Hymn to Hathor - Orientale Vol 2
2 30 min cabaret shows, including 2 new mercencis by Sayed Henkesh. Will also include beladi progressions, saidi, nubi, folkloric songs, drum solos and heartfelt taqasim.
AVAILABLE NOW !
Turkey / Egypt - Turkish Belly Dance Favorites by the Henkesh Brothers - From Istambul via Cairo!
This CD is a fantasy come true. Artemis and I wanted to do the unheard of… invite the Henkesh Brothers to record a Turkish dance CD. The timing was right. Egypt had just exploded in its 2011 revolution and the country’s performers were out of work. In a time of suffering, a few of Egypt’s most talented musicians escaped into a recording studio to interpret ten Turkish and Ottoman favorites. The result is a CD that is perfect for all Middle Eastern dancers, no matter their style or skill level. It is ideal for performance, as a teaching tool, or simply to listen to – a must-have for any Middle Eastern music collection. The album’s ten songs reflect Turkey’s ethnic diversity; the Roma (Gypsies), the Greeks, the Sephardic Ladinos and the Arabs. Most of the melodies are centuries old, from Turkey’s Ottoman era. They even include one, Uskudara, that Yisrael Najara, an Ottoman Jew, transformed into a shabbat prayer for his 1587 AD book, Yeshivot Yisrael (The melody can also be heard in Loreena McKennitt’s album Ancient Muse as Sacred Shabbat). The liner-notes, a 36-page color booklet, are filled with cultural references and in-depth descriptions of each song’s history and lyrics.There are 31 tracks in all; two versions of the songs (with and without finger cymbals - Artemis playing Turkish/Vintage Orientale zills in a duet with me on Egyptian sagat) - 10 rhythm tracks for practice and a bonus track, a field recording from 1980s London to turn the musical tables. Here Turkish musicians play an Arabic classic, Ah Ya Zein, for a short “Egyptian” cabaret performance.
Pulse of the Sphinx Vol. 2 - Rhythm Drills
31 two minute tracks to perfect your knowledge of Middle Eastern rhythms. Ideal for improvisation. Everything from maqsoum and malfouf to ayoub, samba and samaee - plus some hard to find! Includes many complete 2-3 minute drum solos perfect for performing.
Cairo Blue - Egyptian Jazz
THE FINGER CYMBAL DUET - Cymbals Speak Part 1 & 2 - Artemis + Yasmin Henkesh
Zill Speak - The A(lmee) to Z(ills) of Finger Cymbals
Sagat Speak - Learn how to play Egyptian one-holed finger cymbals!
Ala Mahlik / Take Your Time - Hoda Sinbati
Lyrics to all songs included - transliterated and translated into English.
THE FIRST OF THE DRUM SOLO SERIES
THE FIRST OF THE ORIENTALE SERIES Dancing with Genies - Haflah al Afareet
Cry to the Moon - Taqasim lil Qamar
To order click here.
Ibrahim Farrah wrote at least 4 articles in 1978 about the Zar for his publication, Arabesque. This was at a time when no one had ever heard of the cult in the United States. He had seen Nadia Gamal do a theatricalized version of the trance dance during her show in 1968. According to him, she was the first oriental dancer to incorporate the dance into a cabaret performance. He loved the head movements, which he had incorporated into his dancing before he ever knew where they came from.
Later, the Zar was adapted into the shows of other famous dancers in Egypt, such as Shoo Shoo Amin and Aiza Sharif, in addition to the repertories of the national Folkloric troupes. To make the dances more dramatic, the performers added frame drum players and incense burners, integral parts of any zar ceremony. There are several videos available in Egypt that show these performances. On one of them Shoo Shoo Amin can be seen dancing to a song which is track #7 on our CD, Ya Benat al-Handasa.
Albums in post production:
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Music for Performing
A traditional Egyptian cabaret show usually follows the following progression:
Intro / Mergenci
This can change however depending on the audience. Westerners aren't as fond of slow Om Kalthoum as Middle Easterners. If you are dancing mainly for 'foreigners', then the beladi progression can be placed after the taqsim (which then becomes incorporated into the beladi piece) and the prop number flows directly from the audence participation pieces. I had some bands in the US play the prop piece after the drum solo, but I always felt that was anti-climatic.
Some music is timeless. Here is a list of classic pieces all good Egyptian dancers should know. But that doesn't mean you have to like them. Just know how to dance to them. Some of these were composed over 50 years ago and sound oddly outdated today. There are re mixes of these older favorites on the market, and I have tried to list good ones below. But in general these new renditions can't compensate for a basic change in audience expectations over the years. Certainly the original versions are WAY too long for the standard 5 minute entrance of today's cabaret performances. But listen to them and form your own opinions! Then tell me what you think. Any suggestions of more to add?
by Mohammad Abdel Wahab ( Most versions are old-fashioned and too slow for today's
fast pace life.)
Personally I prefer renditions without synthesizers, but I'm a purist.
