The Gilded Serpent


Gilded Serpent presents...
Musical Instrument Tour


posted March 10, 2014
Calvin Lai on Zurna
After Jill Parker's beautiful show Dance and Diaspora at the ODC theater in San Francisco on February 21, 2013, Calvin talked to us about his musical instrument. He describes a zurna as a primitive oboe. View this clip and hear the haunting sound!


posted Jan 5, 2012
Susu Pampanin on Moroccan Tomtom
We caught Susu, Terrianne and Amina between gigs at their house in Petaluma. Susu had just gotten out of the shower. They demonstrated the tomtom, bendir, and darbukah for us in their beautiful studio. Rocky and the other dog, Mochi, were there to help. Sorry about cutting the heads out of the shots. Are not the tom toms beautiful?

Moroccan Tomtoms

posted Oct 16, 2010
Ergun Tamer on Saz
Ergun is one of the organizers of the Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp held in Mendocino, California, each year in August. Ergun plays many instruments. In this video he tells us about the Turkish saz. The saz has many names depending on the country, such as bazouk or bazouki. This instrument also comes in many sizes. and please visit for more videos and over 1000 articles on Middle Eastern music and dance. Thank you!


posted Oct 16, 2010
Murat Tekbilak on Darbuka or Dumbek
Murat Tekbilek is the son of Omar Faruk and Susie who are from Turkey. He shows us the different sounds this drum can make and his obvious talent. Also included is footage of Murat performing on stage with his father and Dror Sinai, Hasan Isakkut and others. More fun clips from camp are included of drum sessions and classes and the kitchen staff's dance.

Renaissance style violin

posted Aug 26, 2010
Tina Chancey on Renaissance Style Violin
Director of the, Tina takes a moment from the camp’s busy schedule to tell us the difference characteristics of this style violin from one we normally see. She touches on the different posture used to play and also why she, a professional player of “Early Music” is interested in how Arab music and style relates to what she normally plays.


posted June 13, 2010
Miles Jay demonstrates the Double Bass
Miles Jay demonstrates to us a few basic details about the bass violin. This instrument is also called the double bass, stand up bass and contrabass. He shows using the bow and plucking or pizzicato. He also demos the Arabic maqam Bayati and the basic tuning of the bass. This footage was captured in August 2008, at the Mendocino Woodlands, Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp. Mile's web site is


posted April 12, 2010
Scott Marcus demonstrates the Ney
Scott Marcus is a professor at the University of California in Santa Barbara. He directs the Middle Eastern Ensemble at the university. Scott is also a wonderful teacher. We had the chance to catch him after his class at the Mendocino Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp. Scott has also written a book called "Music in Egypt"


posted February 11, 2010
Paul demonstrates the Oud
Paul shows us his instrument, including the tuning he uses, why there are not frets, who his mentors are and the makers of his instrument. Paul has been involved with the San Francisco Bay Area Armenian music scene since 1959,
as a percussionist under the tutelage of Charlie Alexanian. Paul picked up the oud in 1973;
the result of a party conversation with a violinist (Greg Mazmanian) and a drummer (Mark Toomajian).
In 1977 he joined Robaire Nakashian to work with his Belly Dance Troup – Zaghareet.
The popular duo appeared at restaurants, festivals, and special events.
Paul performed at the Bach Dynamite Society with Peter Dorian and Alan Ishmael.
He played oud duets with Joe Zeytoonian at the 1988 Mid East Camp, and in concert with Joe in Miami 1990.
Currently he’s playing oud and percussion with the traditional Egyptian band Al Azifoon.


