Dances of Port Said-Music of the Middle East by Mohammed El-Bakkar and Oriental Ensemble
is a fantastic Audio CD with a dozen songs. The contents represent an introduction to the music of the Middle East. The audience is treated to varied orchestral sounds including drums, flutes, clashing cymbals, castanets, clarinets, oboes, strings and unusual percussion sounds.
The Audio CD begins with "Dari E. Yeonik" (See and Admire). The orchestral music has a background of sounds including flutes, cymbals, drums, loud clapping and hurling screams as in a fast paced caravan celebrating romantic night adventures. In real life, the audience would experience the swaying of tassels, hip scarves and exotic belly dance movements.
Next, the audience is treated to "Ish Allamak" (Who Taught You). The music proceeds with singing against a backdrop of percussion, cymbals and occasional wailing. Typically, the belly dancing associated with this music would include intricate hip drops, vertical hip rocks, hip lifts, twists and suggestive shoulder accents.
"El Hora El Hawar" (The Circle Dance) follows with flutes, castanets, cymbals and drums against a backdrop of group singing around a fire with belly dancers. Occasionally, the women in the group chime in with high pitched screams and partying body language in real life.
Ya Natir (The One Who Waits) follows sequentially. The music opens with a flute and soloist. The surrounding group participants whisper the words of the soloist. There is significant percussion
with clapping and cymbals clashing throughout. This rendition would be played logically in a place like Djema'a el Fna which is a city square in Port Said. There are huge crowds day and night
with an array of belly dancers, tumblers, sword swallowers, fortune tellers, card tricksters, screeching peddlers and shouting cabbies.
To a foreigner from the West, this scene would be entirely unfamiliar. In fact, the local people might look upon travellers with a wry humor or even distrust depending upon the body language communicated by the tourists.
Dances of Port Said-Music of the Middle East by Mohammed El-Bakkar and His Oriental Ensemble is an important introduction into the music of the Middle East with a particular emphasis on the open air markets of Port Said and the surrounding travelers coming from all over the globe to trade in markets
which operate literally night and day. The music is an important introduction to the Middle East for people studying the culture for the first time.
First Published on Blogcritics