Classic & Original Music
Arranged with the Dancer in Mind”
Reviewed by Najia El-Mouzayen
taking a time travel machine to 1955 Brazil by a lost dancer
from the Middle East, this well recorded music gives the “Belly
Dance” a decidedly fusion flavor. The blending of the lower
American continent with a mixture of dance classical tunes from
various parts of the Middle East and
the Mediterranean is charming, if a bit
too slow in part.
I believe that this recording is destined
to be a favorite among dancing students who are just beginning
to perform. New dancers usually need music that is stable within
each selection rather than music with shifting themes containing
a variety of rhythmical and tempo changes. However, it is those
complexities that make most Arabic music interesting and challenging
to experienced performers whose preferences and abilities are
we have Pat Olsen warbling something akin to
a Flamenco styled, yet plaintive mawaal titled “Black
Is My Heart” which is presented as a copyrighted original
composition, while there, we have the Greek and ever-present
“Miserlou” presented as Greek and Egyptian fusion. The
opening title, “Como?”
certainly transported me somewhere Mediterranean
to a “trattoria” for a little Sangria!
have taught beginning dancers for many years and the selection
titled, “Nile the Crocodile” by Pat Olson is exactly
the sort of slow, fantasy Oriental music (complete with bird
sounds and trickling water) that will capture their fetal-like
tarab (the spirit of the dancer that is moved by music).
Perhaps a performer may choose it for Raks Snake Razzmatazz.
The following selection is an unusual “6/8 Drum Solo”,
which seems like a good bet for a zaar styled interpretive Oriental
the thin quality of the arrangements, featuring creditable musicianship,
puts one in mind of many nostalgic memories of student nights
at Middle Eastern dance Nightclubs in America.
Many of the selections sound old fashioned and much of the music
is a combination of Oud, and dumbek (dumbeck, doumbek, or tabla)
with a touch of delicate bass by Mike Rader underlying the arrangement--like
the title “Ka’an Az-zaman” and others. It is also reminiscent
of some of the live groups on the stage of many festivals such
as the Rakkasah Festival.
many student presentations in the future will have ladies with
veils draped over their heads and faces, back to the audience,
interpreting the slow keyboard, oud, and dumbeck composition
“Denise’s Bolero”! I can see it all now… Uh, I have
seen it, and seen it, and seen it…
“Drum Solos” are masterpieces of predictability and will undoubtedly
become favorites of dance instructors, worldwide, who have beginner
students. These drum solos are better than most and are of
a beginning nature because the sound is so good and clear and
the drum is accompanied by the zils of the tambourine.
Olson’s voice, though not like that of a Middle Eastern singer
is more Mediterranean with its tremolo and sweetness. It is
very pleasant and will certainly appeal to many a sensitive
female heart, especially in his rendition of “Seni Sevdi” (a Turkish Love Song).
recording is arranged into two complete American-styled dance
presentations: one titled “For Your Gypsy Soul”, which
has little to do with Gypsy-hood, and another, “Crossing Continents” that seems to hop
around the globe from musical continent to continent without
prejudice. Each group sports a drum solo and the typical fast-slow-fast
format favored by Western dancers.
I had a passel of beginners, I would definitely order “Pangia”
for their practice sessions and their first dances for student
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