cura, small saz or small baglama

Posted January 30, 2010
Daoud demonstrates a cura, saz or baglama.
The Saz family has many sizes.Cura is the name of the smallest size saz or baglama. This is an octave higher in pitch than an full size regular saz. Daouds band Baba ku also performs at the Renaissance Pleasure Faire every Spring in Southern California Find him at captured in August 2008, at the Mendocino Woodlands, Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp.
Turkish Cura Saz (pronounced "jura soz")



posted November 28. 2009
Rowan Storm teaches about the Daf, Tar, Dayereh and other frame drums.
Filmed in August 2008, at the Mendocino Woodlands, Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp. Rowan Storm talks about the different names each frame drum has in each country and the confusion that can happen. She also tells us about women only drum groups in central Asia. Another topic- plastic vs natural materials
Be sure to check out the camp website at www.middleeastcamp.comand Rowan's site at


posted July 9. 2009
Ergun Tamer demonstrates the Kanoun
Ergun is one of the organizers of the Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp held in Mendocino, California, each year in August. Ergun plays many instruments. In this video he tells us about the kanun. The kanun shown is Turkish, and made by Ejder Gulec. In a future video, Ergun will show us the saz.
Be sure to check out the camp website at



posted July 9. 2009
Ling Shien Bell demonstrates the Accordion
Ling Shien lives in Fairfax, California. She is part of the musical group Helm along with her husband Mark Bell and others. She came to the Gilded Serpent studio to tell us how she has modified a standard western made accordion to be able to play the quarter tones required in many of the Arabic modes. She shows us a row of reeds that is normally inside an accordion and how they work similar to a harmonica. She plays parts of songs from Armenia and Afghanistan. She also plays a song in the key of bayati. Please visit Helms website at for more about Ling and Helm.


posted June 24, 2009
Fattah Abbou plays and demonstrates the Ribab or Anzad
Fattah Abbou of Santa Cruz, shows us his musical instrument called the Ribab or Anzad. Also included is a clip of Fattah playing the music of the Tamazight from Morocco on his instrument and singing in the style from his home of birth high in the Atlas Mountains. This video was filmed with permission at the Kosmos Camp held in June 2009 near Guernville, California.
For more about Kosmos Camp please visit & for more about Fattah

posted 3-17-09
Sahba Motallebi plays and demonstrates the Tar and Setar

Sahba is from Iran and has been living in Los Angeles for the last 3 years. She shows us her two instruments, the Tar and Setar. We see the front and back of the instruments and the moveable frets and pegs. She plays the instruments for us as well. Also included is footage of Sahba on stage performing with Bahram Osqueezadeh on the Persian Santur and Rowan Storm on the frame drum.  Sahba also has CDs available on her website

Persian Santur
Posted 1-31-09
Bahram Osqueezadeh plays and demonstrates the Persian Santur

Footage captured in August 2008, at the Mendocino Woodlands, Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp.
Bahram play for us and talks about his intrument.


Posted 11-11-08
Omar Faruk Tekbilek demonstrates the Ney
Omar Faruk Tekbilek, originally from Turkey, teaches and demonstrates the ney and zurna. Also incuded are short performance clips of Omar with the instruments and band members.

Omar starts by telling us the story of a holy man being taken to heaven on a holy horse or "burak". He relates this to being taken out of our daily lives by playing music on our instruments- "I have so many horses!" he says of all his instruments. He tells us about the different tunings and ranges of the different neys he has. He also tells how he made his own. In addition, Omar shows us a zurna or mizmar and the double reed that it uses.

Posted 9-24-08
Souren Baronion demonstrate his Musical Instruments -Part 1
Kuval, Dudook, G (or Sol) Clarinet, Soprano Sax and Riq or Tamborine
included also are snipits from performances

Posted 9-24-08
Souren Baronion demonstrate his Musical Instruments -Part 2
Kuval, Dudook, G (or Sol) Clarinet, Soprano Sax and Riq or Tamborine
included also are snipits from performances



Posted 9-3-08
Our First Video is with

Dror Sinai Demonstrating the Bendir

filmed at the 2008 Mendocino Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp

One more regarding the Mendocino Music and Dance Camp-

Gilded Serpent reports from the Middle Eastern Music and Dance camp in Mendocino. It is Tuesday and this is our video report #1. Names and more details of people in the video will be added the article page on Gilded Serpent that this video is meant to illustrate. Video includes short clips from various activities. Souhail and Nasar talk with us. Robyn Friend dances with her husband playing for her in the background. Student drummers practice. Reports are made and uploaded from a laptop in an internet cafe in the town of Mendocino.



