Friday, 21 April 2017

R is for Reeha!...and...Roubi...and...Riqq...and...Raqs Sharqi


is for


(ar) Reeha! 



literally 'the smell' - this is what you answer when you're asked how much sugar you want in your tea, and you don't want it doused in half a kilogram! You just want a spoonful, 'the flavour' of sugar in it.  If you want it sweeter, you say 'mazboot' meaning 'strong,' and if you do want a quarter cup sugar in one cup tea, then it's 'zyada,' or 'more.'

Roubi, an Egyptian singer, and notice how she incorporates some nifty dance moves into her music. 









Riqq is the Arab frame drum, a tambourine, an essential part of the line-up of percussion instruments for both traditional classical and folk Arab music.  They are sometimes called def or daf also. 


Frame drums go back a long time, they appear in paintings and reliefs from the third millennium BCE in Mesopotamia. They used to be the main percussion instrument in the Arab classical tradition till the 20th century.  The riqq has been displaced from its prime position after the darbouka or the goblet drum, common to Arab folk music, was introduced into the classical accompaniments.


Adel Shams El Din is one of the most well-known masters of riqq – from Alexandria, now residing in France.  He has recorded over 40 albums. Here is a riqq solo by him:






Read more about the history and use of the riqq here.





Raqs Sharqi 
 
literally means Eastern or Oriental dance and refers to what is known as Belly dance in the Western world.  Yup, one of the eternal stereotype of Arabs - Billionaires, Bombers or Belly dancers!


It is actually a traditional Arab folk dance which is performed in two completely different contexts: at family occasions like weddings and in normal garments. And as a performing art by trained professionals in special dance costumes.  The costumes necessarily bare the midriff so as to showcase the dance moves, which can be sensuous, sinuous and/or raunchy, depending on the interpretation.  This is looked down upon by some as contrary to the teachings of modesty in Islam. There are also restrictions in place on public performance in some places, on what can be worn (the navel must be covered in Egypt, for instance) and the moves. However, the associated stigma does not prevent any number of women and also to a much lesser extent men, both Arabs and foreigners, to learn it and perform.


In recent years, Shakira (who has a part Lebanese heritage) has included Raqs Sharqi choreography in many of her performances, and has brought this art into the limelight and popularised it across the world. 



Watch one of the best contemporary belly dancers - Dina Talaat, perform in this clip.









Have you ever watched a performance of Raqs Sharqi or Belly dancing live? What did you think of it? Too raunchy for you? Or riveting?







Posted for the A-Z Challenge 2017 



30 comments:

  1. Roubi - what a mover! I enjoyed belly dancing in a restaurant in Marrakech. She stood and strutted her stuff on my table and almost kicked over my wine!

    Let's ramble!

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    Replies
    1. Oh no!

      "Strut all you like but don't mess with my wine."

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  2. Love adding 'the smell' of sugar, and recognition of just how powerful the sense it (and how intertwined with taste).
    I suspect that Raqs Sharqi is all of the things you listed - and more.
    I am so enjoying travelling with you this month. Thank you.

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    1. I used to add only the smell of sugar all the time in Egypt :) in Bahrain it's all measured in prosaic coffeespoons...sigh

      And travelling with friends? anytime! :)

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  3. Replies
    1. Yup, it is... frame drum = tambourine = riqq...all the same instrument.

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  4. That's interesting (about the sugar in the tea). I like that.

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    1. I like the way it's put too...conveys the exact sense.

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  5. Such dance is beautiful. Like the Hula in Hawai'i, it is simply a traditional expression of a people through movement set to music. People seeing it as ruanchy seems to me to say more about them than about the dance itself.

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    1. Agree totally. In fact that can be extended to any artform...

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  6. Thank you for the great videos and for filling my plate with tidbits I never knew. R is for I Really enjoyed this.

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    Replies
    1. I enjoyed putting it together. Thanks much for your support.

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  7. Some excellent "R£ letters here, well done on a good post. As I say always good to learn something about a different country.

    Yvonne.

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    Replies
    1. Learning the new and unexpected is half the fun, agree...

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  8. The dancing was amazing in those videos and although to some it may appear raunchy I think it shows the amazing ability of control over the human body to make these movements and for women to actually have a "belly" rather than being flat. Yet again a REAL RIDE of a post :)
    http://pempispalace.blogspot.co.uk/2017/04/q-is-for-quixotic-quidditch.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It does indeed require a high degree of discipline and control, and allows women to be the natural shape they are.

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  9. Good post with quite a variety of music and moves. I do like the concept of Reeha. Just a smidge, a whiff.
    Happy Friday. You are on the downhill slide of April

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, and a happy weekend to you too. Feel relieved to be on the downward ride, a few days more to go, phew!

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  10. What beautiful videos of belly dancing. I've watched and even taken some classes. You've inspired me to try out some moves again.
    Romance #Lexicon of Leaving

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    1. Wow! You have my serious respect, Kalpanaa! Kudos! Belly dancing is not an easy artform, though here in the videos both artistes make it look effortless.

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  11. It's a great artform and not easy, I'm sure! I have seen a belly dancer, in Turkey when I was 17. Great moves...

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    1. It's super tough getting those moves perfect...

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  12. Reeha will come in handy here. Thank you Nilanjana:)
    R is for Rann of Kutchch

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  13. Well, I find the sugar thing particularly fascinating, dont' ask me why. You mean there are really people who drink tea with that much sugar?
    There are so many details about everyday life in your challenge that we'd hardly come across in any other place. But that's what real file is made of.
    Thanks so much for sharing :-)

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - 1940s Film Noir

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    1. Well, quarter cup in a cup is an exaggeration :) but I have myself served Arab guests who took four/five spoonfuls in their tea. It's not unusual.

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  14. Now I'm thinking of a Palestinian singer I love: Rim Banna.
    I had the chance to hear her live and I fell in love!

    -----
    Eva - Mail Adventures

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    1. Rim has a beautiful voice, extremely expressive, poignant quality to her voice - heard her recorded, never live. I particularly like her lament Ya leil.

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