbul. She toured Turkey for three years and had the opportunity to dance at many prestigious events. Nesrin continues to perform and teach  – so be on the look out! If you want to keep up with her, you can add her unofficial fan page as a friend on Facebook here.

WHY I <3 HER:

<3 how elegant and graceful she is

I <3 the way she uses her arms

<3 that there is so much personality in her dance and she really makes it her own. She adds her own little twist to each movement

<3 that she can dance in sky high heels

watch here and tell me what you think!

I don’t know much about Ensemble Huseyin Turkmenler except I like their music, and since Aszmara mentioned them in her interview, I thought they would be perfect for this weeks Belly Beats playlist 🙂

Enjoy + Have a great weekend!!!

xo

TBB

The first time I saw Aszmara dance was at Je Bon in NYC. I had never seen a dancer like her before. She came out, super high energy, playing her zills so fast that my mind was blown. She completely owned the stage, and it’s so hard to describe, but she made watching her an experience. Nothing she did was expected, it was so incredible. With over 35 years of experience under her belt, Aszmara brings grace, strength, confidence, power and passion to the stage. If you haven’t seen her dance yet you’re definitely missing out!

Lucky for you, she has a workshop coming up in just a couple of days, so please check out the info here! 😀

Take class with Aszmara!

And now for the interview….

TBB: How did you get started in belly dance?

AS: It all started on a dare from a friend who had a free pass from General Foods for a 10 week Belly Dance class at the local White Plains YMCA. She asked if I wanted to come with her and when I declined she countered, “Are you afraid?” “Of course not!” I exclaimed!  So on that dare I went to class and immediately fell in love with the music.  Then I saw the movements and I fell head over heels.  Over 35 years later, I am still falling head over heels, learning more, experiencing more and sharing the love and joy of this most beautiful art form.

 

TBB: Who were your most influential teachers and why?

AS: There are so many influential teachers throughout my dance life. Elena Lentini has to be top of my list – throughout her career she has pushed the boundaries of typical Belly Dance to extraordinary areas of expression.  She constantly inspires by her looking at things in a different way and has inspired me to go beyond the typical trappings of Belly Dance.

There is the late Alan Danielson, a modern teacher of the Limon style, whose courage, technique, lyricism and musical expression are carried with me.  The lyric nature and odd time signatures of his teaching fit so well to the music and expressions I strived to convey; his technique has kept my body dancing strongly and safely.  Alan’s courage was shown when one year after his heart transplant he returned to teaching and performing in concerts. Sadly, we lost him this year but we had so many extra years because of his transplant.

Souren Baronian and Haig Manoukian.  These two musicians I toured with for so many years taught me more about music than a Doctorate Degree ever could!

And finally, Roberta Koch, my dance partner in SaZ Dance Theatre from 1900 – 2010.  Together, we created visions that used Oriental Dance movements as a base and expanded to so many new horizons.  She taught me to be braver than I thought I could ever be in dance.

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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjrrLz1h3299nfMwnSHatW0sb304ts7yd]

Shaabi music, meaning “music of the people,” came out of Cairo in the 1970’s. Artists that sang Shaabi were often the first of their families to live in the city. They brought with them their knowledge of Beledi music and added a more contemporary feel with lyrics that expressed their political frustrations, sexuality and social commentary.

For context, Shaabi came out at the same time as Rai in Algeria, Punk in the U.S. and Reggae in Jamaica. It also followed the passing of very influential classical musicians like Oum Kalthoum. It was the end of an era, and the beginning of a new one in Egypt and around the world. It was a time of revolution and music was a way to vocalize the feelings of the youth.

Shaabi was mainly distributed by CD and Cassette  – bootleg style. This way it was easy to self produce and promote and censorship by the Egyptian government could be avoided.

Some of the most famous Shaabi singers were Ahmed Adaweya, also known as the Godfather of Shaabi, Hakim, and Saad Al Soghayar. Ahmed was known for his emotional mawal, or vocal improv, at the beginning of his songs.

Read more about Shaabi here.

BUY “YALLA” – CLASSIC SHAABI CD!

LISTEN TO THE BELLY BEATS PLAYLIST:

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Badaweyah Kareem is an NYC based dancer, choreographer and teacher. Raised in the midwest, Badaweyah spent much of her life performing on the stage in some way shape or form from the time she was just six! Over the years she has been a violinist, stage actress, and night club blues singer. Her love of music and performance brought her to NYC. Here she spent some time researching Bedouin and Berber culture and was re-introduced to classical Egyptian music and then to belly dance. Now she performs frequently in New York and has even performed at Lincoln Center. She has also danced at the Ahlan Wa Sahlan Festival in Egypt!

The first time I saw Badaweyah dance was last year at an event called Pandemonium hosted by Jerry Bezdikian. Badaweyah mesmerized me with her unique and authentic style and stage presence. There is so much depth to her dance you can sense the history behind it, even in her name, which translates to Bedouin in Arabic. A couple months ago, I got to know her better when we worked together at the Theatrical Belly Conference, she had the best stories to tell (which she will share with you below) and I learned so much just from listening to her. I got to see Badaweyah perform again more recently and knowing more about her, it was even easier to see how much passion and soul she brings to the dance. This past Saturday, I was lucky enough to be able to interview Badaweyah in person, so watch below!!!!

Also take a peek at Badaweyah’s webiste!

 

TBB: HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN BELLY DANCE?

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpoaqtThMqw]

 

Learn more about the Tuareg People

 

 

Learn more about Morocco a.k.a. Aunt Rocky 

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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!

 

 

I first saw Alia dance at JeBon, a restaurant in NYC, a couple of years ago. I was completely captivated. Alia has a really special way of drawing her audience in and mesmerizing them with even the smallest movement. Everything she does is so smooth! She is a dance veteran and a former student of Ibrahim Farrah. She has also been inspired by Elena Lentini, Dunya McPherson, Azza Sherif, Tamalyn Dallal, and Leila Farid. Alia is an accomplished dancer and teacher who has danced on three continents, in six countries, and fifteen states.

Alia is  also the creator of a cool concept/ online motivational tool called the 90 Day Dance Party Challenge. When I found out about it, I jumped at the opportunity to participate. In this challenge, Alia asks you to dance for 20 minutes everyday, to any type of music. She sends the most amazing prompts and inspiration ( or love notes as she calls them  🙂 )  your way to get you going. My favorite part was getting the love notes, it is so apparent how much time and thought Alia puts into each one.

Being a part of the dance challenge, and seeing Alia dance, sparked my curiosity. I wanted to learn more about her, and luckily I got the chance!

Listen to Alia’s interview above and read along below, where you’ll also find links to some of the things she talks about AND… Listen to her playlist :D. 

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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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