I get to experience new customs and new cultures which I feel makes me a better and wiser person. There’s a lot that we read and hear about when it comes to other parts of the world but actually visiting and experiencing another country in person is quite different.
It’s a big world out there. People live and behave differently. When you live in another country, you can open your eyes to the beliefs and values of other people and its influence on their everyday life. You will discover new social norms and lifestyles. It will not only change your perspective, but it will re-shape your personality as well.
The Middle East is of course a set of countries whose cultural traditions are different than the West.
I start with Özel Türkbaş (September 1, 1938 – July 22, 2012) who was a Turkish-born actress, model, singer and belly dancer, who helped popularize belly dancing in the US and recorded traditional music aimed at a western audience, including the successful 1969 album Bellydance with Özel Türkbaş: How to Make Your Husband a Sultan. Ozel’s Dance Routine (Mr Thing Re-Edit) is one of the tracks from Özel Turkbas’ album, called “How To Belly Dance For Your Sultan”
- Aris San (1940 – 1992) was a famous Greek singer who immigrated to Israel and was one of the first to use electric guitar in a Greek music setting.
“The status of popular Eastern music changed dramatically in the 1960s, with the eruption of the “Greek” wave of popular music in Israel. “Greek popularmusic” in this context should be understood as the sound of hybrid nightclub music styles from Athens and Thessaloniki, generally referred to as laika (DeBoer 1996). A dominant feature of this sound is the presence of the bouzouki. This type of Greek music became a favorite style for Israeli born Eastern Jews as well as for many non-Easterners.
- GANIMIAN & HIS ORIENTAL MUSIC-COME WITH ME TO THE CASBAH
This of the earliest examples of any kind of recorded fusion between rhythm heavy pop music and traditional Turkish music. For Ganimian, this is a sadly unrecorded turk jerk combo The Nor-Ikes (New Dawn) combo – ran almost simultaneously alongside the rising Anadolou Pop scene in Turkey, resulting in his short lived powerhouse of Kif proto-rock under the changing names of Ganim’s Asia Minors, Ganimian & His Orientals and Ganimian & His Oriental Music Orchestra.
Combining a line-up of mostly unknown musicians from his local community (where he was worked as a butcher), Ganimian, in a short unison with ATCO records, was fortunate enough to accommodate jazz guitarist Al Schactman as part of his studio personnel (launching the career of this Nina Simone regular) as well as French born Armenian folk singer Onnik Dinkjian and reid player Steve Bogoshian (both from the band The House Of The Seven Uncles) as well as the esteemed Turkish raised Kanun player Ahmet Yatman.
As one of the very few early American recorded authentic Middle Eastern fusion record Come With Me To The Casbah has piqued a refined interest in a new generation of progressive world music collector resulting in a distinct drought in original Ganimian pressings on the collectors’ market earning Chicks name a rising placeholder on the want lists of DJs, vinyl hounds and ethno psychedelia collectors.
- Devil’s Anvil
The Devil’s Anvil were a group of Arab-American musicians playing the New York folk and rock club circuit in the mid-’60s. They differed from virtually every other group experimenting with Eastern sounds because though they were rock musicians deeply rooted to the folk traditions of their heritages, and they played the Anatolian instruments associated with them. Hard Rock from the Middle East is the only album issued by the group. They had the unfortunate karma of having their album released at the height of the Arab-Israeli war and no one would touch the recording.
- Light in Babylon
“Light in Babylon”, an original fusion of ethnicities and culture. An Iranian Israeli singer, a Turkish santoor player and a French guitarist have come together to collaborate with eclectic musicians from around the world to create and spread an open, peaceful and shining orientalism.
With the strength and openness of their youth and the various musical influences they have, they intuitively created a original colourful blend of their inner voices with flavours that would carry the imagination on a travel trough the Middle east and beyond.
Story sources: Wikipedia, Image credit: Flickr creative Commons