"Arabic Rhythms Volume Wahid"
Reviewed by Najia El-Mouzayen
January 16, 2002
At last! Here it is
a beautifully recorded CD that presents rhythms for the intuitive learner
or for the dancer who already knows how to identify what constitutes basic
drum- rhythms used for Arabic dancing. "What is an intuitive learner?"
you ask. An intuitive learner is a dance student who needs no instruction
in how to do something, but who finds it instructive to have examples
of a subject to be learned, accompanied by two additional variations of
The excellent points about this CD production are as follows:
" It has a pretty cover with an interesting color combination.
" As mentioned previously, it is a quality recording.
" The drummer is accomplished.
" Each rhythm is clearly identified.
" There is a neat photo of Nourhan Sharif on the back insert.
" The production staff is clearly and prominently credited on the
" There is a bonus of two drum solos included that are both approximately
four minutes in length.
" Nourhan has a beautiful voice and clear enunciation.
In my pragmatic
judgment, I would rate this CD an almost excellent, if boring, choice
for dance teachers to use in class
while the teacher
instructs with her own method for recreating the rhythms on the finger
cymbals or for repetitions of the string of transitions and repetitions
by which many teachers build their lessons.
My reservations about
its use in class would be:
The inclusion of the vocal identifications at the beginning of each change
of rhythm classification, since that voice gives no information or instruction
except the name of the rhythm and then it counts "One, two, one two,"
repeated in Arabic, "Wahid, eitneen, wahid, eitneen." The teacher
who can teach the rhythms and their uses would have no need for this introduction.
On the other end of the spectrum, the student at home might use this CD
for practicing the various rhythms. Those who heard the disc with me wondered
why the voice was there at all since it explained nothing. Together, we
looked at the insert for further edification and found that it explained
when and where these rhythms usually appear. No musical notations or instruction
about producing the rhythm on finger cymbals is included, however.
I still think that the inclusion of an aloof voice counting flatly
"Wahid, eitneen, wahid, eitneen" set the tone for the entire
recording that consisted of rhythms disembodied from the motivational
force of complete music.
It is a characteristic
of western instruction to dissect subjects to their elements rather than
attacking the whole, which is so uncharacteristic of the culture from
which Arabic music springs.
At the end of the
CD the voice instructs us to "Stand-by for volume Two". I will
anticipate that event with curiosity, if not enthusiasm.
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East Report, Part 1, by
the show in New Jersey
and Cheb Khaled Concert Review by Mark Kraft
...a revealing look
at Arabic music today and an indicator of how exciting the possibilities
are when cultures share influences, yet retain their individuality.
Dates and Casuals
"Don't worry, honey, " said the stripper, "I've got
Nomads of the Spirit by Sierra
Know what are you contributing - either to their
dilution as a people or the strengthening of their true image.