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  1. #11
    Moderator Shanazel's Avatar
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    I prefer middle eastern music. A while back I did a dance to Dueling Banjos at recital as a joke for my students and something I knew would entertain the audience. It went over like gangbusters (hey, it's Wyoming- people darned near threw babies in the air) but I kind of regret it now because of all the suggestions I've gotten for alternative belly dance music.

    Middle eastern music is so integral to belly dance that I can't imagine using alternative music while keeping a straight face. My beloved AmCab is not precisely straight from the heart of Cairo, but I stick strictly to ME music for belly dance. Abandoning ME music for Dueling Banjos or McKennit Celtic or Industrial Gothic takes a performance far from the roots of ME dance. It may be fun, it may be effective, and people may indeed throw babies in the air, but I wouldn't characterize it as belly dance.

  2. #12
    Junior Member kalila_raks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salome View Post
    This is just one humble opinion: I find performance to alternative music to be... how about... a let down, off putting. The music is such a vital part of the dancing, the culture, the experience... that without it, it's like having tea leaves with no water.

    As a spectator, my impression tends to be that either the performer does not know how to work with Arab or Turkish music or doesn't care. Which IS an unfair assumption but there it is.

    I will admit that as a young dancer I performed to an alternative piece of music a few times. It was a song by Azam Ali and I remember being inspired by it and excited about dancing to it. In retrospect the dancing that came out of that was very different, naturally, as the music was different. That was my one sojurn to the other side, lol.

    Lot's of people DO enjoy performing to alternative music and there are spaces where it can work. I'd say as a rule, if you are in a show that is aimed at presenting Oriental dance that one stickes to Oriental dance music.
    Yes, yes, yes, yes. I could not put it any better.

  3. #13
    Senior Member maria_harlequin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shanazel View Post
    I prefer middle eastern music. A while back I did a dance to Dueling Banjos at recital as a joke for my students and something I knew would entertain the audience. It went over like gangbusters (hey, it's Wyoming- people darned near threw babies in the air) but I kind of regret it now because of all the suggestions I've gotten for alternative belly dance music.

    Middle eastern music is so integral to belly dance that I can't imagine using alternative music while keeping a straight face. My beloved AmCab is not precisely straight from the heart of Cairo, but I stick strictly to ME music for belly dance. Abandoning ME music for Dueling Banjos or McKennit Celtic or Industrial Gothic takes a performance far from the roots of ME dance. It may be fun, it may be effective, and people may indeed throw babies in the air, but I wouldn't characterize it as belly dance.
    I'm pretty much a purist when it comes to using only Middle Eastern music for dancing but I'd totally use some of Mckennitt's Middle Eastern inspired pieces, especially from her An Ancient Muse album. Definitely not her Celtic music, but her Middle Eastern ones. It'll still be fusion of course, but I think using some of her stuff wouldn't take the performance too far away from the roots of ME dance

  4. #14
    Member Hypnos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by maria_harlequin View Post
    I'm pretty much a purist when it comes to using only Middle Eastern music for dancing but I'd totally use some of Mckennitt's Middle Eastern inspired pieces, especially from her An Ancient Muse album. Definitely not her Celtic music, but her Middle Eastern ones. It'll still be fusion of course, but I think using some of her stuff wouldn't take the performance too far away from the roots of ME dance
    This is why I'd use something like Dead Can Dance over Goth Industrial music (apart from the fact that I HATE Industrial lol) if I performed Goth fusion for an audience, as they have a lot of ME inspired music. Of course it'd still be fusion as you said but the moods and spirit of the dance would still be there.

    I like traditional belly dance and I like fusion, there is nothing inherently wrong with fusion, because people should be allowed to experiment a little with a genre. However, you've got to respect the origin of the dance and I think belly dance looks odd done to very western sounding music for some reason.

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caroline_afifi View Post
    In one day we counted on our hands how many people had danced Middle Eastern dance to Middle Eastern music.
    Reading that, I'm sad too, Caroline! It's shocking really! Your position at all those performances gives you a unique and wider perspective on this situation here in the UK. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    As a 1.5 year dancer, if I had my way, I would dance solely to Middle Eastern music both out of love as well as out of respect for the music and culture. I do and plan to in all my present and future solo work, but when I'm in a class and the class & all the other local groups around are sometimes using non-Middle Eastern music, if I want to learn, I don't know what else to do but go along with it. In my humble opinion, it has to start with the teachers, but I think each dancer is also responsible at some point to do the research themselves if they wish to pursue this art. I dont' know what I would do without this forum because it really opens the eyes to things many dancers don't think about!

