George Moawad created this 3-volume series of books specifically for the purpose of helping U.S. Oriental dance artists who don't speak Arabic to enhance their understanding of Arabic music. Dancers who don't know what songs are about run the risk of interpreting songs in ways that would look stupid to people who understand what the words are saying. For example, a dancer who writhes seductively to a song about failed romance such as "Lessa Faker" or "Harramt Ahebbak" would be seen as ignorant. In contrast, a dancer who dances with appropriate emotional expression to what the words are saying would be appreciated by audiences who know the song.
Each book the series is 24-26 pages long, with translations for 8-10 songs in each. The rest of the book consists of advertisements, interviews, and reviews of Moawad's other products. There is no sheet music included, only the text of the lyrics.
If each book had contained translations for more than 8-10 songs, I probably would have given this series 5 stars. With only 8-10 songs per book, there is still enough value to justify three stars, because this knowledge is very important to dancers who wish to develop a truly professional level of skill that will be respected by their ethnic audiences. The information the books contain is valuable, but it seems a bit skimpy.
The inclusion of the Arabic lyrics translated into the Roman alphabet is very useful for several reasons, including:
Because the books focus on well-known songs that are widely used for Oriental dance, a dance student who doesn't yet know much about Arabic music can use the books as a recommendation for songs to seek out and learn. A dancer who already knows something about Arabic music will appreicate that many popular songs are included.
Are They Right for You?
You Will Probably Enjoy These Books If...
These Books Probably Aren't Right for You If...
What I Liked, What I Didn't
What I Liked:
What I Didn't Like:
It's very important for a dancer to know what the lyrics are saying in the songs she uses for her shows. This knowledge will allow her to incorporate techniques into her performances that add credibility with Arabic audiences, such as lip-syncing to the Arabic lyrics or showing appropriate emotion to the shifting moods of the song. For those of us who don't speak Arabic, these books provide the information we need to truly understand this music and enrich our dance performances. Unfortunately, each book is short, featuring only 8-10 songs.
There is nothing to disclose. My only contact with the producer of these books has been the transaction of purchasing them.
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