Greek Belly Dance Music Recommendations
See the Music Vendor page for vendor addresses mentioned below, or general belly dance music vendors.
Does Greek Belly Dance and related music exist?
Yes! Music suggestions listed below...
What about using Turkish music?
This can be tricky...it's possible to offend someone.
"First of all, don't think because the Greeks and Turks seem to always be at
odds politically, that they find each others' music offensive. I've found,
and please, this is only my observation, that Greeks and Turks have cross-polinated so much that they either claim or simply just like the same music.
"For example, there is a new, nice CD out now called "Greatest Turkish
Belly Dance Hits", or something similar wich I think will be easy for you
to find. If has a picture of a very thin dancer in a pink costume with a scarf
on her head... Here's the sticky point--this CD has a number of songs on it that I've heard played by Greek bands for Greek line dancing. A lot
of great Turkish music comes from the city of Izmir, which, until about 1923,
was largely inhabited by Greeks, who called the city Smyrna. When the Turks
expelled their ethnic Greeks in 1923 (and the Greeks expelled their ethnic
Turks at the same time), these Greeks took their music with them. The
Greeks from Smyrna moved to Athens and Piraeus, where they developed an
incredible honky-tonk type of music called Rembetika. (There are a number
of Rembetika CDs that are available in chain music stores, but I'd hesitate
to use them in a belly dance routine.)
"I believe the Turks, meanwhile, developed chifte-telli, the popular
dance rhythm that American belly dancers used for their veil and floor
work in the 1960's and 1970's. It may have been heavily influenced by the
Greeks. Today, the Greeks use an up-tempo version of the chifte-telli for
their modern popular music and dance. In fact, they call the dance they do
to it 'belly dancing'.
"At Greek parties and restaurants, I've heard bands play the old warhorse
'Rompe Rompe' and other karshlimas, to which the Greeks fervently do their
chifte-telli dance. It probably won't be offensive to use Rompe Rompe as a
closing song, if you know karshlima at all. I've seen many belly dancers
at Greek restaurants use this. You also can't go wrong with 'Miserlou' for
veil work. It's a Greek line dance..." --Stefania
"I played some Bilzekjian at a gig at a Greek restaurant -- was pretty
careful about my music choice, in fact, or at least, so I thought. But
after that set the owner told me a lot of people (read: his friend Gus)
were offended by the Turkish music... (there were maybe 5 Greeks in the
place)...Well, take all this with a grain of salt, but don't count on
Bilzekjian's music going over well with Greeks. Actually, they got into
Suhaila's Arabian Musicals series..." --Andrea Deagon
"Every Greek Easter the San Francisco Bay Area Greek-American community
holds a huge picnic in Calistoga, CA. This picnic draws Greek nationals, Greek
Americans (the majority), and their friends of every race and ethnic origin
including nice Jewish ladies like me. Of course, there's lots of great
live music, line dancing, and chifte-telli. And I can remember distinctly
that they played 'Rompe Rompe', at which time my friend...and I got scarves
and did an enthusiastic fake karshlima. Tons of people danced chifte-telli
and rock n' roll style dancing to the song. Some Greek-Americans watched [us]
from the sides and afterwards told us that we were great. (Thank you,
whoever you are.) ...I half expected [my friend's husband] to tell me that
'Rompe' is actually a Greek song. (Hasn't happened yet. ;^) )" --Stefania
Many of the following are available as albums or on tape (at least) through general belly dance suppliers like: Chandra, Dahlal Internationale, Judy's Creative Costuming, Universal Imports and Unicorn Bellydance supplies. Addresses on the Music Vendors page.
- George Abdo
- Features some Greek songs like "Ta Mavra Matia Sou" on The Magic of Belly Dance, and "Min Feegis" on Belly Dancing With George Abdo. "Another great rendition of a Greek belly dancing standard done by Geo. Abdo is 'Ta Mavra Matia Sou'... It's 5 minutes long total, has one minute of instrumental introduction, and is very soulful." --Andrea R.
- Albums/cd's/cassettes: Greek Fire, Baths of Constantinople. "...a Greek-American band called Annaboubala plays wonderful
Greek rock fusion type music that you may want to use...I've heard some of their stuff on the radio. It's great. It's also readily available in chain music stores." --Stephania
"...you will want to buy an original of either of [their tapes/CD's], however, and check [song] translations. Some are not pleasant story lines... ;-) Annabouboula's stuff is also available through the Ladyslipper catalog out of Durham, NC." --Shakira
- John Bassil/Yannis Bassillo
- "A Greek friend put me onto a singer named John Bassil - I think his name is Yannis Bassillo in Greek. Most of his music is quite acceptable to perform to, he does fast pieces and some lovely soulful slow songs, and to make a taped routine for performing, I just slotted in a drum solo." --Aziza
- The Big 19 from Columbia (title?)
- "There is a tape called something like "The Big 19 From Columbia" which has some good Greek-style bellydance tracks on it. I've seen it here in Sydney so I'm sure you'll be able to get it in the States." --Aziza
- John Bilezikjian
- "...an extremely popular Armenian-American musician who will play Greek music among the many musical styles that he does." --Stefania
"I think Armenian music is also pretty acceptable in that [Greek] setting. (If not Turkish... ;-) that would let you pull out some other old LP's...) --Shakira
- Sophia Bilides (sp?)
- Look under "E. Thomas Compact Disks" on the Music Vendors page for ordering information. The tape title is Sophia Bilides - A Greek Legacy.
- Brothers of the Baladi
- Features some Greek songs.
- Album/tape/CD: Belly Dance Explosion. "I think it's only
on LP, but I know Chandra sells it." --Sherezzah
"[One] of my favorite Greek tapes (haven't gotten into dance CD's yet)..." --Dhirana
- Fred Elias
- "...there are *tons* of this style on old LP's. Jimmy Linardos put out several records, as did Fred Elias." --Shakira
- The Feenjon Goes Greek
- "...an oldie but I think was recently re-released on cassette." --Sherezzah "[One] of my favorite Greek tapes..." --Dhirana
- Chris Kalogerson and his Ensemble
- "An oldie, don't know if it's still available."
- Jimmy Linardos and his Near East Group
- "...there are *tons* of this style on old LP's. Jimmy Linardos put out several records...." --Shakira "[One] of my favorite Greek tapes..." --Dhirana
- Albums/cd's/cassettes: Evolution.
- Harry Saroyan
- Albums/cd's/cassettes: Music for La Danse Orientale; features "Marinella".
- Album/CD/cassette: The Grecian Way. "[One] of my favorite Greek tapes..." --Dhirana
- 3 Mustaphas 3
- Albums/cd's/cassettes: Friends, Fiends, Fronds. "I have this album on CD. It is one my personal favorites. My favorite
song on the album "Anapse To Cigaro", is a Greek song with a very
contemporary, popish sound to it. I would love to see a bellydance
choreographed to this song. There are other songs on the album which
would be great for bellydance, too. The first part of the album is very
eclectic, but it grows on you. If you ever see this CD in the store,
buy it! Or you can write for info to
PO BOX 7367
MINNEAPOLIS, MN 55407
It's worth the hassle. :)" --Jonathan
- (Unknown ???)
- Albums/cd's/cassettes: Artistic Moods for Dance "...there was a series, Artistic Moods for Bellydance, which did mix other cultures in, but I believe had Greek instruments." --Shakira
- "...you can call George Chittenden or Lise Liepman at 510-525-4342. They
are members of the group Ziya that does Greek folk and belly dance music. You can order their tapes using that number. Just explain to them what you want, they should be able to help you." --Shu-Ju