Belly Dance Music
was First Brought to the United States
intro by Amina
musical Mecca is Samiramis
Imports on Mission St. It is owned by Samir Khoury
and is a little deli and music store. At one time and still for
many of us, it was/is the only place to listen to and buy
Middle Eastern music – be it traditional, classical or just in
from the “homeland.” We soon discovered that Samir’s supplier
was Rashid Sales in Brooklyn New York. If we
wanted something we would ask Samir to order it from Rashid’s
and usually within a week we would get a phone call that it had
arrived. Samir and Rashid were that fast and that good.
90’s I was in New York and decided to make a pilgrimage to the
one and only Rashid Sales. It was in Brooklyn near the famous
Atlantic Ave where Eddie the Sheik had performed
for the annual Atlantic Antic Street Festival. To me this was
about the most exciting place to visit in New York. Yes, there
was the Met(ropolitan Museum) with its recreation of the Temple
of Dendera, but Rashid Sales! This is even more special. To my
knowledge this is the birthplace of Middle Eastern music distribution
in the U.S.! I went expecting what, I don’t know. A castle built
of 45’s and 33’s and CD’s?
Rashid Sales turned out to be in a little Middle Eastern neighborhood
next to a Middle Eastern deli/bakery and was a very homey (just
like Samiramis) little – yes, little store filled with records,
cds and sheet music and it felt like home and very very special.
Truly an experience to be in the store that supplied me with my
addiction for so many decades. (They must do their mail order
business from another larger location.) *
the summer of 1970 my father, Albert Rashid,
made his yearly trips to Egypt and Lebanon not only to visit friends
and relatives but for the purpose of recording some good music
for his store. First, he would land at Beirut Airport and
be greeted by relatives and then he would check in at the graceful
Inter-Contiental hotel. He would take a few days there and then
travel to his main destination- Egypt.
he arrived in Cairo he would be met by some of his musical contacts.
Conductor Saleh Aahram would pick him up and
drive him to his hotel. He favored the French owned Le Meridian.
The very next day he would be at the Al Ahram recording studio
where he would meet with the band and prepare his selections for
the musicians to play. He liked the music of Farid al
Atrache as well as folk music. Mostly his choices were
for Atrache, as he was great at composing music for belly dancers.
The band was composed of guys who performed with Abdel
Halim Hafiz, and Om
Kalsoum. It wasn't unusual for my father to collect
some really hot musicians to record!
time he told me about a blind accordion player who sat and made
lots of jokes while they rehearsed, that musician turned out to
be Ammar el Sharie.
he was there he had the musicians play about 12 different tunes
that would equate into about 3 albums. He would also meet with
Arabic film directors and distributors where he would bring the
latest musical films (35mm) for theatrical use in America. At
the time our family showed films at the Detroit Institute of Arts,
in Michigan and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn,
New York. That was the year he purchased the film "Khally
Balak min Zouzou" but then the film opened to wild acclaim
and was not sent to us for over a year.
Balak min Zouzou" played to packed houses for over
50 weeks and finally the Egyptian Government stepped in and had
the film removed from the Theaters citing the film was affecting
new movies coming out.
we finally showed the film, we had to show it on two consecutive
Sundays to a full house of perhaps 2000 persons each showing.
It starred Suad Hosni as the daughter of famed
retired dancer played none other than Tahia Cairoca.
It had many wonderful songs and a great belly dance from Suad
in the 1970's a new media was introduced – videotapes – and we
were on the cutting edge of this technology.
hooked up with a TV producer from Hollywood who wanted to make
Arabic videos (mostly for his elderly mother) and came to us,
as he knew we owned many Arabic motion pictures.
worked with this group and produced 12 VHS tapes – Farid
al Atrache, Abdel Wahab, and others, mostly musical dramas.
We hope to release this next month, in July 2007, three great
musicals from the Classics of Arabic Films:
- The first
is the film from Mohammed Abdel Wahab called "Damour el
- The second
is from the famed Reda Dance Troupe
"Gharam Fil Karnak" or love in the Karnak Temple (1965).
This film stars Mahmoud
Reda and Farida Fahmy as well
as the entire Reda dance troupe.
third and possibly the biggest is the Feature film " Saber
el Tiyab. It stars Tahia Carioca and Choukookoo,
a famous dancer and singer from the early 1940's. This film
is over 2 hours and has at least 1 hour of songs and dances.
it was made in 1947.
the future we hope to produce more of those famous old Farid Al
Atrache films with songs and dances of old.
Ray's answer--yes at the time we had our mail order
and wholesale business at our present location at 155 Court Street.
were at the Atlantic Ave location for over 50 years, and after
we left there the store was vacant for almost 5 years, some people
told me they went into the store and felt the spirts of a thousand
people. Then 2 years ago a Ben and Jerry ice cream store opened
and we thought OK that ends our famous old spot, well last week
the store closed for good. and I wonder was it the sprits of Rashid
Music at work again?
Ray Rashid in front of his bookstore in Brooklyn
Photo from another fine article on Mr Rashid in
a comment? Send us a
Check the "Letters to the Editor"
for other possible viewpoints!
Veiled Visions: A Trip
Down Memory Lane CD review by Amina Goodyear
CD titled “Veiled Visions” is a re-release of music
that was formerly produced on vinyl.
Fresh Old Sounds by
Charmaine Ortega Getz
Seeking fresh sounds in belly dance music? Consider a
trip back to the 1950s up to the groovy ‘70s when a new
style of music was bringing the East to the West.
Chapter 5: Listen to the Music
by Amina Goodyear
wanted us to look exotic, like we were from the Middle East, so
he made us stay downstairs, look available and wear sexy, skimpy
pantaloon outfits or diaphanous caftans when we were not dancing.
San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, Weekend Two, photos by
Chinese, Peru, Korean, Appalachian, Bolivian, Mexico, Tajikistan,
Cambodian, South Indian, Tahitian
My DVD Shoot Adventure, A Bellyqueen
& Peko Collaboration by Elisheva
thought I had left my bad luck mantra at the airport, but I soon
found that it followed me right through the studio door.
Seeking Sol Bloom by Kharmine
to Bloom, the troupe had a hired Algerian guide, “a giant
Kablye,” who had lived in London and was able to chide Bloom
sternly in an accent “normally heard in an English drawing