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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

A Review Of

Fire Dance

by Brian Keane & Omar Faruk Tekbilek

 

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Summary

Although some tracks are danceable, this album is intended primarily for listening rather than for dancing.

Most of the songs are original music composed by the artists who recorded it, although there are also a couple of traditional Middle Eastern songs. The instruments used include a combination of traditional Middle Eastern instruments, guitar, and synthesizer.

The music is a fusion of Middle Eastern and Western styles, so it would work best for fusion-type performances.

Fire Dance Album Cover

 

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Fact Sheet

Musical Style Fusion (mostly Turkish fused with Western)
Instruments Guitar, synthesizer, keyboard, traditional Middle Eastern
Dance Style Best Suited To... Fusion, American Classic
Recommended Dance Skill Level Intermediate or advanced
Length of Music 65:04
Number of Songs 14
Packaging Liner notes booklet is not very informative.

 

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Description

Most of the music in this collection consists of original compositions by Brian Keane and Omar Faruk Tekbilek, following the Middle Eastern style. However, there are some traditional Middle Eastern songs included.

In general, most songs are played on traditional Middle Eastern instruments with some synthesizer accompaniment for effect.

I don't think this music would be the right choice for a beginner who wants practice music or something to use for a solo in a recital. The musical rhythms are rather complex, and in some songs they change frequently within the song. I usually advise beginners to select songs no longer than 3 1/2 minutes for their solos because it's hard for a novice to continue doing exciting things to a particular piece of music for longer than that, and most of the songs in this collection with simple rhythms are longer than 5 minutes.

 

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Songs Included

Song Title

Length

From

Music Clip?

Translation?

Comments

Somewhere In The Sahara 2:30 U.S.A. No Not Applicable Starts with sound of wind. Ney comes in. Other instruments enter and build. Smooth transition into next track.
Oglan Boyun 5:11 Persian Yes Not Applicable 6/8 rhythm. Fun, bouncy. Good choice if you're performing in a show with many other dancers and you want something different from what everyone else is using.
A Call To Prayer 5:20   No No Chant accompanied by background instrumentals. Beautiful & haunting. But not suitable for dance. This is the actual Muslim call to prayer, and is a very religious piece of music. Dancing to it would be highly offensive to Muslims.
Desert Twilight 5:11 U.S.A. Yes Not Applicable Beautiful, lyrical melody. Made me feel calm while driving in California rush hour traffic. Primary instruments are guitar and ney. Would be lovely for veil work.
A Passage East 3:06 U.S.A. Yes Not Applicable Jazz guitar. Did not put me in the mood for Middle Eastern dance. Aimless.
Song Of The Pharaohs 5:57   Yes Not Applicable Ney solo against background of synthesizer with wind & other effects. Lovely. Calming. Could work for veil, balancing, standing taqsim, floor work, or Pharaonic.
Beledy 5:27 U.S.A. Yes Not Applicable Opening zurna improvisation, then maqsoum beat kicks in. Strong percussion throughout. Best suited to more experienced dancers because of rhythm changes. Spirited half-minute drum solo near the end with playful accents. Zurna leads melody line throughout, giving the piece a decidedly ethnic flavor.
Fire Dance 5:27 Egyptian Yes Not Applicable Egyptian-style big-orchestra sound. Best suited to experienced dancers because of music complexity.
Ask 6:24 U.S.A. Yes Not Applicable Ney/oud duet. Call & answer with the two occasionally playing in unison. Nice, flowing melody, but I was bored with it by the end. Doesn't sound Middle Eastern.
Village Song 4:16 Turkey No Not Applicable 9/8 rhythm. Played on zurna. Strong percussion throughout. At times, has a fuller orchestral sound. On the border between ethnic flavor and nightclub.
Modern Mystics 2:59 U.S.A. No Not Applicable Ney improvisation in the style of the Sufi music used to accompany whirling dervishes. Accompanied by guitar. May be suitable for standing undulations, floor work, balancing.
Sahara (reprise) 1:16 U.S.A. No Not Applicable Free-form improvisation. Suitable for standing undulations, balancing, floor work. Guitar melody against synthesizer background.
Spirit Of The Ancestors 5:31 U.S.A. Yes No Not suitable for dance. The lyrics say, "La illaha, i' Allah", which is a prayer often recited in Sufi ritual and it means "There is no god but Allah". Using this in a dance performance would be deeply offensive to Muslims.
Halay 5:56 North Africa No Not Applicable Bouncy 6/8 rhythm. Builds in volume and energy. Brief drum solo in center. Very much get-up-and-dance music.

 

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Is It Right for You?

You Will Probably Enjoy This Music If...

  • You enjoy a wide variety of musical styles from throughout the Middle East and North Africa.
  • You enjoy both traditional instruments and modern synthesizers, and you like them used skillfully together.
  • You enjoy both traditional songs and also modern compositions in the Middle Eastern style.
  • You enjoy fusion music for your dancing.
  • You like to pick music that has a Middle Eastern flavor yet is distinctive, making your show unique in a line-up that includes many other dancers too.

This Music Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You're a beginner looking for something simple to practice with or perform to in a recital.
  • You like only music from a certain region such as Egypt or Turkey.
  • You prefer music that is actually known and popular in the Middle East rather than material composed in the Middle Eastern style by musicians elsewhere.
  • You don't care for fusion.

 

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What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked:

  • I enjoy some of the songs very, very much and find myself listening to them over and over again. This was particularly true of "Song Of The Pharaohs" and "Desert Twilight".
  • The quality of the musicianship is excellent. The musicians are clearly very talented and work well together.
  • The production quality of the music is excellent. The tone is clean.
  • There is a wide variety of music on the album. I enjoy the full range of music from throughout the Middle East and North Africa, so I'm always happy to find a good sampler like this one.
  • It includes a couple of appealing selections using less common rhythms such as 9/8 and 6/8.

What I Didn't Like:

  • I found a couple of the songs to be boring.
  • The type size on the CD label used for the list of songs is so tiny I could barely read it, especially against the colored background behind it.
  • Most of the songs are longer than 5 minutes, which is too long for many environments in which dancers perform. Song lengths ranging from 3 1/2 to 5 minutes are much more compatible with a dancer's show needs.

 

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Conclusion

This album is very much fusion-oriented music, and therefore best suited to fusion-oriented dancing. I find that when I'm dancing American Classic style I can mix some of these songs into a set that includes Turkish pop and the sounds work well together.

 

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Disclosures

I've never had any dealings with Brian Keane or Omar Faruk Tekbilek. I know them only by reputation.

 

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To Buy It

Fire Dance Album Cover

Artist: Omar Faruk Tekbilek & Brian Keane
Album Title: Fire Dance

Celestial Harmonies
P.O. Box 30122
Tucson, AZ 85751
U.S.A.

Web Site: dynrec.com/tekbilek

Amazon Store: U.S. Canada U.K.

 

 

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