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  1. #1
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Default Culturally insensitive?

    I'm dancing with a new troupe, and have done three performances with them now.

    There are often Middle Eastern people in our audience and generally they seem to enjoy our performances - except for one dance. It's to "Salaam Aleikum" by Hakim. As soon as we start dancing it, the smiles disappear.

    I can't see anything in the movements that might offend. We all wear cabaret costume with a body stocking, so no tummies exposed (and anyway, they seem to like our other dances). I had a horrible thought that salaam aleikum might mean something like "God be with you", but I checked and it's "Peace be with you", so we're not offending religious sensibilities. Any ideas?

  2. #2
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    Ask somebody...

  3. #3
    Member Bellydance Oz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zorba View Post
    Ask somebody...
    The first couple of times I thought maybe I was imagining it. The third time I decided to ask someone, but by the time I got off stage and covered up, the audience members had drifted away.

  4. #4
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    yea, I understand... You'll just have to "plan to pounce" next time...

    I'd like to know what the problem is...

  5. #5
    V.I.P. Greek Bonfire's Avatar
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    Maybe they just don't like Hakim's music in general. The audience members there may have had other preferences. He's more pop than traditional. Did you ever find out anything more?

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    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    Oh, I missed that its a Hakim song - as I personally DETEST Hakim for the most part, I can understand... (!!)

  7. #7
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    One translation I read indicated the song is sung by an Arab man to a Jewish woman. Since I don't know Arabic, can't say first hand if this is accurate but if so might explain audience reaction.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

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    V.I.P. Ariadne's Avatar
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    I don't know if it will help at all but I found an article that discusses it back in 2004 http://www.sfgate.com/music/article/...bi-2721315.php

    Hakim, who is 42, got a relatively late start in music. His first record deal came in 1992, though he performed for 10 years before that in settings that ranged from street corners to small clubs. Sha'bi music sprang up in Egypt in the late 1970s, at a time when the orchestral traditions of Oum Kalthoum had been dominant. Because it's music of the street, sha'bi is looked down upon by some elements of Egyptian society. On his previous album, Hakim did a song called "El salaam aleikum," which refers to the Arabic greeting "peace be upon you" that Muslims give upon meeting another person. Members of the Egyptian Senate said that the song was not reverential enough to the saying, but "El salaam aleikum" became a huge hit in the Arab world.


    "There were some people who misunderstood the song and wanted to twist the meaning of the song," Hakim says in words that are translated by his wife, Jihane Odabachi. " 'Salaam aleikum' is a greeting, and I wanted to remind people of the meaning behind the greeting. It doesn't just mean 'hello' -- it's much more important; it's about giving peace."



    When Brown first heard the song, he liked it so much he wanted to rerecord it with Hakim for "El Yomen Dol." But Hakim believed the song was already too popular to rerecord, so he and Brown settled on "Lela," which means "night" in Arabic.
    Maybe the choreography just doesn't match the meaning of the song?

  9. #9
    Premium Member Aniseteph's Avatar
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    It sounds like asking is going to be the only option. I don't like that song but it's not enough to wipe the smile off my face at an event (I hope).

    What other songs are in your set?

  10. #10
    Member Roshanna's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greek Bonfire View Post
    Maybe they just don't like Hakim's music in general. The audience members there may have had other preferences. He's more pop than traditional. Did you ever find out anything more?
    My first thought was that the song is well over a decade old, so it's not a classic, but it's not recent or cool either. 13 years is a long time in pop music, and styles have changed a lot in Egyptian shaabi since then, so it could be that audiences just find it embarrassingly dated.

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