Gilded Serpent presents..
a Beirut Mood":
Jalilah's Raks Sharki 6
Review by Amina Goodyear
is: if the album label says "Piranha", buy it!
I do not know of any Piranha CD (produced by Jalilah,
at least) that has not been a personal hit for me. They are all
great in some significant aspect.
I will admit,
as an Egyptian dance fan, I was not sure about one carrying
the title "In a Beirut Mood". However,
because Jalilah produced it, I bought it anyway. Initially,
it stayed unopened-just happy to be in my collection of dance
music. eventually, I would use it while teaching my classes. What
a grand surprise it turned out to be! I should not have been surprised
however, considering Jalilah's reputation for artistic taste and
found the selections included make exciting listening. Each selection
is a beautiful arrangement and a good mix. Best of all: each
musical selection is useful and conducive for dance.
I know is happy to buy a CD that has at least one
useable piece. This CD is sure to fulfill that-and
are a few of my personal notes, observations, and comments:
"Tales of the Sahara" 11:01
11 minute Raks Sharki arrangement is a complete routine.The
earthy opening, gives a slight Nubian impression that quickly
changes into an exciting magency (entrance) with turns
and spins evoking visions of veils flying. The solo instruments
in this opening piece: the accordion, the nay, and the question
and answer of the violin and nay, actually tell the dancer what
needs to happen in her dance. This could be a great piece to use
at parties or limited shows where there is a time constraint because
one could easily stop it at three minutes and 28 seconds in length.
The next section,
the Baladi with the accordion, is a great grounding prelude to
the hypnotic bass sounds that are certainly my favorite sounds
in this piece. Images of torsos twisting and hair flying come
to my mind, and the music seems to be directing the dancer into
an almost wild frenzy of movement. Then, the mood changes as the
violin calms the spirit and soul, preparing the dancer for another
trancelike passage. This time, though, the bass, violin, nay and
kanoun enter into a wonderful musical conversation that speaks
of serenity and peace while also pulling power and strength-possibly,
from one's abdomen.
section also is quiet as the kanoun seems to tell the dancer's
body to shimmy and the drum answers with an internal type of drum
solo that (later) reprises the opening, turning out a very exciting
the Sahara" is a great piece for the experienced dancer, and
it could be helpful for teaching choreography to a class. Easily,
a dance instructor could use for teaching any level of dance-from
Beginners to Advanced. One might teach it in a "skeletal" form or
use it to teach an advanced class with all the frills and nuances
that match its variety of instruments.
"Beirut Rhythms" 3:04
is an intriguing drum solo that prompts the dancer to "question
and answer" with various parts of her body. The drum is very clear
and the rolls, pops, slaps, and teks give the dancer the choice
of picking and choosing what she wants to accent. This is a danceable
drum solo-but then-what else might we expect from such an accomplished
"Mizmar Jabali" 1:30
short piece would be fitting to use before a folkloric number,
such as a Debke.
"Ali's Nay" 2:56
for speaking to snakes, the nay also calls to our primordial essence.
If the drum calls out to our passion and red aura, the nay reaches
out to heavenly blues, whites, and our breath of life.
"Lebanese Bouquet" 8:33
Lebanese wedding would be complete without a Debke dance?
It is only
fitting that this bouquet of songs begins with the sounds of the
tabla balady (folkloric drum) and the mizmar to
announce that a Debke is about take place. There are many Debkes,
both traditional and new-but the Debke chosen here, "Ala Da'lona",
is one of the two or three most popular. Additionally, true to
many Lebanese songs, this particular one is reminiscent of the
time of Feiruz, love, and the past.
"Rakset Banat Baladi" 8:08
soulful accordion Balady slowly adds in the tabla to its formula.
It picks up speed turning the Balady rhythm into rolling Maqsoum
rhythm and finally ends with a driving drum solo. This Baladi
Taqsim is delicate and builds with just the right amount of
emotional content. (It might be a fitting addition to "Tales
of the Sahara" to make a dynamic and memorable dance set.)
"Kanoun Mood" 4:45
kanoun has always been a favorite instrument for many dancers,
and I find that my body automatically responds with different
varieties of shimmies according to what the kanoun indicates.
kanoun has that special kind of power!
especially for this CD, "Al Houriyah" (the Siren) begins
with a very danceable Dulab-type entrance that tells the dancer
what to do, similar to the "Tales of the Sahara". There
are walks, turns, chasses, spins and more-especially places to
use the veil. At times, the drum stops the action and then
the violin, mizmar, and bass take turns talking to the dancer.
