Follow the Musicians

image(A music note from our resident raissa)
We’ve met some great bands this year including the masterminds behind the new CD Mazaaj (Jonatan & George). The band Allah Yustur was featured at Crossroads and Origins plus DragonCon’s Silk Road Show and of course lead singer of Inviolate’s Kadria is always dressed in something ultra cool from the MBD shoppe at her interactive metal belly shows. All three have found success in music.

We are particularly enthralled with the musical aspect of our culture because it’s what brings the dancer to life. Without sound we nothing. Be it classical or modern, metal or mystical the musicians of our day have a lot to offer and we must understand the importance of including them in our programs and shows.


Mazaaj featuring raqs artist Amani Jabril

Live musicians do offer a great deal of quality to a show. Including tabla, zill players (in addition to zilling raissat) and other instrumentalists; oud, violin and ney – all are a part of Eastern tradition. Forsaking their existance is as bad as forsaking the history of raqs sharqi.

In your next program in addition to including taped music and cds, invite a musician to play live or along with your taped piece. You’ll see the magic of music unfold! We’ll be featuring some great artists and cds in the coming months including Anasma and Mazaaj! Follow us on social media to hear more about these new partnerships!

Our 1st Year at TribalCon

TribalCon 9

-Our resident raissa encourages us to attend many bellydance events, one of them being TribalCon. She hung out with us and attended one of the shows. She recounts our conversations and experiences at the event.
We had a fun time at TribalCon. We met so many of our fans and friends in person. We were set up at the far end of the vending space near a lovely young lady from Louisiana who sold leather belts and other creations that she custom made.
Many of our other bellydance vending friends were there as well as well as some the industry’s most honoured dancers, (i.e. Donna Mejia, Zoe Jakes). Local raqs artists Jahara Phoenix did an amazing job representing Hindu diety, Kali and as expected Donna Mejia received roaring applause and a long standing ovation for her piece. Her parents were in the audience and got a standing ovation as well. It was enough to bring tears to one’s eyes. The amount of amazing individuals all in one room.
This was our first year vending at this event. The atmosphere was very friendly and vendors were able to chat and hangout with each other throughout the conference. TribalCon is a great event for those who wish to learn about other aspects of the dance beyond the Egyptian and Lebanese modern bellydance scene. It provides practical information, an intimate and comfortable space for dancers to get to know their teachers and provides a wide range of music and lecture options from US based dancers and teachers.
Given that so many of the faces for the event seemed to be American bellydancers we were not sure if our international fans  (many who are just now being introduced to American Tribal Style or the idea of fusing bellydance with so many other genres) were there or able to make it. However, we saw many performers and guests with Asian, African and International backgrounds. We were very excited to meet everyone and hope to see them again at future shows. Congrats to the team that works so hard to make sure it goes as smooth as possible!

Bellydance Friends

Jenny Muhlwa -Photo from Belrobics

We made some amazing friends this year in the dance world. While enjoying the groups we usually dance and hang out with from Malta, Lebanon, Turkey, India, Nigeria and beyond…we also made friends with a beautiful woman in the UK named Jenny Muhlwa.  She is the owner and operator of Belrobics in Sheffield.

If you haven’t had a chance to check out jenny Muhlwa’s amazing videos then you are missing out.

Countdown to Sleeping Beauty


This past week (20-22 of December) she and several dancers put on a bellydance production of Sleeping Beauty.  It was the first of its kind given the scale of the event and tackling a story that does not have a Middle Easter Theme. Most productions and grand theatre events we see, involving Bellydance, are those classified as Folklore. Shaharzade is a well-known character in many of the theatrical bellydance productions as are many mystical characters. It is rare to see someone go this far and portray a delicate story such as Sleeping Beauty…and do it so well. We only got to see the lead up to the event and can’t wait to get a copy of the DVD when it is ready. However, we wanted to talk a bit about it and let you, our friends, know that the event did occur and the response was positive!


We thank Jenny for wearing our costumes in her production. In addition to this, she also wore MBD attire as the Olympic Torch came through her town this past summer.  Jenny is leading a world of excitement in her area and giving women of all backgrounds a chance to perform and be a part of the bellydance movement. On behalf of the African Asian Business and Cultural Exchange, Jenny is our newest “Best Bellydancer Friend of the 2012!” Please join us in sending her encouragement and love as she continues to work hard to bring bellydance into a “different” spotlight!


Throughout 2013 we will continue to interview and spotlight great dancers who are working hard to put together programs featuring ethnic dance and middle eastern culture. If you are one of those, have videos and material we can share online with friends and can share it on our bellydance fan page then contact us asap so we can chat! We can’t wait to see what you’re up to next!


Reaching for the Best Arabic Party Music

Our Resident Raissa Andye talks about music in the industry...
Music in our industry can be tricky when one has to call up translators and still hope your choice doesn't offend anyone. This is often the case for local expats as well...what to play? What to dance to? Everybody has their favourite regional sounds or preferences...

But one set of music that reigns are classic hishibeshek tunes and Egyptian Arabic Pop found on the Mezdeke series and Asena. Currently, I've only found it at but found out they are no longer in stock. The next best is the Asena cd...just take it wherever you go. Listen hear to one example of this type of music via youtube:
This is the same "genre" that brought you the infamous shik shak shoq. It's the first song one is taught when you're in your teens and really ready to roll with it these days.
There's also a few new DVDs on their site that you'll want to invest in...including Bollywood dance.
So, call them up and ask for it. I'll be sharing some backstory to other items they are bringing in from Turkiye and beyond...enjoy!

Mezdeke Music Series -the essential Arabic Party Music
Available at 1866.247.2477