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Gilded Serpent presents...
Turbo Tabla
Arabic Music Re-imagined
Traditional Arabic and Turkish
with House, Hip Hop and Techno

CD Review by Sadira

I didn't know quite what to expect when I first saw this CD, based on its dynamic title!  Actually, this is an excellent CD for listening and dancing. The quality of sound and mixing is excellent, with a wide variety of eclecticism throughout the entire production.

Though the subtitle mentions House, Hip Hop, and Techno music, I found very little of that style being incorporated in the music, and when it was, it created a dramatic effect.

Mostly, the Techno style appeared in the tabla solos. I loved this CD because it has a mix of songs that are traditional, old Arabic, and Turkish. Most dancers who danced during the live music/nightclub era (such as at North Beach in San Francisco) would recognize them immediately. I found it is wonderful to hear a clear and well designed production of musical pieces from Mohammed Abd al-Wahab and Farid el-Atrache.

This is a great CD to use for dancing in professional shows as well as enjoying as a mélange of Arabic and Turkish styles.  Each selection on the CD combines expressively the fluid balance of traditional instruments.

The unique versatility in this CD is what makes it a wonderful blend to have handy. There are a variety of many different musical artists playing, allowing for each number to stand out. There are four pieces of traditional Turkish numbers interspersed between tabla solos and Arabic favorites.

It had been a long time since I had heard real Turkish/Armenian music recorded on a CD, and hearing it brought tears to my eyes!

Turkish styling is very different from Arabic and carries its own musical signature that is different from Arabic music. This comes across very strongly and accurately.  In Turkish/Armenian music the clarinet is used as a pivotal instrument and the drum rhythms carry on without the Egyptian type of heavily accented "pops."  Professional musicians, and dancers alike, will especially enjoy hearing these contrasts.

This CD is not for novice dancers. It has complex overtones and is fast paced in the tabla or Egyptian pieces with heavy breaks and accents.

The Turkish/Armenian pieces are reminiscent of Richard Hagopian and his Kef Time music.

Selection #1 "Longa Farahfaza" is more along the lines for use in modern Raks Sharqi with those great Egyptian breaks in the music and drum rhythm for hip and body isolations, accents and shimmies.
Selection #4 "Ya Shadi al-Han" uses a fusion style with the blending of Old World Beledi and a touch of modern fusion.  To my ears, it tends to resonate flat and sluggish, especially the singing --in comparison to the other pieces on this CD.
Selection #5 "Turbo Zaar" has interesting drum changes for solo shimmies that depart from the traditional Egyptian style drum solo patterns normally heard. A great challenge for highlighting body transitions.
Selection #6 "Azziza", the dancer's trademarked dance song. This Azziza has a great pace to dance to and is done in the Turkish/Armenian style.
Selection#7 "Turbo Tabla Two" gets my vote for being a very strong and dramatic piece of music. It carries a simple and steady, heavy Beledi rhythm throughout and would stand out as a piece for troupe dances.

I don't know where the so-called Hip Hop was in this group of selections, except perhaps during the drum solos there was the use of a slight echo effect..or was that more Techno?

Either way, you'll find your own fusion in this CD!

[Ed- Karim Nagi informs us that he has a newer CD called "Bellydance Overdrive" which has seven of the songs on "Arabic Music Re-Imagined" plus new selections. More information on both CDs available here-]

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