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Fyom Weleleh:
A Day and A Night
Amorfia Productions music release on cassette
A Music Review by Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan
February 1999

The latest musical release from Amorfia Productions is passionate and exciting new music featuring the mastery of the Palestinian/Lebanese brothers, Georges Lammam and Tony Lammam from San Francisco. From a family of professionals involved in music and film--  their father, Sobhi Lammam, was a film producer in Egypt and Kuwait and their mother, Helene Amorfia, was a well-known singer of Arabic music--the Lammam brothers, Georges on violin, Tony on doumbeq and Elias on accordion, first performed for a church.  Later they were the core of a 12-member ensemble, The Golden Stars Band, which played five-star hotels in resort areas throughout the Middle East in addition to radio and television.

In 1987, Georges came to America to join his brother, Tony who was living in Miami, Florida.  Word of this extraordinary musician traveled to the West Coast and a contract brought Georges to San Francisco.  Mr. Lammam has co-founded with his wife, Jeanette Cool, Amorfia Productions, a company dedicated to the education and performance of Arabic music and dance.  Three recordings have been produced and several works in progress are part of a curriculum for teaching and performance.  Mr. Lammam has instructed two courses in Arabic music at the University of California in Berkeley, and has been on the faculty of the Mendocino Middle Eastern Music and Dance Retreat for eight years.  He is currently working with noted dancer, Shareen El Safy on an educational performance forum: Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Egypt's Master Artist: A Dancer's Guide to Exploring the Oriental Form which will be presented around the United States in the next two years.

For the accomplished dancer, this is music that inspires passion in your dance and has a hot, complicated drum solo to display your dancing talents.  This audiocassette reproduces the musical mastery of these two artists and commands a listener to become involved in the passionate display of talent.  This is truly music produced for the most proficient dancer as it provide musical flourishes, accents, transitions and the delightful sections of interplay between the musicians that lend itself to a most complex performance.  Performance to this music requires grace, as well as knowledge of Middle Eastern riffs, embellishments and style of dance that corresponds and harmonizes with the special qualities of each instrument.

This audiocassette has five sections.  Combining the various sections provides an opportunity to construct several different performances.  The title of the audiocassette, Fyom Weleleh, composed by Mohammed Abdel Wahab. translates as "A Day and A Night".    Georges Lammam plays violin and oud, Tony Lammam, doumbeq and tambourine.  Jeanette Cool, Georges' wife and Amorfia Productions' manager, uses synthesizer to add texture and flavor.

The audiocassette begins with the song for which the tape is titled: Fyom Weleleh.
The piece begins with a violin solo transitioning to a three-doum masmoudi rhythm with violin that moves into a moderate tempo for a striking Egyptian walking entrance.  Then, the melody alternates between the violin and oud in a playful call and answer section.  Tambourine and doumbeq overlay the music with pops and shakes providing a base for layering shimmies and dynamic Egyptian pops by the dancer.  Georges' violin is played with modulating dynamics-a lilting melody with a special sound of "magic-a trill that reminds one of Tinkerbell's magical appearances" which provides a transition to the next section of music. The piece continues with the interplay of flute and violin, punctuated by a pizzicato violin.  A dramatic ending with a wind-up of dynamic music ends this 9:28 minute piece.

The next piece Ahlam, which means "Dreams", is an 8-minute piece featuring Georges in solo violin.
The beginning of this piece requires a super sound system as it begins with an infrasonic drone-the sort of sound quality that alerts your body before your hearing picks up the sound.  This beginning provides an excellent anticipatory focus for the performance as the audience feels the start of the musical piece.  Georges plays a soulful violin solo taqsim with trills and high and low violin call and answer sounds that embellish the use of maqam in this style of improvisational music.  Ahlam is an appropriate piece for veils, taqsim and body undulations and isolations as the dancer catches each nuance of trills and the call and answer modality.  The piece has a unique doumbeq and tambourine section of four measures that makes a transition to a sweet, soulful and emotional violin section perfect for capturing the taqsim maqam in undulations.  This piece enters a with a bolero/ chifte-telli rhythm section that transitions to a heavy doumbeq and tambourine. The end of this piece returns to the violin with light and heavy bowing that builds to a dynamic end.

Sa'at  mebashufek ganbi, which means "Now, seeing you beside me"-is a love song.
This musical piece features Georges' signature lilting violin style akin to the vocal quality of singing highly prized by Arabs like that produced by the famous Egyptian singer, Om Kulsoum.  This musical selection includes dynamic tambourine and doumbeq flourishes for an exciting and emotional dance performance with layered shimmies.  The chifte-telli rhythm provides an upbeat sound like a "walk in the park" and I envision Mona Said's tiptoe walk in relevé with pointed toe touches.

The next piece, When Everyone Dances is a hot, complex 6:33 minute drum solo that features Tony Lammam's fantastic doumbeq playing.
This is indeed a challenging drum solo with a fast beginning that moves into a slow baladi with syncopated rolls and pops.  There is a nice long roll with pops overlaying the baladi rhythm to a stop.  Then, the four measure hagalla drum solo patterns with finger rolls for nice ¾ shimmies and chest pops and isolations.  This drum solo contains all of the traditional and challenging doumbeq patterns you will recognize from the famous dance routines.  Nice extensive finger rolls provide the expert dancer an opportunity to display her expertise to shimmy and undulate simultaneously.  The drum solo also provides a 6/8 rhythm for nice ¾ shimmies with hip and body accents.  A dramatic cymbal crash provides dancers with a helpful signal of the approaching end of this dynamic drum solo.

The last piece, the finale, is a musical reprise of Fyom Weleleh, immediately follows the drum solo. 
This piece provides a perfect musical structure that provides the performer with an ending piece of music to complete her performance and exit the stage. Fyom Weleleh, A Suite for Dance is a 30-minute musical set with excerpted work from Mohammed Abdel Wahab that includes original violin taksim and drum solo.  This music provides a complete dance performance and is also a beautiful collection of music for your listening appreciation.  I highly recommend this music for the inspiration it provides the performing dancer and the enjoyment it will bring your audience.  With this music you can truly dream, dance and enjoy your passion for the dance.  It is passionate music from gifted musicians that spotlights their talents in Arabic music that leads the dancer and her audience through musical pathways filled with sentiments and passion. 

The audiocassette tape is available from
Amorfia Productions,
71 Hartford Street,
San Francisco, California 94114-2013,
415 431-0768,
amorfia@sirius.com at $12.00 each postpaid.

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