From Istanbul via Cairo! Turkish belly dance favorites played by Egyptian musicians.
This album is a fantasy come true for Middle Eastern dancers. Sands of Time Music commissioned the world famous Henkesh Brothers from Egypt to record a Turkish dance CD. The timing was right. After Egypt’s 2011 revolution 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 Turkish and Ottoman dance favorites. The result is a must-have album for any Middle Eastern music collection.
The album’s contents reflect Turkey’s ethnic diversity. Besides native Turkish selections, there are songs by the Roma (Gypsies), the Greeks, the Sephardic Ladinos and the Arabs. Most of the melodies are centuries old, from Turkey’s Ottoman era. One of them, Uskudara, can be traced back to Yisrael Najara, an Ottoman Jew, who transformed an Arabic tavern song into a shabbat prayer for his book, Yeshivot Yisrael, published in 1587. This melody is also on Loreena McKennitt’s album Ancient Muse as Sacred Shabbat. The album’s liner-notes, a 36-page color booklet, are filled with 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 Mourat plays Turkish/Vintage Orientale zills in duets with Yasmin Henkesh on Egyptian sagat) - 10 rhythm tracks for practice and a bonus track, a field recording from 1980s London. Here Turkish musicians play an Arabic classic, Ah Ya Zein, for a short “Egyptian” cabaret performance.