Shimmy Mob - Washington, DC

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Songs A Dancer Should Know

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"Alf Layla We Layla" in Arabic means "One Thousand and One Nights" and is a piece of music to celebrate a collection of folk tales from the Golden Age of Islam. Later during the medieval period, stories like 'Aladdin", "Ali Baba And the 40 Thieves" and the stories of "Sinbad" became popular from European authors however those stories were not originally a part of the folk collection of stories.

"Aziza" is a girl's name and it means, "precious" or "beloved".

"Habibi Ya Eyni" is an expression of endearment in the Middle East equal to the English expression, "apple of my eye" -- it literally translates to 'darling, my eyes'.

You will see this particular song spelled "enta omri" and the singer's name "Uhm Kulthum" spelled several ways. This is a very famous Arabic song which means, "You are my life".

This title means, "Nights Of Love" and is a song written for the singer Oum Kalthsoum by Mohamed Abdel Wahab, who is considered one of the greatest composers of Egypt. 

This also has couple of different spellings. "Mishaal" is a boy's name in Arabic and it means, "beacon" or "torch",

Shik Shak Shok:  This song talks about forgetting about modern music like rock-n-roll and rap, and enjoying "baladi" -- music from our village. The title, translates to "pierce" or "pierced" and implies a stab to the heart kind of thing in regard to favoring modern music to traditional.

Tamr Henna:

This is a girl's name which references the henna flower and the title of a movie from the late 1950s which starred Naima Akef. In the movie, it's a sad song about a girl's disappearance AND many think of the happier song which Akef performs to. Our sound clip is a happy drum solo.

In Arabic, "Zay El Hawa" means, "like the wind" and this is a love song when it has lyrics. This is an instrumental version.

                                  IMPORTANT NOTE:


You will find very quickly that Middle Eastern music isn't translated exactly in every version. Even the spelling of the titles sometimes is slightly different on the identical piece of music. 

Even in English, we may spell a name: "Shaun", "Shawn" or "Sean". 

We have words like, "to, too, and two" -- PLUS in English, "we park on driveways" and "drive on parkways". So the English speaking world is just as confusing! 


When looking for an Arabic title, many times it might be spelled phonetically -- which is what leads to all the different spellings. It can also lead to spelling out something unintended, so be prudent and corroborative about your sources.

This list of songs are ones most popular at parties (haflas) and family events, like weddings. They are played live by ensembles to complete orchestras, have traditional versions as well as modern club versions. 

Find the one (or ones) you like! Happy dancing!

Zeina: This is a girl's name -- meaning, "beautiful" which also carries the 

spelling "Zaina". It should never be confused, and often is, with "Zina"

and beware!! "Zina" is generally defined by Islamic Law as adultery.