” I won´t ask permission to be more graphic; I´ll just go for it. Follow me, if you can: a typical baladi progression – which Egyptian musicians call “awadi” – starts with an intimate dialogue between the dancer and the accordionist.
Imagine a man and a woman, surrounded by the smoke of “shishas” (water pipes), sitting at an “akhwa baladi” (typical Egyptian coffeeshop), cheek to cheek, having a deep conversation.They´re in love and they don´t care about what others may think of them.(…) The love story is interrupted by a man who shows up unannounced. He´s tall, with kind, strong hands exhaling testosterone. He breaks into the conversation; carefully, at first. With stuble words, here and there.He pokes the lovers, teases them, incites them to act upon their romance. Some say he´s the devil, the one who convinces you to eat that extra slice of pizza or to go the extra mile, but I believe he´s just who he is. His presence in the conversation is felt with increasing strength, energy, adrenaline and speed. And a little bit of fright, perhaps.
Let me remind you: the lovers of this story are the dancer and the accordionist; the man who has just shown up is the “taabal”, the main percussion player of an Egyptian orchestra. Now we have a three way conversation. The third part, the “taabal”, adds to the love story: he´s a sort of condescending priest, like the one who marries Romeu and Juliet in Shakespeare´s play. Soon enough, we´ll have a wedding party with other guests, the “tabla” family members, arriving to the coffeeshop. They represent the other percussive elements – duf, riq, mazhar, tar, maybe the toura (large sagats, metal disks) – found in Egyptian traditional music.(…) Even the owner of the establishment gets into the party mood, shaking his hips to the beat, throwing away his apron and the house rules.
What started as an intimate dialoge, quiet, low-key and nostalgic, ends in the happiest party with the lovers – dancer and accordion – at the center.The way the “awadi” progresses – grows – is similar to this party or the way human beings make love, ideally speaking.
First, there´s the foreplay – the velvety words, the kisses, the hugging and tugging and smuggling.Then comes penetration, per se, the deepest part of the love making trip. Lovers become One – the dancer and the accordion united by a single light thread.Things heat up – big time. An ascending curve starts to build inside the love makers; a crescendo of physical excitement, passion and thirst for the Divine is produced; honey, milk and holy water spring from their naked bodies; the rollercoaster is on and it cannot be stopped. Final stop of the Journey: the Orgasm. The sky and the earth are reunited, tranquility is restored. This is BALADI. This is LIFE.
If you´re too prude – or afraid – to face it, you may not be invited into this world; the fruits of baladi may not be available for you to pick.”
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“The Secrets of Egypt – Dance, Life & Beyond” by Joana Saahirah – 2nd edition, revised & updated.
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