Posts Tagged ‘Arabian Nights’

Currently I am on my way home from Lebanon, where I visited for the last 2 weeks.   Last night I went out to a bar to see a traditional Arab band and it was a perfect last night out in Beirut.   The band (oud, violin, and dumbek) started out the evening with a few instrumentals.  Here is a clip from one of them:

Then they added a female singer:

And finally, a male singer:

So it’s a Saturday night in Beirut, and we are hanging out at this dark bar with a bunch of painfully hip-looking young Arabs.   About a minute into this song, approx. 10 guys spontaneously jumped up from their chairs and started doing this crazy dance that included lots of stomping and fancy footwork.   They held hands and danced around in a circle, alternately holding their hands high in the air, crouching low, and jumping.  The band kept the song going for a solid 8 minutes so they prolong the dance.   I tried to get it on video but it was way too dark for my little digital camera to catch it.

It was kind of like in this video below, but a lot faster, the steps were more complicated, and they kept the circle rotating all the time.

It was one of the coolest things I have ever seen.   When the song finally ended they all sat down like nothing had happened and my companion and I just looked at each other with our mouths open.

Some sleuthing reveals that it’s a folk dance called dabke which is indigenous to the Levant.   Wikipedia says that houses in this region traditionally had roofs made of straw and dirt which needed to be compacted uniformly.  So they came up with this dance to do the job.

Here’s another video of Dabke that is fun to watch:

Right now I’m sitting in the Dubai airport mourning the fact that, as a European-American mutt, I have virtually no conscious cultural heritage.


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