Photo of Shira



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

A Review Of

A Time of Peace

by Brothers of the Baladi




This is a collection of traditional Christmas songs, the majority religious in nature, performed on traditional Middle Eastern acoustic instruments with underlying Middle Eastern rhythms. The arrangements are all instrumental. A Time of Peace



Fact Sheet

Musical Style Christmas (mostly Christian hymns)
Instruments Ouz, zurna, qanoun, ney, bass, riqq
Dance Style Best Suited To... Fusion, Liturgical
Recommended Dance Skill Level All levels
Length of Music 41:13
Number of Songs 15
Packaging Liner notes contain a bit of information about Middle Eastern instruments




This album contains a collection of Christmas songs, mostly Christian, played on traditional Middle Eastern instruments.

Most (but not all) of the songs follow the structure of opening with a solo on a single instrument (often qanoun), then swelling into a group of instruments playing together as the song progresses. For each song, a Middle Eastern rhythm is layered underneath the main melody line. The melody-line instruments used include zurna, bass, bells, bouzouki, qanoun, oud, and ney. The percussion instruments included darbuka/tabla, zarb, riqq, davul, tar, and ka├žiklar.

Generally speaking, the rhythms come through clearly and easy to hear.



Songs Included


Song Title


Music Clip?


Deck the Halls 2:38 Yes Ayyoub rhythm. Up-tempo and fun. At one point, there is a dueling banjos effect between qanoun and oud.
We Three Kings 3:30 No  
O Little Town of Bethlehem 4:04 No Underlying rhythm is slow chiftetelli. Contains an improvisational segment in the middle on ney and oud against chiftetelli rhythm.
O Come All Ye Faithful 3:20 No Underlying rhythm is maqsoum with a joyful sound to it.
Coventry Carol 1:17 Yes Played in the style of an oud taqsim. When it starts, it sounds like a typical oud solo, but then subtly slips into the recognizable melody of "Coventry Carol". No percussion or other instruments playing rhythm -- preserves the free-form taqsim format throughout.
O Tannenbaum 3:14 Yes Spirited 6/8 rhythm. Lots of fun -- this has become my favorite arrangement of this song!
Good King Wenceslaus 1:46 No Syrtos rhythm, with lots of energy. I really like it.
Little Drummer Boy 3:52 No Slow maqsoum rhythm. Ends with a nice drum solo, but not even the Brothers of the Baladi can make me like this song.
Joy to the World 1:53 Yes Played entirely on zurna. It's okay, but not my favorite track on this album. Uses ayyoub as rhythm.
Angels We Have Heard on High 1:46 No Uses slow maqsoum rhythm.
Silent Night 3:21 No Played as a ney solo, with an underlying chiftetelli rhythm. Very gentle sound.
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing 2:08 No  
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear 2:18 No  
Away in a Manger 3:46 No Done as a qanoun taqsim without rhythmic accompaniment.
The First Noel 3:20 No Some bouzouki improvisation in the middle.



Is It Right for You?

You Will Probably Enjoy This Music If...

  • You enjoy listening to traditional religious-themed Christmas songs.
  • You're seeking suitable music to accompany Middle Eastern style of dance within the context of a Christmas pageant or special church service.
  • You'd like to play familiar Christmas music as background for a restaurant, Christmas party, dance event, or other occasion and you like the idea of using a Middle Eastern flavor for the arrangements of these songs.

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

  • You're really not interested in the traditional European Christmas music.
  • You don't feel a need to add Christmas music to your collection.



What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked:

  • The use of Middle Eastern instruments and rhythms gives these traditional songs a fresh new sound. I'm very, very tired of hearing ponderous or artsy-fartsy arrangements of these songs blasting me in malls, television commercials, and other places during the holiday season, yet I found myself enjoying these arrangements by the Brothers Of The Baladi as I drove along in my car.
  • These arrangements provide pleasant inspiration for Christmas-themed Oriental dance fusion performance. The use of Middle Eastern instruments and rhythms gives them a sufficiently Middle Eastern spin to seem "right" for a seasonal show.
  • The album contains a collection of a relatively large number (15) individual songs, so even if you don't like a couple of them, there are still enough others to make the album worth having if you like the general style of music.
  • The liner notes contain a brief glossary listing 11 Middle Eastern musical instruments with a brief description of each.
  • The artwork for the CD label is beautiful. It really attracts my attention.

What I Didn't Like:

  • The collection is contaminated with the song "The Little Drummer Boy" which I really dislike. Even Michael Beach's drum solo couldn't make me like it.
  • I found myself wishing there had been more secular songs instead of the heavy emphasis on Christian themes. I might use the Christian songs if dancing in a Christmas pageant or doing a liturgical dance, but for secular performances I prefer to avoid the religious songs.




This collection of songs is certainly suitable for the typical things that people use Christmas music for, such as background music while driving in a car, mood music in a restaurant, etc.

I personally wouldn't use the Christian hymns for belly dance performances unless it was within the context of a liturgical dance or Christmas pageant, with folkloric costuming. But the more secular songs such as "Deck the Halls" or "O Tannenbaum" could be fun to use for a belly dance performance at a holiday hafla.




I have been familiar with Brothers Of The Baladi music since about 1986, and I have many of their recordings in my music collection. I always enjoy watching them perform live, because they project great energy from the stage and they come across as very dancer-friendly. Although we have had some e-mail correspondence and they once invited my troupe to dance in a live show that they organized, I wouldn't claim to know them very well.



To Buy It

A Time of Peace

Artist: Brothers of the Baladi
Album Title: A Time of Peace

Brothers Of The Baladi
P.O. Box 14083
Portland, OR 97293-0083

Telephone: (+1) (503) 288-4684

Web Site:

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



Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Middle Eastern Culture >
Index to the Middle Eastern Music Section


Share this page!

On Facebook


 Top > Belly Dancing > Middle Eastern Culture > Index to the Middle Eastern Music Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |