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SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Samara was born as Tahira in Baghdad, Iraq, 1963. She was born into a traditional Muslim family that wanted her to study engineering in Lebanon. They were not to pleased when she decided to do something more…creative. After moving to Lebanon, Tahira took the stage name, Samara, and became very inspired by Nadia Gamal, whom she asked for lessons. Nadia taught Samara three dances and advised that she develop a unique style.

Samara took that advice to heart and man did she come up with some unique stuff! She incorporated Polynesian, Greek and Indian and Spanish dance inspiration into her routines. She was also influenced by nature, for her NYE show in 1995, her concept was – the sea. “Her show opened with a huge clam shell on stage. As the music started, the lid was raised, and Samara slowly emerged, representing a pearl. Her costume was of the elaborate Lebanese variety, all in pearls,” (Samara: Sayyida Raks Sharqi, Best of Habibi). Even beyond incorporating different forms of dance, Samara had music written just for her (she also had her own band), and even used some American New Age fusion in her sets.

Samara’s distinct style gained her popularity and the name “Sayyida Raks Sharqi”(*) from the Lebanese press meaning, “Mistress of Oriental Dance.” After her first three years dancing in Lebanon (1981-1984), she began traveling and dancing around the world, ushering in her golden age from the mid 80’s-early 2000’s. She started out traveling to the cities of  Kano and Lagos in Nigeria and Abidjan in the Cote d’Ivoire. She later traveled to Europe and Arab countries as well.

Being so popular Samara had to regularly switch up her show, she would do this every 4-6 months, adding in new inspirations and music. She wanted to keep her fans on their toes and felt it was necessary for her to keep growing as an artist. She always wanted to out do herself, which in my opinion, is the best form of competition.

Learn more about Samara here.

Why I <3 HER:

You’ll see when you watch the videos! She is completely mesmerizing, I couldn’t stop watching video after video and I tried really hard to not make the longest youtube playlist of all time lol 😛 She’s very lively, incredibly creative and on top of that she has amazing technique. I’m also fascinated by her fusion of different styles, especially with all this talk I’ve been seeing recently about styles/categories of belly dance.

I hope you all enjoy the playlist!

xoxo

N

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjrrLz1h329-zpqReULnJZZd7m61raLOc]

*I don’t know why Raks has a K and Sharqi has a Q…anybody?

As a follow up to my latest post ” The Art Of The Drum Solo,” I thought it would be fun if this weeks #bellybeatz playlist was all drum solos – yiiiiiiip! Listen below + tell me what you’re favorite drum solos are – I will add them to the playlist! 🙂


Also, just as a side note check out Isreali pop star Sarit Hadad kill it on the darbuka  – bad.ass.

 

“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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Today I edited my first song, Batwannes Beek, by Warda. It was very daunting thinking that I had to cut an 8 minute song in half – especially Batwannes Beek…I’m still not sure if it sounds perfect – but the point is, there’s a way to do it!

For those of you with macs, I found awesome instructions online that are so easy to follow!

And S/O to Lili Zayda for sending me on the right track!

xoxo

N

 

Bellyrical

I was introduced to Bellyrical on twitter. It’s Japanese belly dance music by DJ Cool-K, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

Listen here and get yo groove on!

SO HERE’S THE DEAL:

Tülay Karaca (pronounced Karaja) is a Turkish dancer who rose to fame in the 80’s. Her signature vivacious style and incredible zill playing combined with her famously revealing costumes brought her much success over the years. She has been credited as being very influential on the American Cabaret scene.

WHY I <3 HER:

You’ll see when you watch the videos… because- dang! She is amazing! Honestly once you watch her dance, you won’t even pay attention to her “risqué” costumes, I mean come on… the 80’s weren’t her fault…

Tülay’s style is so natural and elegant. In the videos you’ll see that she will be moving around so gracefully and then all of a sudden a kick will come out of nowhere, she’ll drop to the floor, or add in a very quick turn. I love that her dance is so unpredictable and dynamic. Karaca’s was famous for her zill playing, she would even play solos for herself on her zills, typically after a drum solo. You can see this in “Tulay Karaca on Turkish Television Part 2,” and you will be wowed!

Take a look at the videos below, and let me know what you think!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLjrrLz1h3298ia-R0mPwtEzNIfnDk3vur]

xoxo

TBB

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

 

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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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!

 

 

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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