Phoenix Belly Dance

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Gypsy - League of Nations
by Kathy Gavin

Romani music often referred to as gypsy/gypsi music is the music of the Romani people who have their origins in Northern India but today live mostly in Europe. Typically nomadic, the Romani people acted as entertainers and tradesmen in the countries that they visited. They incorporated the influences of those countries that they visited namely, Greek, Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Serbian, Czech, Slavic, Romanian, German, French and Spanish.

In Turkey their music was influenced by the classical Turkish sound and they sought then to bring this new sound to the people through the meyhane/tavern. The type of fasil music coupled with food and alcohol was often associated with the underclass of Turkish society. Times have changed and this music is often seen in more “respectable” establishments. 

Romanis have also influenced the fasil itself. Played in music halls, the dance music (oyun havasi) required at the end of each fasil has been incorporated with Ottoman rakkas or belly dancing motifs. The rhythmic ostinato accompanying the instrumental (ritmli taksim) for the belly-dance parallels that of the classical gazel, a vocal improvisation in free rhythm with rhythmic accompaniment.