Thursday, May 20, 2010

Balkan Brass

What is it about the deep thrum of a tuba, the short bursts of a trumpet, and the drawn out sighs of a trombone that I find so damn sexy?
My first taste of live Balkan music was at Amnesia in San Francisco. Rachel Brice was performing- that sultry snake of a belly dancer. She was the one I had gone to see, but when the band for the night, "Brass Menazeri", started playing, it was the music that had me captivated and wanting more. (But don't get me wrong, Rachel kicked ass that night!)
Something about the festivity, the gypsy-like mischievousness in the songs, made me want to dance, and dance, and dance. I suppose I'm not the only one who's been feeling that way, because there has been a boom of belly dancing to Balkan music in the Tribal Fusion belly dance community.
I was at a rehearsal the other day, for an upcoming show with the band, "Zoyres". Now, Zoyres' sound is many things, and one of them is Balkan. As I sat there listening to the band play, I felt something familiar. There was a feeling stirring in my body that felt akin to falling in love. The room was sort of spinning. And that's when I realized that I was swooning.
Guys, pay attention. All those band geeks in high school had the right idea, because now they're surrounded by hot, swooning belly dancers!
This June, I am hosting Zadiel Sasmaz- my dance director from Berlin- on tour in California. Zadiel's specialties include Turkish Roma and 9/8 rhythms, music favored by Eastern European gypsies. What better case to showcase his talents than at a Balkan Fusion party? That's what gave me the idea for the next show I am producing. Belly dancers from a variety of styles, a special musical guest called "Leopard Print Tank Top", a sword solo to clarinet, and Zoyres, who will satisfy your Balkan music cravings. June 7th at Triple Crown in San Francisco! Time to release your inner gypsy, and maybe even catch a swooning dancer. That's one way to sweep a woman off her feet!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Baxtalo Drom: The Lucky Road

There is a gypsy punk party that happens once a month in San Francisco and it is a little bit, shall we say, revered in the tribal fusion belly dance community. Rose Harden and the ladies of Sister Kate host one hell of a show, called "Baxtalo Drom", at Amnesia.
Baxtalo Drom means "The Lucky Road", and if you attend or perform at the event, then you will indeed find yourself feeling like you have stumbled onto some lucky path. The performers are always hot and amazing, and the crowd is always just the right amount of rowdy.
Three days prior to the last Baxtalo Drom show, I was asked to perform. Yep, three days notice about performing at a show I knew would be packed! On the Facebook event page I was described as a "ravishing desert flower that wields her sword for you". What a title to live up to! My nerves were wracked, but I knew everything would be okay... so long as I practiced fifty million times.
To spice things up even more, the featured dancer of the night was Deb Rubin. Have you seen that woman dance? Well, she's fabulous, and dancing at the same show with her was humbling for me, if not a little terrifying at first. When you're opening for a big act, it's normal to have those feelings, right?
I really had nothing to worry about, though. My piece was- dare I say- almost flawless. Of course, after practicing it fifty million times, I would have been surprised if it had been anything else. And I say "almost" flawless just so I don't sound like an arrogant diva. This is where I would insert a smiley face if this blog had emoticons.
The other acts were also pretty spectacular. Kimberly Mackoy, Fatima, and Deb Rubin entertained the crowd with their sexy dance prowess. DJ Alxndr provided some funky beats. And Khi Darag (don't even bother trying to pronounce that; I couldn't pronounce it correctly after a whole night of hearing the name) got the audience moving and grooving with their gypsy-like tunes.
A bunch of my friends made it out to the show, despite the last minute notice. Where would I be without my amazing friends? It is so helpful to look into the crowd when I am onstage and see a familiar face.
Also, I realized that the lucky road doesn't have to stop at Amnesia; if I think about it, my whole life been a gypsy punk party as of late. Traveling the globe, dancing up a storm, having adventures, falling in love. Baxtalo drom indeed!