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's possible to offend someone.

Response 1

"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

Response 2

"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

Response 3

"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

Music Recommendations

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

" 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
" 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
" 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
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

" 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

Last Modified: 15 Jun 1997
Kimberly Cyr
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