The Gilded Serpent presents...
Jalilah's Raks Sharki 6
"In a Beirut Mood"
feat. Ihsn al Mounzer

by Alexandria and Latifa

Zil Rating:

Having danced to Arabic Music for more years than either of us wish to admit, we found it refreshing to run across a new CD produced by Jalilah's that felt inspirational to us. The music on the CD is arranged as a series of pieces illustrating various genres of music from Lebanon.

The first and last pieces on the CD are suitable for a Raks Sharki performance although the first track is definitely our preference.

Track 1 is an update, a remake of an old arrangement of "Aziza" that Latifa once choreographed as a dance titled "Chocolate As A Spiritual Path." It starts with a grand opening. There are a delightful variety of rhythm changes from malfuf, maksoum and back to belledi which will undoubtedly lead to that applause that comes with something everyone finds familiar. There is even some Saidi rhythm which brings the folklore touch. The nay player contributes some exquisite classical riffs. Tony Anka and Bassam Yazbek on tabla and Arabic percussion are precise, clear and perfectly measured.

Overall the opening number is very energetic and ends with power!

We highly recommend Track 2, Beirut Rhythms, for it's diversity and rhythmic complexity. It inspires and drives a dancer's interpretation, whether choreographed or improvised.

Tracks 3 and 4, Mizmar Jabali , and Ali's Nay are soulful examples of mastery and inspiration in both instruments. You may notice that the Lebanese mizmar has a notably higher pitch than the Egyptian one. The nay solo is fluid, serpent like, and excellent for floor work.

Track 5 titled 'Lebanese Bouquet" consists of typical folklore that one might find at a Lebanese wedding. IshanAl-Mounzer has arranged it so that they can be danced in Raks Sharki style.

"Rakset Banat Baladi" in Track 6 features a conversation between an accordion and tabla which typifies Egyptian Baladi style dance. The accordion is at once sophisticated and soulful. The riffs are familiar but with a slight hint of urban blues. The tabla is precise and clear. However the entrance of the def adds depth and complexity to the percussion in this piece.

Track 7 features a kanoun solo, which weaves a truly magic web of sound that inspires a meditative state or, perhaps, a veil performance coming from deep inside one's own conciousness.

Track 8 titled "Al-Houriyah" is a new Raks Sharki piece composed especially for this CD. The entrance features a strong malfouf rhythm and a somewhat unusual combination of piano, base and violin. The piece is accented by the mizmar, accordion and flawless percussion. There is a lovely chiftetelli in the middle with violin and flute solos. These are followed by a stunning tabla and Arabic Percussion section. The finale has a lot of variety. It includes violins, a tabla solo, and some good breaks.

This is a CD to enhance any collection! It will definitely delight the beginner or expert of Raks Sharki style dance.

Please shimmy, don't walk, to get this CD!
Purchase CD here!

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