Classic Belly Dance Song Spotlight: Uskadar, Ya Ayn Mawlaitan & Rampi – ALLAF 025

These loved Turkish, Rom and Arabic songs are a must-know for belly dancers, especially if you want to be ready to dance to a live band!  Learn about the maqamat, rhythms, translations and ways to dance to Katibim, Al Ain Molayaitin, and Rompi Rompi.

 

We have talked about so many fantastic danceable songs in the first 24 episodes of A Little Lighter, but I haven’t played the 1 entire song for you yet! To commemorate the 25th show of this podcast, we’re going to do something special and listen to 3 great songs together in their entirety. I will translate and narrate along the way so that you understand the song in a deeper way. Hopefully you’re in a place where you can dance to this whole podcast as well! I’ll also mention the Damn Sexy Dance moves featured in those episodes. Let’s enjoy the learning more about the Turkish folk song Uskadar, the Lebanese debke classic Ya Ayn Mawlaitan, and the Turkish 9/8 song Rampi Rampi.

 

Uskadara – Live recording by Taksim Ithaca

The song Uskadar was featured Episode 001. It is a dance song for this show is an excellent example of an infectious melody that people want in their lives.

The Turkish version takes place in a little town, and the woman and her clerk take a trip to Uskadar. Back in the day wealthier women in Turkey had male secretaries. “Kâtip” means “clerk” and another name for the song is Katibim. That probably means “my clerk”. And this particular clerk looks good in his starched shirt. The woman and her clerk are traveling together in the pouring rain and she feeds him Turkish Delight from her handkerchief.

This song is in the maqam Nihavent. The rhythm gives us the feeling of traveling on a bumpy road, accidentally sliding closer and closer to the attractive person sharing the seat.

The Arabic version of this song is “Ya Banat Iskandaria” (Arabic: “يا بنات اسكندريّة”) meaning “Oh Girls of Alexandria”. And this is another steamy love song, but it’s from a man’s perspective. Passion, heart and body melting, sin. All that good stuff.

I can see a veil being very cute as a prop for this song, especially because part of the song she’s gazing at her clerk from behind her veil.

Damn Sexy Dance move: Arm Turns to Wing

Ya Ayn Mawlaitan – Live recording by Taksim Ithaca

This song was first featured in Episode 002. Al Eyn Mulayitain (“Two Trips to the Water Spring”), is a song about a girl in the country who crosses a bridge multiple times a day collecting water for her family. That’s nice, but the song is magnetic because it’s also a love song. On her trips to gather water, she hopes to meet the man she loves.

(Spelled so English speakers can pronounce it) “Al eyen moo lay iten. Woht nash moo lay yah. Jis-rah ha-did en gahd-ah men, dohs rehj lay yah”

The rhythm of the song is Baladi Lubnan. Maybe that’s a way to say Lebanon? It’s a unique rhythm because there’s no emphasis on the first note. It’s like you’re holding your breath, landing on each measure a beat later with more weight.

A big bassy davul drum, carried with shoulder straps like a big marching band drum in the West often drives the bass line. Ya Ayn Mawlayitan is in the maqam Bayyati.

And like many songs similar to this one, there is often a mijwiz or mizmar, this loud reeded instrument that gets the party started.

My bandmate from Lebanon says that this song is old school now and gets played at village weddings, but not so much in urban areas. Good to know.

This song is actually a debka. I’ve heard it pronounced “deb-kee” as well. Maybe there are a lot of pronunciations and I’m not saying it correctly in any of them.

To be honest, I’ve always danced to this song Ya Ayn as if it was a saidi piece.

Do some debka dance moves!

 

 

Rampi Rampi or Çadırımın üstüne (“chah-deer-min Oos-toon-nay”) – Live recording by Taksim Ithaca

This song was first featured in Episode 007. Rampi Rampi can be spelled many ways, especially because it’s not a real word. Like Obladi blada. So if you google it, try several different spellings. Rombi. Rampi, etc

This song is also sung in Greek and Turkish. Another Turkish title for it is Çadırımın üstüne, meaning “On my tent”.

Rompi Rompi is in the rhythm or ikat 9/8.

This means it can have a delicious built-in pause.

I count it as 3 sets of 2, then one set of 3.

12 – 12 – 12 – 12(3)

As a dancer, you can count it any way that’s easy for you.

1234 – 12345

or

1234 – 1234pause.

It’s also called a “karsilama”, which can refer to it being a folk dance or that it’s counted in a 9/8 rhythm. And Karsilama translates directly to “welcome”.

DAMN SEXY DANCE MOVE: Opening a gift on the ground

Try this with any full skirt you have. The visual effect is the best when it’s a 10 yard skirt or fuller and you can get a continuous ripple through the skirt.

Rampi Rampi is in the maqam hijaz. The rhythm or usul is aksak.