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  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ariadne View Post
    I also wouldn't mind seeing more of the Iraqi style. Is there a name for it?
    Simona has her video tagged as "Basrawi" (from the city of Basra/Basrah in SE Iraq). This is one of the areas where the Kawliya (also sometimes spelled with a Q in English) settled. The Kawliya were Domari people originally from India, with an experience somewhat parallel to the Roma Ghawazee in Egypt in that as an ethnic minority, they lived on the margins of society and sometimes built reputations as entertainers. There are Domari in other parts of Iraq and some intersection with the Kurds, but I don't know enough to go into more detail.

    I've seen dancers online making the distinction between "Kawliya" as referring to the original Dom minority's music and dance and "Basrawi" being the indigenous Iraqis' version of those arts, but again, I personally couldn't begin to tease out the differences. I can say that about a decade or so ago, there was an explosion of interest in the Kawliya style that was driven by videos of Eastern European dancers wearing satin A-line gowns, doing enthusiastic hair whipping and bouncy, kicky, skipping steps to music that frequently has a distinctive rat-a-tat-tat drumming sound. I don't know how the Eastern Europeans got into it, but their YouTube clips seemed to be the entry point for many Western dancers, although IIRC, Amani Jabril, who is based in Atlanta, was over in the region studying Kawliya dance before then. (Amani Jabril wrote some articles about her experience for Gilded Serpent.) At one point, Mark Balahadia and Leila Molaei were doing something related to this on FB, too, but I don't know if it is still happening. Finally, there's some debate about whether the Eastern Europeans have altered Kawliya dance so much that their version has become its own new style, sort of like AmCab.

    I'm a tiny bit more informed about the music, where a distinguishing feature is typically the use of an Iraqi drum called "zanbour" (which means "wasp" in Arabic) or sometimes "khishbah" (not sure of that translation--maybe something about "wood"--and there are a few other names for this drum that I don't see as often). Anyway, it's a narrow, tubular drum with a fish-skin head that sounds buzzy and high and hollow, so that when it's played fast, it almost sounds like a machine gun. Personally, it reminds me of the old Simmons electronic drums that were popular in the 80's, but it's an actual hand drum (unless it's a programmed routine in a synthesizer that has Arabic microtonal support and the Iraqi module installed, because that can happen, too).

    Sometimes you will see music in this style called "Chobi," but as I understand it, not all Kawliya music is Chobi and not all Chobi music is Kawliya. Some Chobi music is intended for a family of indigenous Iraqi line dances similar to dabkat. Some Chobi stuff is associated with Assyrian Christians in Iraq.

    It's all quite tangled up, and between ISIS regressing the progress in Iraq and the MED community contracting, research on this slowed down after the initial burst of interest. HTH...

  2. #32
    Super Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tourbeau View Post
    Last thoughts...

    I guess you either like Sadie's style or you don't, but I don't know how much you can fault her for that video. Part of the problem with that clip is the construction of the drum solo itself. From the standpoint of musical composition, there are a lot of sequences that are not much more than drum riffs followed by rests over and over. You can't get much musicality out of that.
    Very true about the drum solo itself, and a large part of the problem with a fair number of drum solos. The difference between playing for live dancers and learning a song to play for dancers in the quiet of one's own living room are substantial.

    Several years ago, we were lucky enough to have a drummer who came and played for my class just for the experience and for an occasional dinner out with us after class. I gave him one of Raquy's drum dvds and he was well on his way to picking up some excellent ME drum chops when he decamped for a four year university some distance from here. It was as interesting to watch him learn what dancers needed for a varied performance as it was watching my students learn to perform to improvisational drum.
    "Well, now that we have seen each other," said the unicorn " if you'll believe in me, I'll believe in you."

  3. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    Very true about the drum solo itself, and a large part of the problem with a fair number of drum solos. The difference between playing for live dancers and learning a song to play for dancers in the quiet of one's own living room are substantial.

    Several years ago, we were lucky enough to have a drummer who came and played for my class just for the experience and for an occasional dinner out with us after class. I gave him one of Raquy's drum dvds and he was well on his way to picking up some excellent ME drum chops when he decamped for a four year university some distance from here. It was as interesting to watch him learn what dancers needed for a varied performance as it was watching my students learn to perform to improvisational drum.
    Yeah, the quality of live drumming varies greatly. Most amateur drummers (dance students or spouses/partners/friends of dancers who take up drumming) concentrate on memorizing rhythmic patterns, and don't get an opportunity to advance to the study of drum solo composition.

    A good drum solo ebbs and flows. It has sequences of strong, staccato accents and longer runs of more continuous drumming with perhaps more subtle accents. It has bridges that transition between noticeably different families of rhythms. It is not simply 16 measures of maqsoum followed by 16 measures of ayoub, or endless groups of four riffs with the fourth one being slightly different. Those things can certainly be the building blocks of a good drum solo, but when drumming never progresses past an elementary level of understanding, you end up with a one-person drum circle, not a fully realized piece of music.

    I'm not saying that drum solos have to be plotted out like symphonies. You can get pretty far with a plug-and-play modular approach, and being able to improvise is a necessity for a drummer, whether you're playing alone for a dancer or in a group with other musicians and instruments. You just don't string a bunch of rhythms together with a few fancy riffs and think you're on your way to being the next Hossam Ramzy.

  4. #34
    Moderator Zorba's Avatar
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    We used to have "Uncle Mafufo" come and drum for a class I was in. The drummers I've encountered here in Florida thus far, aren't exactly in the same class!

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