Two shows in Manhattan coming up in November
Hi everyone!

I'll be performing in two very different shows this November – an Egyptian-style restaurant show with live drumming, and a theater show as part of a group fusion piece. Come to one or both! Details follow, along with some bonus facts about Arabic language and music.



On Sunday, Nov. 6, I'll be performing at the School's Out Bellydance Extravaganza presented by Kay Kaziyah. The lineup is packed with wonderful dancers and Gamal Shafik will be providing live drumming. The show runs from 2-5 p.m. Jebon is located at 15 St. Mark's Place. Admission is $15, and there is a $10 food/drink minimum.

I'll also be performing in the Dalia Carella Dance Company's group performance project in the show Amareen III, presented by Maki and Nahoko. The show will take place at the Henry Street Settlement Theater, 264 Henry Street, on Saturday, Nov. 19. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show will be 7:30-9 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Advance tickets are available at this link.


Classes are currently on hiatus. Contact me at if you're interested in the Thursday evening classes in Ditmas Park. I'm also available for private lessons.


This newsletter brought to you by the Arabic letter

Today we're looking at a very distinctive Arabic letter, called "ayn." Like "qaf" in the last newsletter, it represents a sound that we don't have in English. Here's one YouTube video that demonstrates the sound and gives an analogy for pronouncing it; here's another video, a little longer, that gives a more technical explanation.
Just as English has upper-case and lower-case letters, Arabic letters have different shapes depending on whether they are at the beginning, middle, or end of a word, or standing alone. Arabic is written from right to left, so the beginning of the word is on the right side.

This letter looks a bit like a backward 3, and you'll sometimes find the letter 3 used to represent "ayn" when people are transliterating Arabic into English characters, since English doesn't have a similar letter.

Although it takes practice for English speakers to pronounce this sound, it's an essential one -- you need it in order to say "Arabic." If you're talking about the Arabic language, here's the word you would use.

Here's one example from Arabic music: 
Inta 3omri, performed by Om Kolsoum

And here's another:
Habibi Ya 3eyni, performed by Nancy Ajram

This song title means "my sweetheart, my eye." "3eyn" is "eye," and "3eyni" is "my eye" — if you've been following the newsletters, test yourself to see if you know how to say "your eye" and then check your work here. :)

Beyond typical romantic images of gazing into the eyes of the beloved, "my eye" itself is a term of endearment in Arabic. So you'll hear this word and its variations often in songs about love (which so many songs are). I bet you can think of at least one more example.

You'll also hear this word in a different context in music: layali. This is a type of vocal improvisation. In jazz, singers "scat" or improvise on nonsense syllables, and in Arabic, singers improvise on the words "layl" (night) and "eyn." Here's an example from Fatme Serhan, from the "Best of Saidi" album. Here's an example of layali in a more formal context, and here's an example of Hakim incorporating it into a pop song (listen around the 2:00 mark).

Thanks for reading, and happy shimmies!
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