The African Roots of Arab Belly Dancers – Music

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20 thoughts on “The African Roots of Arab Belly Dancers – Music”

  1. hi Nehesy – well I must ask if it is your opinion about the Conga drummers or is that generally agreed in Africa. I remember a very famous drummer I think from Nigeria that was also well known in America. Who was this?

  2. Hi Dana

    Yes of course it’s generally agreed in Africa, the conga has a religious/spiritual purpose first :

    – Calling the spirit of ancestors
    – Calling some other spirits
    – Calling some deities ( or more accurately the different aspects of the ONE GOD, like the Egyptian concept of neteru)

    Each Rhythm has his own purpose : Birth, Funeral, Dance,Medicinal, Religious, coronation (like the Sed festival of ancient pharoahs); secret messages (this is how the african destroyed the french army in Haiti in 19th century) , wars; It’s like different mathematics code.

    The Africans deported in Hispaniola ( Haiti & Dominican Republic), Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cuba etc, were able to conserve their original religion. But I can feel it in soul music too of the early 70′ ( Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, Marvin Gaye)

    The African conga master Babatunde Olatunji (may be you’re talking about him) from Nigeria says :

    ” Rhythm is the soul of life. The whole universe revolves in rhythm. Everything and every human action revolves in rhythm”

    This is why in the bible (Jews and Christians) or even muslims say that creation started with vibration:

    – GOD saying “BE”

    The vibration of his “voice” launched the creation of the universe.

    There is a lot of esoteric knowledge regarding Rhythm/Vibration/Music.

    All masters congas drummers of Afrocuban music knew the African religion principles very well: Chano Pozo (who played with many Jazz Men) , Mongo Santamaria, Aristides Soto aka Tata Guines etc.

    I bought last year in Cuba a CD coffret named “Anthology of Afro-Cuban Music ” , I recommend it to you (old african rituals in Cuba) , or you can also find Babatunde Olatunji ‘s DVD ” African Drumming”.. You have also the master brazilian conga/drummer Carlinhos Brown.

    I bought as well many invaluable books about Afrocuban religion system, and it’s very cheap down there.

    The music named Salsa by New York Latinos wouldn’t exist without the African Religious system, even the CLAVES has a spiritual purpose, one representing the male the other the female.

    The Bongo is well known is Senegal and they used it a lot in Salsa like the Puerto Rican Master Roberto Roena (the man with the Afro who danced):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UVmqVX0Au8

  3. Hi Nehesy – Ok now I see what you are saying. i didn’t know Olatunji’s drumming was also Conga. Is Congo considered the same as Congolese drumming. I was using the word Congolese in the sense of the country Congo. I agree with you now that the Conga drumming is definitely the most complex form of drumming in Africa and definitely can move the spirit and make the ancestors come alive so to speak.

    Actually, I had tried to take a drumming course when in college where I learned about the Clave beats. Many of the Puerto Ricans men coming to the course in fact already knew about the significance of the drumming and practice African type religion. Very few African Americans, however, showed up at these sessions which I think is a shame. Many our or Hispanic countrymen here from the Caribbean are thankfully preserving the African heritage and traditions for us to learn in the U.S.

  4. Hi Dana

    Ok I see, when I said congolese drummers were the best in Africa, I was talking about their skills with “European” Drummers, but they’re usually inspired by their traditional Rhythm , defined by their elders (with congas which they used in their country).

    But generally speaking the congolese are the best musicians in Africa, specially guitar and drummers.

    They’re music is copied a lot in many African countries, and in all night club in Africa their music is played. For instance, in Ivory coast they created a new style called ” Coupé – Décalé” which means ” Cut and Run” and it’s actually congolese music with Ivory coast “sauce”:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uchk1kXZBXU

    Usually during the African “grammy awards” they win everything, Awilo won it 3 times at least, Werrason and Koffi Olomidé too.

    This is a video of one the most gifted singer of Congo (RDC), Ferre Gola :

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qkLFvfSchGY

    I think they have much sucess because their language called Lingala is very nice.

    I have to visit New York some day you have a big melting pot in this town.

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