Looking for Music
If you don't know where to look for Middle Eastern dance music it may seem difficult to locate. Here are some hints on where to look and tips on what to look for. You should begin your search for Middle Eastern dance music in your own local stores. If they sell music look around, see if they have an International section. Even if they don't it might be worth your time to look through their sale bins and always look at their used LP's, Tapes or CD's. Look in big stores, look in little stores, look in museum Gift Shops. You never know what you might find or where. Let your friends know you're looking and ask them to help. Outside of your local stores there are a lot of good sources for music available by mail order, through catalogues and magazine advertisements. Check out our resources page. The internet is another good place to look. We love listening to Turkish radio over the net. Don't forget to look for music at your local library, and remember to keep your eyes open in Middle Eastern Deli's and markets.
Once you find something, it may be almost impossible to know what you have without listening to it. A few stores will allow you to listen before you buy, but most do not. If you don't speak any Middle Eastern languages you might feel a little intimidated, but if you'll take a few minutes to study the packaging you might find out all you need to know. For Turkish dance music, look for the Turkish flag; a crescent moon and five pointed star on a red flag. It's often used but not always. In the song listings look for Karsilama and Ciftetellis, or C's or S's with little squiggles dripping off under them. Some popular Turkish songs to look for are Rampi-Rampi, Mevlana, Sehnaz Longa, Konyali, Tin Tin and Mastika. Well at least they are popular at this caravanserai, and remember spelling may vary. If instruments are listed look for the Saz, Kaman, Ney, Zurna, Turkish spoons or Clarinet. I don't guarantee it will be Turkish, but at least you'll be making a slightly more educated guess.
If you're looking for Arabic music, many tapes and CDs are printed in Arabic or Arabic and English. In the song listings look for Taqasim and Baladi. Some popular Arabic dance songs are Enta Omri, Najla, Fakarouni, Salem Allay and Mashaal. To name only a few. If instruments are listed look for the Aud (almost everyone utilizes the Oud, often spelled Aud in Arabic music), Nai (again almost everyone has some type of Ney, often spelled Nai in Arabic music), accordion or keyboards, Sagat, Saxaphone, Rebab and Reque. Again no guarantees and spelling variations from one language to another can be confusing, but the last few clues are easy. Is there a Belly Dancer on the cover? Does it say Belly Dance or Oriental Dance? These are good tip offs. Now there is an awful lot of good Belly Dance music from many different countries. Lebanon is a great source of music and so is Armenia, which is a new favorite of mine. These days with groups like Sirocco, Light Rain and the Sultans, there is a lot more good music produced in the United States too. So Look around. Good Belly Dance music is a lot easier to find then you might think.
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This page last modified: December 23, 2007