Iana Komarnytska

Ep 158. Yasmin Henkesh: From Zar Rituals to Discussing Music Copyright Issues

Ep 158. Yasmin Henkesh: From Zar Rituals to Discussing Music Copyright Issues

Yasmin Henkesh grew up in the Washington D.C. area but moved to Europe to work as a professional dancer after graduating from college. She first appeared in the Algerian cabaret Al Djazair, but soon was hired by "big time" nightclubs in Paris, such as Le Beirut and Le Yildizlar. There she worked with some of the most well-known Arabic stars and musicians of the time, such as Sabah, Walid Toufiq, Ahmed Adawia, Mohammad El Aizabi and Hassan Abou Saud. She then moved to London to work at The Omar Khayyam, the renowned club of Mona Said, where she worked with master percussionist, Khamis Henkesh. But the draw to work in Egypt was too great and she moved to Cairo after a year to follow her dream. She appeared for two years at The Auberge on the Sharia al Haram and at the Holiday Inn. The head of her orchestra was Sayed Henkesh, a well-known Egyptian musician. During those years Yasmin enrolled in the American University in Cairo Master's degree in Arabic and did research of her own on the Egyptian zar and other forms of Middle Eastern trance dancing. Yasmin moved back to Washington DC in the early 1990's and danced regularly at the Casablanca Restaurant in Alexandria, VA until 2001. She now teaches various classes for aspiring dancers at her own dance studio as well as online.In this episode you will learn about:- The belly dance scene in Europe in 70s and 80s- Dancing in Egypt, and why Yasmin decided to come back to Europe- Her research about zar and various trance dances- Insights about the origins of the Ayoub rhythm- The music copyright issues all dancers should be aware of.Show Notes to this episode:(Additional information provided by Yasmin Henkesh)The notes for Hymn to Hathor, which has a lovely nay solo set to the ayoub rhythm:        "Track 17: AyoubThe Prophet Job      The 2/4 rhythm dancers refer to as “ayoub” has only been called this for the past fifty years - since poet / composer Zakariya al-Hagawi used it for the sound track of Malhama Ayoub wa Nasa (The Epic of Job and [his wife] Nasa). This religious TV miniseries about the Prophet Job (starring the composer’s wife, singer Khadra Mohammed Khadar) aired on Egyptian television in the early 1960s. Al-Hagawi’s music became so popular that belly dancers asked for its rhythm by abbreviating the show’s name. Up until then it had simply been known as the malfouf (another 2/4 rhythm) associated with Ottoman music (see Turkey/Egypt booklet page 14) or the ecstatic rituals of Turkish Mevlevi sufis (or “whirling dervishes” - listen to track 1 Whirling Dervishes of Farouk Tekbelek’s CD, Whirling).      Despite current belly dance nomenclature and assumptions, this rhythm is not used during Egyptian-Sudanese zar ceremonies to call the Jinn (their songs are based on masmoudi, darg, maqsoum or African rhythms). It was, however, used for folkloric theatrical stage recreations of zars because of its dramatic, hypnotic properties and its association with the zikr, another form of Middle Eastern trance induction. The zikr, or ‘remembrance,’ is a sufi ritual based on the repetition, spoken or silent, of the names or epithets of God. The hadra, a form of zikr incorporating music, movement and specialized breathing patterns, is associated with ecstatic trance. Often done accompanied by a bendir (a large, resonant hand drum with two gut strings stretched across the inside, touching the skin head) and occasionally to music (the role of music and dance is controversial in Islam - many mullahs, Islamic priests, damn them), the exact rituals vary according to individual sufi orders, or tariqas. But often they include exhaling while bending over and inhaling while straightening up, as “Allah(hu)” is vocalized. Hence, traditionally, the ayoub rhythm is associated with God, not the Jinn. Nevertheless, it is ideal for inducing trance, which is why I included this exceptional piece for sacred dance."A YouTube playlist for zar related videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLYUtFJWB2Ui9W97PxNHsJa5qrSsDrT6rqFind Yasmin Henkesh on Instagram, FB, website and Youtube.Follow Iana on Instagram, FB, Youtube, website .Podcast: www.ianadance.com/podcast

Duration: 1 hr 3 min

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