  6. #16
    V.I.P. adiemus's Avatar
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    My only piece of non-'authentic' music is a piece by Phil Thornton and Hossam Ramzy called 'On the Road to Alexandria'. It suited the veil I wanted to do to it, and I loved it, but it's definitely NOT 'authentic'.
    Another one I have been toying with is something by Natacha Atlas - not sure exactly where she fits in the scheme of things really! Thoughts anyone? The one I was thinking of is Ezzay, but I've seen some danced to Mistaneek, and to Leysh Nat'arak...
    Im less comfortable with Turkish, but that's mainly because I've listened to waaaay more Arabic.

  7. #17
    V.I.P. lizaj's Avatar
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    I find it strange seeing what is ostensibly Egyptian style belly dance being performed to Western music but some dancers aere skilful enough to carry it off. I would say I have danced Raqs Sharki on most ocassions to Egyptian music either pop or classical although in "babydays" I remember doing a veil dance to an Italian song (!). As veil-dancing in pretty much a Western phenomena, I am sure it can successfully done to certain Western music.

    One of my early and still worst "gear-grinding" exeriences (the penny was dropping rapidly) was a dance group dressed in Indian produced streetwear, vaguely doing ATS moves (they called the routine tribal) to Mohamed Abdel Wahab!

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by adiemus View Post
    My only piece of non-'authentic' music is a piece by Phil Thornton and Hossam Ramzy called 'On the Road to Alexandria'. It suited the veil I wanted to do to it, and I loved it, but it's definitely NOT 'authentic'.
    That's a fun song! Ok, noob question here...someone please edu-macate me! Hossam Ramzy is Egyptian and recorded that piece of music in Cairo and although it's modern and classified as 'world music', it still uses 'authentic' instruments as well as some non-authentic (keyboards for example (I think), but how often do you see those used in Cairo?) It has a more 'production' feel to it to me, but it's a nice song and according to his website, with this album they're trying to create 'a vision of Egypt and her music'. Now, I know to me it doesn't sound authentic, but could someone a bit more experienced share why it's not and where does the line get drawn? Thank you!

    xx

    MTA: I just realised this question would probably fit better in music so may move it over there. Sorry.
    Last edited by Oona; 07-17-2009 at 05:43 PM.

  9. #19
    V.I.P. PracticalDancer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oona View Post
    That's a fun song! Ok, noob question here...someone please edu-macate me! Hossam Ramzy is Egyptian and recorded that piece of music in Cairo and although it's modern and classified as 'world music', it still uses 'authentic' instruments as well as some non-authentic (keyboards for example (I think), but how often do you see those used in Cairo?) It has a more 'production' feel to it to me, but it's a nice song and according to his website, with this album they're trying to create 'a vision of Egypt and her music'. Now, I know to me it doesn't sound authentic, but could someone a bit more experienced share why it's not and where does the line get drawn? Thank you!

    xx

    MTA: I just realised this question would probably fit better in music so may move it over there. Sorry.
    I am not an expert, but what I have learned is that the rhythms on that CD are both western and middle eastern, and the musical structure does not follow the maquamat (song phrasing structures) used in ME music. (somebody who knows this better, please chime in!) I also hear non-ME instruments -- listen to the "Derwood Green" track and you hear something akin to the Aboriginal pipe instrument (blanking on the name) that would normally not hear on middle eastern tracks. Good song, mind you -- but definitely not traditional!

    Phil Thornton is a awesome musician who has played with other artists from around the world; so, he brings an element of fusion that is not present when Hossam plays on his prior albums. And, if Hossam were to chime in (it's been a while since he posted), he would probably have a comment that he, too, evolves and "fuses" a bit over time.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Eshta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anala View Post
    I am not an expert, but what I have learned is that the rhythms on that CD are both western and middle eastern, and the musical structure does not follow the maquamat (song phrasing structures) used in ME music. (somebody who knows this better, please chime in!) I also hear non-ME instruments -- listen to the "Derwood Green" track and you hear something akin to the Aboriginal pipe instrument (blanking on the name) that would normally not hear on middle eastern tracks. Good song, mind you -- but definitely not traditional!

    Phil Thornton is a awesome musician who has played with other artists from around the world; so, he brings an element of fusion that is not present when Hossam plays on his prior albums. And, if Hossam were to chime in (it's been a while since he posted), he would probably have a comment that he, too, evolves and "fuses" a bit over time.
    Having discussed 'fusion' at great length separately with both Phil and Hossam, they would both tell you completely different things about what is and isn't fusion and what is good fusion, etc

    Phil has released a new album recently called Nexus Tribal and it's a brilliant showcase of his incredible fusion skills. The whole album feels 'familiar' with middle eastern sounds to it but on closer inspection, you find out he's used a Bulgarian folk song with Usbeki instrementation or I don't know what! It's a really nice album, more geared towards our tribal sisters but not exclusively. I really recommend it!

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