My Favourite Music, and Links to Sources!

Dancer image by Corinne Paquette-Parker (c)One of the greater challenges in a small community is to find suitable dance music. Too often, those recordings labeled "Belly dance" is so not, being "art music" or even religious music; please be careful of what music you use so that you do not unintentionally offend a knowledgeable audience. I even look up translations of songs and song titles to ensure that I'm not doing a happy dance to an angry song, or dancing sensually when the music is about heartbreak.

I have three general classifications: traditional, classical, techno. Traditional tends to be very ethnic in tone, often with a whining kemenje; I like it, but certain music might lose a modern audience. Classical is what I think is belly dance music, sometimes with a full orchestra, but full of the wonderful syncopations of the many rhythms of the Middle and Near East; sometimes considered "old" by those used to MuchMusic. Techno is that of the driving beat of the discotheque, highly synthesized, and well-suited to a younger audience.

The List, somewhat annotated

Sirocco - Lovely drum piece, and 'Moroccan Roll'! Classical

Eddie "The Sheik" Kochak - all classical
Strictly Belly Dancing Vol 1 - first of a series
Strictly Belly Dancing Vol 5 - includes 'Hanna Drumzilzia'
Silver Anniversary Album - excellent music suitable for a routine; note that my recording has the song order different from the enclosed notes

George Abdo and the Flames of Araby - classical: all-time, all-round fave!
Art of Belly Dancing
Joy of Belly Dancing
Magic of Belly Dancing
Belly Dancing with George Abdo
Belly Dance! The Best of George Abdo

Setrak - classical; many, many recordings; ideally, listen before you buy
Setrak, Make Me Dance Vol 20 - Habait is lovely, stately, with potential for poses; 'Mayel Ya Ghzayel' has good rhythm changes.

Hossam Ramzy
Rhythms of the Nile - instructional 2-CD set from two workshops on drumming; worth it for every dancer!
Sabla Tolo - classical; solo tabla for the experienced dancer; fave is 'We Baadin Omaal'!
Best of Baladi and Saaidi - classical and trad; 2-CD set on the folk side of Classical; everyone -loves- Eshta
Secrets of the Eye - classical; excellent Saidi piece; range of instruments
Immortal Egypt - classical wandering to semi techno; range of instruments from synthesizer to tar to didgeridoo; -love- Derwood Green!

Yousry Sharif and Raqia Hassan
Wash Ya Wash, Vol 2
Belly Dance with Samara - classical, of course!
Sulukule Turkish Belly Dance - classical; some heartbreakers in this one, and good stuff, too
John Bilezikjian
The Magic of - classical; I want this on CD again!
Gypsy Fire, w Richard A. Hagopian, Omar Faruk Tekbilek, and more
Gypsy Fire - classical Turkish fire!
Best of Bellydance
from Morocco, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey - classical; I usually steer clear of compilations but this is good to give you an overview of some styles
Rough Guide to Bellydance
Raks Sharki: Oriental Dance Moves - classical; compilation with some of the best musicians for dancers
The UCSB Middle East Ensemble 1996
self-titled - class. and art music; again, a compilation, but a pleasure to listen to

Solace - not quite techno; each recording has a different flavour; more on that later
The Gathering Season
Rhythm of the Dance - Class.; all rhythm with some music, no words; some 9/8, 6/8, 5/8, 7/8.
Dolphina Production
Music from the Goddess Workout with Dolphina - classical; John Bilezikjian plays oud; excellent for undulations, veil work
Belly Dance with Haissam and Najwa
self-titled - Drums! Classical
The Kamkars
Nightingale with a Broken Wing - Class.; Kurdish, so it leans toward folk; # 3, 7, 8 are my faves
Gypsy Caravan
Caravan Rhythms - classical, with a gypsy flair
Yalla Hitlist
Yalla Egypt - classical to almost techno; still a class fave after all these years! Compilation that leans to modern, but fun!
Ashraf Zakaria
presents Layali Zaman - classical; often used in class to just get moving
Bellydancing Breakbeats - Techno; I love 'Chicky'
Laundry Service - Techno/modern; yes, well, it's good to shake up a class that gets too serious!
UC Regents
UCSB - classical/trad; a compilation by one band, being mostly art music and some dance music

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