Leila Haddad Presents:
Traditional Vol. 2
SidiMansour. Songs and Beats from Tunisia.
A CD review
Haddad once again produces an excellent
quality CD of traditional music from her homeland of Tunisia.
The quality of the sound mixing is up to her usual high standard.
This recording goes beyond mere music for dancing and listening.
Whether one is a dancer who is studying North African /Tunisian
Dance, a world music enthusiast, or an ethno-musicologist who
specializes in traditional regional songs and music at its most
pure level..this CD encompasses all of that --and more!
Ali first introduced the dances and music of North
Africa to the Western world of Middle Eastern dancing, we westerners
had very limited prior knowledge of these ancient, desert dances.
Her albums were the first to bring the music straight from Tunisia
and Algeria and to make it available for all to experience. Even
at that time, few dancers actually knew the style of these dances
and their particular rhythms, songs, patterning or regalia well
enough to replicate them.
am proud to have been able to learn North African dance from
the teachers and dancers, who like Aisha Ali, learned it in
its homeland, and from Leila Haddad, whose ancestry and lineage
shines out to all who know her and study dance with her.
It is rare
to find such a person and dancer as Leila, who is a representative
of a culture and art form that might have been lost to obscurity
otherwise in our societal rush towards more and more modernization.
In that sense Leila's musical recording is more then a mere CD
for dance, it is also part of the preservation of the style and
music of ancient traditions.
In the 1970s
when it was so difficult to find any kind of music from the Middle
East to use for either dancing or for listening, there existed
a company known as "Folkways Albums." Their directive was to
find and preserve as many vanishing old world and ancient world
songs and tunes. Only through their archival albums would anyone
be able to find music from Morocco, or any area of the world,
including traditional Aleut (Eskimo) songs.
In the producing
of her CD's, Leila is also creating a legacy of preserving and
authenticating the music from Tunisia. This makes this CD even
more valuable in the study of ethnic music and enjoyment in seeing
the traditions passed along and continued. Due to Leila's teaching
of North African Dance throughout America and Europe, we are able
to be a part of that incredible lineage and authenticity.
This CD is
an extension of new songs; rhythms, and beats used to dance with
then have not been available before. Tunisian music and rhythmic
stylizing is unique in its own particular format. If one did not
know, or had not studied Tunisian dancing, one might find its
patterns very different from the typical 4/4, 2/4 tempos used
in contemporary Arabic music.
linear notes provide us with the rhythm used in each piece,
mostly in 6/8, and 2/4 counts; yet the variety and styling of
these counts are what makes them unique and faceted in association
with North African music. There are sublime complexities in
the variety of music selections that all originate from one
signature rhythm (6/8), that continually change in styling for
to the selection of musical pieces on this CD exposes one to a
wider range of rhythms than formerly heard music from Tunisia.
The complexities (not only in the music, but the dance styling
required for each individual piece) are wonderful. If you are
a novice, you would not be able to dance Tunisian to this particular
CD; only if you understood the nuances and all aspects of Tunisian/North
African dance, would correct dance be possible.
on this CD has a wide variety. The singers are preeminent as soloists,
aside from the accompanying harmony. The instruments of Bendir,
Tabla, Zokra and Mezourad are mesmerizing -even somewhat cajoling.
What I love best about this music is its embodiment of joy and
the exuberance it evokes.
#3 "NOUR " is reminiscent of the music associated with BAL ANAT,
RU, and that which is often heard in use for ethnic style dance.
This selection has versatility beyond Tunisian. Its ending is
fast paced and dramatic.
#4 "LEILA", with an intricate 2/4 rhythm, would need to be accompanied
in dancing by understanding the correct style of movements to
use, and accuracy in count and step formulation, which is necessary
to this piece. This is an energetic, exciting number that builds
#6: "Jani el marsoul" is done in 4/4 count, yet it is very different
in emphasis on the counts and beats on the tabla that stand
out as Tunisian signature versus Egyptian, or Beledi 4/4. The
drumming is superb.
#8 " Sidi Mansour" is one of my favorites. It is highly reminiscent
of a Zar, or trance style mode in 2/4. It is very reminiscent
of the Bedouin trance style with repetitive chants and beat
that grows faster and faster, known as "Allah Hey" (God lives!).
is as exuberant and expansive in its modalities as she is in her
dance and her apparent desire to share this traditional beautiful
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
12-14-04 My Disastrous
Experience at the New Luxor Restaurant in South San Francisco!
noticed patrons around us being brought drinks, and food, yet
not one waiter stopped by our table. In true Egyptian style she
was showered with dollar bills during her performance from both
men and women alike.
A review comparison of Mini-kit gift items:
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and Jennifer Worick
-Facial Expressions for Dancers by Natica Angilly, Review
be perfect for young girls, teenagers, any age, as a wonderful,
unique primer on dancing and the exotic appeal it portrays to
the regular population.
The Myopic View of Bellydancing
It is interesting to note that among dance fields that
are culturally based, ours is one of the few that adhere to this
stigma and prejudice.
Keti Sharif’s A to Z Advanced
Stage Instructional DVD and booklet review by Monica Berini
It is rare that an instructional video marketed to advanced
dancers follows through to actually challenge experienced students
or performers. This one does.
Wings, The Complete Technique, a
private lesson with Ayshe a review by Mara al-Nil
Well, I have to say that I must take a bit of an issue with the
title of this DVD. “A private lesson” with Ayshe?
More like an intensive, private seminar! This 2-hour “workshop”
is one of the most comprehensive instructional DVDs for dancers
Belly Dance Super Stars Video
by Amina Goodyear
and Directed by Jonathan Brandeis Executive Producer: Miles Copeland.
"... However, as there is no audience,
most of the dancers have a difficult time conveying the emotions
of the dance to the video viewer. Only Jillina and Dondi seem
to overcome this obstacle. "