Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Dances of Port Said
Genre: World Music
Listen to Samples
Well, my goodness - they finally put it out on CD!
W. D. Gross | East Coast, USA | 02/05/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've got this on LP; bought it around 1975, via Publisher's Central Clearing House (what a blast from the past - remember those catalogs?)
There are two kinds of "belly dance" music you can find, in the West.
One type is what I call "belly dance elevator-music." It has no vocals, no real variety in its tempi or moods, and is simply rather abstract: it putters along with what sounds like a mish-mash of bongos, tom-toms, and woodwinds - oh, and, maybe on a track or two, someone will bang some zils together.
Mohammed El-Bakkar's music is the other type. It's gutsy, varied, and driving! It's fun and energizing, without being at all shallow or hokey. The percussion section is large, and has good range of instruments, including some large drums, and with (at the other end of the size-spectrum) zils that are played with real snap and life. There are flutes, pipes, some of the latter sounding intriguingly archaic. The sound is big and festive, with a little bit of the resonance of a medium-sized room that (again) puts one in mind of the place where a celebration is in progress, and the music gives you the impression that someone is dancing while it's being played.
Mohammed El-Bakkar's vocals - which are in Arabic (with, I was told once, a Lebanese accent) are, at once, entirely passionate and utterly dignified. If you haven't heard a lot of Middle Eastern singing, this description may sound odd, but it's hard to explain. At a few points, even when he's almost just about hollering, he's still right on the notes, and it goes perfectly with the happy urgency of the music. I suppose I would describe him as primarily a baritone who can hit smoothly into the tenor range. Members of the ensemble occasionally sing to reinforce a chorus-verse.
And, c'mon, we simply can't ignore the cover-photo. After all, the record-company selected it carefully, to be beautiful, and to help sell albums - and it is, and I'm sure it does. It's a pity you can't see the 12-inch by 12-inch version.
A Sensual Experience, not For the Timid if They like Being T
Alouette1 | USA | 01/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"El Bakkar is one of the most sensual musicians for Oriental dance. His music is inspiring for the Oriental Dancer and non-Oriental dancer alike. This music almost puts you in a trance if you are not dancing to it. If you are dancing, it makes you a better dancer-- the beat pulls you into it and you become part of the music, a visual instrument. Generally speaking, belly dance music pulls you into its own warp. While there is a great level of skill involved in belly dancing, an amateur can pick up to this music and with a scarf set her husband on fire or dance her blues away.
This CD made me think of the quote by Martha Graham, "Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion." Get this CD and translate you passion in to something memorable if only for yourself.