Baligh Hamdi

Air Mail Music: Belly Dance

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The Air Mail division of PLayasound has been issuing excellent recordings of various international music for some time now. Air Mail Music: Belly Dance is another strong entry, but with a twist. Normally Air Mail releases are quite traditional, but this time they mix an Arabic ensemble (led by Balish Hamdi, who composed and arranged for Umm Kulthum) with a handful of Indian performers, and the results are marvelous. The music is still pretty traditional Arabic fare, but the tones of the Indian instruments add another dimension altogether. The idea was a stroke of genius that is interesting and effective without ever sounding like a gimmick. If you're looking for a belly dancing album with a different flavor, this one comes recommended.

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