I think of my father,
by Nadia Elias
images come to mind. Of course, one of the first pictures that come
to my mind is from my childhood memory. I remember as a very young
child going to see my dad at our club, The Bagdad Cabaret. I used to sit right in
the front of the stage and eagerly wait for the next show.
The room was very dark, and it was
lit with candles and incense all around. I remember my father being
high up on the raised stage, with the oud in his lap and microphone
by his side. My father's music and his voice would fill up the room
with such wonderful harmony! Most exciting of all, I eagerly waited
to see the next belly dancer. After all the waiting, my father introduced
the dancer, "The Lovely----!" My heart would race and
I was so anxious to see their fancy and beautiful costumes. As I
rose on tiptoe trying to take a peek, standing up and looking all
around, the dancer finally descended the stairs and then up onto
the stage. The beautiful sequins and shining beads of her costume
reflected the light and the mirrored walls, and her perfume filled
my senses. I deeply enjoyed listening to my father sing and play
the oud; it was like a lullaby for me. Somehow, it made me feel
that everything would always be okay whenever he sang. What a beautiful
voice my father had! I don't want to appear biased in any way, but
until this day, I think my father had the best voice I have ever
heard. It definitely had a "warm" sound. Somehow, his
voice seemed to carry the warmth of his heart.
When it was time to close the club
for the night, it was time for me to begin to play. I would get
up on stage and grab the microphone and would start to sing anything!
All the dancers, musicians as well as the bartender chuckled, trying
not to offend me. I would pick up the sequins and beads left on
the floor and save them with my collection. It was time to go home.
I remember my father would sit down
in our living room and play the oud and sing for us. Music was very
important in his life; he had a real passion for it. He insisted
that my sisters and I take piano lessons, which, at the time we
dreaded, and now we are so thankful. He was a very strict father
and always wanted us to do our best. I can remember a time that
I had done something to disappoint him, and I had told him that
I had very good intentions. He replied to me, "Sweetheart,
good intentions are not enough." He was a very hardworking,
caring, passionate man. He always gave whole-heartedly. Unfortunately,
I believe a lot of people had taken advantage of his kindness.
Today, I like to dance with these
memories in my mind. Every move I make, I think of my father. Every
song I hear, whether it is the tape I am dancing to, or it is
Amina and Jacque's band at
El Valenciano, I hear his voice through the music and that
is where my dancing passion comes from: the memories of my father
and his lessons and beautiful words of wisdom.
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Dancing in North Beach
the occasions when the door was still locked, I was often invited
to drink coffee next door, where young girls made their money stripping.
North Beach and Mark
Bell from an interview with Lynette
lot of my getting the jobs was because I was there available when
the opportunity arose
by Janine Ryle
he was involved in the San Francisco North Beach scene during the
eighties as a drummer
while his brother, Jalaleddin Takesh was a kanoonist and restaurant
owner. We asked him to recall some of his experiences for our North
Beach Memories series.
and the North Beach of Yore
An interview with Gail by Meredith McGuire
addition to our North
Beach Memories. Find more names and faces you have known or