Taqsim and Om Kalthoum
As I mention in class there are three different types of taqasim:
Each type of taqsim gives a different feeling to it. The first is a conversation with a single musician, the second is the same conversation with your mother-in-law in the next room listening and the third is a menage-a-trois....
In the Sands of Time Blue Series Cry to the Moon - Taqasim lil Qamar there are examples of all three, mainly with nay (flute), violin, oud, kanoun and accordion. In Cairo Blue there is a wonderful trumpet taqsim as well.
As a joke I asked my advanced students to make a list of the worst taqasim on the market. Here are 2 that we found:
Nay Taqsim from Nourhan Cairo (Track 8)
What was really so jarring about these solos was that the musicians used Western chord progressions rather than the traditional maqamat.
No Egyptian cabaret show is really complete without an Om Kalthoum piece. This is where the dancer gets to emote, show emotion, be serious, stop smiling, act, etc. But she CAN'T do these things if SHE DOESN'T KNOW THE WORDS TO THE SONG! I recently saw a famous dancer in a show grinning from ear to ear as she danced happy happy joy joy to one of Om Kalthoum's saddest songs. I was horrified and disgusted. This was not cultural sensitivity but American stardom at its worst. I have tried to list the songs most likely to be played by a live band during a performance and the lyrics to the songs. If I or my students have found a good version of the song for inclusion in a taped cabaret show I have also included those. Remember though that the original versions of these songs are VERY long, and slow, and repetitive - not ideal for Western audiences.
There are several pages about Om Kalthoum's life in the booklet for Cry to the Moon. She was (and still is) called The Voice of Egypt. She embodied the essence of classical traditional Arabic music, while remaining innovative and in touch with her times. In her 60's her composers wrote songs for her using electric guitars, organs etc. Enta Omri, written for her by Mohammed Abd al-Wahab, was the first of many such songs that used modern music's new inventions. But through it all she kept her link to the traditional and her love of the audience. Her songs were long because the audience requested repeats of lines, phrases and sometimes whole stanzas. She happily complied. Before her health began to fail, her concerts could last for 4 -5 hours - for only 3 - 4 songs. That was definitely a show of stamina and a testimony to the power of her voice. But she was a master at the art of tarab, the goal of any Arabic artist, which was to send her listeners into a state of ecstasy (as they translate it), where time stops and reality is only the sound of her voice and the meaning of her song.
I would like to thank Shira for the wonderful compilation of lyrics she has on her site.
Leyla wa Leyla
Click here for a place where you can listen to all of them!
IN THE 36 page BOOKLET THAT ACCOMPANIES PULSE OF THE SPHINX IS AN ENTIRE ARTICLE ABOUT THE RHYTHMS, WITH ILLUSTRATIONS of the instruments AND MUSICAL NOTATIONS FOR THE MAIN rhythms.
Here is a quick list of Middle Eastern rhythms that I compiled for a recent workshop. It is by no means complete or definitive. But it will give you an idea of just how many there are!
The Percussion Instruments
Drum Solo Album Review
Sands of Time HAS RELEASED TWO albums in the Master Drummers of Egypt - Pulse of the Sphinx series which feature the Henkesh Brothers. There are also 2 drum solos by the Henkesh brothers on each of Cry to the Moon and Dancing with Genies. One piece, 3 Minute Mona, uses many of the riffs used in Mona Said's famous drum solo of the 1970s.
A fun compilation of drum solos from France, put out by the French equivalent of the US Bellydance Superstars. (Better dancing, less hype. Sorry, no Tribal. That hasn't caught on over there.) Most of these solos are good for learning / teaching. They are not really designed for a cabaret show. To listen to some clips and learn more about this troup click here. (Warning - the site is in French)
Drummers of the Nile series from Piranha. There are three albums of drum solos featuring Mahmoud Fadl and others. Khamis Henkesh plays on the first. They are not live recordings so they lack sparkle - but they are fun to practice to.
Jalilah / Piranha has a complete rhythm compilation that I like. I believe it is #4.
Nourhan Sharif has a 3 CD rhythm compilation set. I liked the break down of the rhythms. I didn't like the actual drum solos at the end.
Nothing beats Fatma Eid's rendition of Taht as-Shebak for heart-felt folklore. But there's a lot of good stuff out there. Sands of Time has put out an entire album of Egyptian folklore sung by another of Dina's singers, Hoda Sinbati. Many of the songs on there are classics (meaning they are from at least the early 1900s). We have also released a compilation of Turkish folklore melodies, Turkey / Egypt. But the songs are instrumental only, since it was difficult to find Turkish singers in Cairo to record them! It broadens a dancer's capabilities to use older songs, not driven by the simple 4/4 techno beat common in most pop songs today.
Egyptian Pop / Sha'abi
Traditional Beladi Progressions
Beladi ya Wad is probably the most well known beladi melody. There is an excellent version of it on Leila's Sukara album. There is also another famous beladi melody that can be found on Dancing with Genies.
Cairo Blue - There are two lovely ones, a sax and a trumpet.
Ghawazee / Fellahin