The next section,
the Baladi section, is in question and answer form involving the
accordion and violin. First, it turns into a nay and violin
call and response, and then it repeats the sequence with a Baladi
type of Masmoudi rhythm. This is a moving section as Baladi
taqsim is an enduring favorite among dancers and musicians.
favorites-here comes another one! This driving percussion section
alternates between mizmar and percussion playing the Malfouf rhythm
and later violins and drum rolls, using the rhythm Ayoub as its
base. The sequence repeats but employs another rhythm-Maqsoum.
Ihsan Al Mounzer, like many Arabic composers, uses the
same melody lines repetitiously but changes the rhythms to make
the piece different or more interesting. The same is true of the
songs sung by many great singers, (such as Oum Kalsoum,
Warda, and Abdul Halim). The
same word repeats, and each time, the sounds and use of vowels
change to make the meanings different-thereby, driving the audience
toward more intense responses.
changes can be ever so slight and hardly noticeable, but it truly
makes the music magically different.
I thought I was through naming my favorites, the violin slinks
into the next section-a Chiftitelli section-with a solo that is
so hauntingly beautiful that at one point, the violin seems to
have double strings.
this entire CD is composed of my personal favorites because the
next section qualifies as another one! It is a slow, hypnotic,
drum solo involving many dooms, that adds on a nay solo. Next,
it becomes a rolling, intricate, drum solo, continuing into the
hypnotic trance-like mood of a duf playing with the intricate
fingering of another drum solo layered on top of it! The
drum continues to play with the music, but now it is the violin
and drum and it has almost climaxed. (However, it is not the finale
of the piece.) The drum and violin play with each other
again until the violin surrenders finally, and the drum takes
over with another solo. Following this solo, the drum leads finally
into the formal Finale. This Finale is a long, involved, and
more exciting rendition of the arrangement's Dulab beginning.
To sum up
DVD is available through ---www.piranha.de
- I call
many of its parts my favorites.
- It is equally
useful for teachers and for performers.
- It has
an element of artistic taste and quality control (in regards
to music, musicians, instruments, and mixing) that other producers
ought to emulate.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Sunday Morning Panel Discussion at Carnival
of Stars, November 11, 2007 Transcribed from video by Allyson.
members discussed Fusion in Belly Dance. Members included: Jihan
Jamal, Shareen El Safy, Dahlena, Debbie Lammam, Amina
Goodyear, and Edwina Nearing
Veiled Visions: A Trip
Down Memory Lane CD review by Amina Goodyear
The CD titled “Veiled Visions” is a re-release
of music that was formerly produced on vinyl.
Dance: Myth and Reality, The Harem Slaves By Jalilah Lorraine
To say so would be like saying that playing music, singing, and
reciting poetry are also only the occupations of slaves.
Living in Yemen, Part
I - Tafruta by Jalilah (Lorraine
A simple question
was all they needed to get them into motion!
Articulating the Collective
Dream: The Giza Awards, and why the legacy-making process is important
to you. by Amina Goodyear and Gregory Burke.
embrace change however roughly it appears. With video we feel
secure in the knowledge that the legacy of the past will never
One Ad Changed My Life
by Amina Goodyear (chapter 1)
was very desperate and determined to get back to my old self.
"I'd Rather Stay
Home with my Kids" by Amina Goodyear (chapter 2)
asked her how to take it off, and she told me to figure it out
when I was on stage. Then I heard - "Our "guest"
dancer, Amina, all the way from upstairs!"
The Photos of Susie
Poulelis, Sunday March 18, 2006, Rakkasah Festival, Richmond,
shines at 9!
Circle Dance by
Melina of Daughters of Rhea
circle is a perfect, democratic & unending shape, the shape
of an energized community, the shape of this lovely round planet.
In Tribute: Rhonda/Baseema
of Troupe Ooh La La by Shabnam
were times she could barely walk due to a flare up of Lupus, but
she always came to rehearsal and gave a 110%--despite the pain
or trouble, she was going through that day. Rhonda soon became
the troupe mascot because of her courage and commitment. "If
Rhonda can do it, you can do it!" became our
motto. She was a great source of inspiration and motivation for
all members of Ooh La La.
Morgana's Animal Magnetism,
Interview with Morgana of Madrid by Surreyya
seeing Morgana’s Serpent Dance, where she embodies the personality
of the serpent, I was hooked. Any snake lovers or snake dancers
will have a special appreciation for this piece.