review by Andrea
Raks, released in 2007, is a CD with many of my own personal
favorite songs that are
enjoyable for performing, teaching, or just listening. Recorded
in a studio in Lebanon, the music on the CD was made with the
dancer in mind. The ensemble of instruments is comprised
of qanun, bass, riq, accordion, and drums in addition to a
keyboard. The pieces are suitable for the dancer who
performs regularly in restaurants and festivals and needs to
put together a dynamic set in under seven minutes. With
this CD you can present a great performance with a variety
of moods for any venue.
What I look for in
an inspiring opening piece is something upbeat thatíll make
the audience clap. This first piece should deliver some
accents and dynamic rhythms that I can play with. The
first track, Hasan, is it! Itís
a fun upbeat song with good rhythm dynamics. At 4:07,
the length is just right, plus I love how the ending is a reprise
of the beginning. It makes the piece feel like it comes
full circle with a beginning, middle, and ending.
many other songs end abruptly and leave you hanging or just
take too long to finish--not unlike an unsatisfying lover. Hasan,
however, is truly satisfying. It will be my next new
entrance piece for 2008!
Another great piece
is Where Do We Begin 2 (2:54). In a brilliant move by
the musicians or producers, this part of the epic song Nebtidi
Min Ayn Il Hikaya was recorded as a different track from the
beginning music, Where Do We Begin (4:02). You can use
the pieces separately or together. Where Do We Begin
2 is one of my all time favorite pieces of entrance music. I
just canít get enough of the piano introduction and the flowy
feeling of the music. Iíve performed to it hundreds of
times and each time Iím inspired by the music.
There are some very
worthy interpretations of other classics such as Ya Msaharne,
Gana El Hawa, and Ma Aarwak. Ya Msaharne is simply dreamy
and will be loved by you Om Kalsoum fans out there. Itís
the type of music that makes me want to close my eyes and swoon,
and the musicians do it justice on this CD. Gana El Hawa
is always a crowd pleaser and Ma Aarwak is stirring for those
who like to be taken away by slow Arabic love songs. Other
noteworthy pieces are Where do We Begin, Madah Elkamar, and
El Hawa Hawaya.
drum solos in general on BellyliciousRaks are extremely dancer-friendly. They
were recorded live and each pattern is played 4 times before
a new pattern is started. I wish all live drum
solos were like that!
CD provides 4 drum solos in a variety of lengths so you can
squeeze one in to your performance no matter what the time
limit is. My two favorites are Aleya drum solo (2:56)
and Belly Beats 3 (3:06). The former gives you a little
bit of ayub (or zar rhythm) which is always fun to play with. The
latter has lots of different drums giving it a heady and exciting
brief Belly Beats 1 (1:10) may come in handy for those shorter
sets and also is good for students to practice to.
Zay El Hawa has to
be one of my favorite all time songs--this one however is not
my favorite version. Personally I wish it had more punch
for performing though when I play it in my dance class the
students love it! Additionally,
I do wish the CD had vocals on it. That would make it perfect!
Why is it so challenging to find tarab music CDs with vocals
you are a fan of the great orchestrated classics, youíll really
enjoy this CD. Aleya had a lot of consideration for dancers
in producing BellyliciousRaks and it shows! For
the professional it provides many dynamic numbers that you
can add to your performance arsenal. For the student
it provides some of the most popular Arabic oriental songs
that you need to know. For anyone who likes Arabic music,
the CD is very satisfying!
Contact Aleya regarding this CD
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor" for
other possible viewpoints!
Subjective View of Raqia's Cash Cow The AWS Festival 2004, Part
1 by Andrea
she came out as a snake, then entered
wearing a melaya, next, as a caged lion. Her performance
was very entertaining.
to Eat, Drink, Sleep, and Breathe Raqs Sharqi in
2005 How to Eat, Drink, Sleep, and Breathe Raqs Sharqi, Part 1 of 4,
is an historical day in Egypt! The first “real”election with
actual opposition candidates is taking place. I’m trying to stay
abreast of this important event from TV news, but the American and British
news sources barely talk about it.
2005 How to Eat, Drink, Sleep, and Breathe Raqs Sharqi, Part 2 of 4-Dance
Egypt, if a woman is only going to wear one item of make-up, it will
be black eyeliner.
'05, How to Eat, Drink, Sleep, and Breathe Raqs Sharqi, Part 3 of 4-Current
could say that Aleya and I are burning the candle at both ends and enjoying
every moment! Our priorities are three: take lessons, buy costumes, and
Deux, Trois, A Review on the “Journey Along The Gypsy
Trail”Workshop by Denise
with Hadia, Jalilah Zamora, and Amrita Choudhury, Photos by Denise and
Tracey Vilbert, Event held on January 5, 6, 2008, in Montreal, Canada
Magic Sounds Studio of Cairo, 3 Albums reviewed and Compared by
CDs- Oriental Fantasy #12- Talisman, Nesma:Del Nilo
al Guadalquivir (From the Nile to the Guadalquivir),Nesma, Memories
In a world where Egyptian dancers dance in the "less
is more" tradition, the world of musicians seemed to be -
more is better and lots more is best.
3-11-08 Serpentessa –Do
not try this at home…. DVD review of "Belly
Dance with Snakes: Embody Your Inner Serpent" Review
There are things in this video I can get behind and
things I can’t. A blessing and a curse of this video is
that there is so much information that it is difficult to navigate
through it all.
Karioka, Queen of Oriental Cabaret Dance by Sausan
the 1980’s, the spread of Islam and its fundamental militancy
proved to be a big blow for Egypt’s belly dance industry.
As a result, several dancers publicly renounced their pasts and
donned the Islamic veil.
Loved the Old Days at the Bagdad! by Habiba Nawal
think I was making about fifteen or twenty dollars a night plus
tips. It was all about the tips! The girls from New York made
twenty-five, if I remember right. Bert sometimes got me shows
for about thirty or seventy-five dollars for what he called “The
Furry Animal Clubs”, like the Lions, the Elk and the Kiwanis.
Belly Dance From Burlesque by Miles Copeland
it is traditionally understood, I do not find Burlesque, (meaning
nudityóno matter how hard one pretends it does not) amusing or creative
in the slightest when it comes to including Belly dance, an art that
has suffered too long with such unfortunate associations. I find
it completely irresponsible and detrimental.