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More Drumming Articles-
7-30-01 RECREATING RITUAL Enhancing our daily lives with drumming and dancing, by Tahya
The rhythmic patterns and dance movements of this tradition, steeped in antiquity, steeped in women's ancestry, rekindle a natural and sacred state of well being.

9-6-00 A Drummer's Advice to Beginning Dancers - by Kirk Templeton
"...Know your rhythms! I have drummed for bellydance classes where the instructor not only couldn't clap baladi but didn't even know what it was..."

3-22-00 Dancing to Live Drumming by Lucy Lipschitz
The Drum can express all human emotions: joy, sorrow, elation, and grief.

Interviews with Drummers
7-1-00 Child Prodigy grows up, Reda D! An Interview with Reda Darwish
"I knew Sahar Hamdi from the time when she used to be a customer watching Fifi Abdu."

2-28-06 Loay Dahbour: Kuwaiti Drum Pro Interview by Yosifah Rose
In addition to teaching us about drum solos, Loay also took some time to share with us his valuable insights as a musician after working for the past thirteen years with hundreds of San Francisco Bay Area Bellydancers.

7-31-01 Salah Takesh Interviewed by Janine Ryle
For years, 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.

9-22-00 Interview with Michael Beach of the Brothers of Baladi by GS Staff
We are a versatile group. One night I play blues, the next jazz, then I become part of The Brothers, playing either a drum set or dumbek.

Reviews of drum related products and events
3-15-03 Review and Rating of 2002’S MIDDLE EASTERN DRUM CD/TAPES by Sierra/Sadira
This is a review of eight of the most popular Middle Eastern Drum recordings produced this year. Incuding works by Reda, Susu, H Ramsy, Zaid, Mafufo, and more...

5-29-06 P.U.R.E. Danceby Dhyanis
A collective of dancers and drummers plan to take music and dance out into the streets this summer on July 15 in cities across the nation and globe.

1-17-07 Perfectly Masterful Teaching: Drum Solo Master Class with Jim Boz Reviewed by: Rebecca Firestone
With his shaved head tied up in a bandanna, with a burly torso, powerful legs, and a thick neck, he looks more like a biker, a bouncer, or a circus strongman. Thus, his grace and posture is even more amazing.

8-17-05 Workshop with Issam Houshan March 26, 2005, San Francisco Reviewed by Rebecca Firestone
In the solo improvisational forms of Middle Eastern Dance, the chemistry between the drummer and the dancer is a vital ingredient.

6-14-05 Dancing With A SuperStar Jillina’s Drum Solo Workshop in Vancouver by Erica
If you have the opportunity to dance with this amazing, educated, experienced, beautiful, and did I mention fun? woman, do not hesitate to do it. It is worth every penny and every minute!

11-15-05 Shareen el Safy's Exploring the Drum Solo “DVD” DVD Review by Mara al-Nil
I am pleased to report that what she said was true—everything she covered in the workshop is on the DVD. Finding it, however, is another matter.

2-21-02 Egyptian Drum Solo Choreography Video, Volume 1
By: Al Wahid Productions Featuring: Jamilla Al Wahid and Reda Darwish on drum by Gennevie Hebranson
If you are looking for a video that will inspire you ...

12-12-00 Armando's Drumming Dazzles the Dancer by Claire
Video review of "Uncle Mafufo's Riqs & Defs: a practical approach to Middle Eastern Frame Drums"

9-29-00 "Halawah" on Compact Disc by Reda Darwish review by Najia El-Mouzayen
San Francisco's favorite Egyptian drummer has again produced a musical offering for the dancer and Middle Eastern music fans.

10-31-03 Workshop in Perth, Australia-Hossam & Serena Ramzy's International Tour August 8th - 12th, 2003 report by Ayesha
Hossam’s presentation requires the student to listen – and I mean LISTEN.


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