Belly Dance to the Music of Americanistan!
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Click here to read formal reviews written for publications such as Eugene Weekly, Jareeda Magazine, Belly Dancer Magazine, and others, updated 2/12/07
Click here for Dancing to Live Music Workshop Reviews, posted 11/14/06
All of the reviews below were unsolicited (Thanks, everyone!), updated 07/05/08

Dunyah & Omar
Dunyah & Omar
UPDATED 07/05/09:
"Greetings Denise and Americanistan,
Just a quick note to thank you for your support of the World Beat Festival!   I hope you enjoyed performing at the Amphitheater and the Showcase stage and Africa!...... as much as your audience enjoyed your  performances. We got great feedback from your new fans!
Have a wonderful summer."
Marisa Barrios Newnam
Entertainment Chair
Salem World Beat Festival
"Your music came off beautifully in KING LEAR. Thank you very very much for the use of it." Judith Roberts, Artistic Director, Lane Community College production of King Lear, Oct. 4-20, 2007.
From Greece: First, I would like to send you my congratulations for your work. The music I have heard from the samples you have on your website is excellent!...  there are song verses for "Uskudar" (in Greek, probably in Turkish, too) because it is traditional in the Aegean area. Actually, your version is one of the best elaborated I have ever heard.
Best wishes,

The program (History's Greatest Love Affairs: Song of Solomon -
)  is posted and I would like to compliment everyone involved in making these samples from Americanistan available - the musicianship and recording quality were very satisfying to work with. I would actually appreciate any opportunity to work with you and your music on future projects such as this if it might be of interest to you folks.
Best regards,
Ed Kliman, Publisher,
   "Written, musical and electronic communications
       for a changing World...."
"Thank you so much for an amazing workshop!! We all had so much fun and  learned so much! You've instilled in my students a real love and  appreciation for dancing to live music... It was so exhilarating dancing to live music  again, especially yours. Thank you for that. What a wonderful day! :o)  We'd really like to do it again...
  Keep the amazing music coming, we really love dancing to it!--Julie Wolfsong, instructor

"Dear Dunyah and Omar,
I wanted to thank you so much for the wonderful workshop on Saturday. To see and hear the music live was a fantastic experience. It has been a fantastic journey for me... it has been a learning process in appreciation of Middle Eastern music for me. I had never been exposed to it before and it was very foreign to my ears at first. I have grown to love it and your music has been one key to appreciating it. " --Lynn Seiders, workshop participant
" searching for music I've found that the quality of what Americanistan is creating down there is really quite outstanding.  The drumming, for example, is fascinating to listen to -- the intricate variations in rhythms and the nuances of timbre.  Quite often other CDs of Middle Eastern music reveal everything on first hearing, but yours always offer something fresh to discover.  Keep up the good work."   -- Marie Carr, Documentary Filmmaker, Whitehorse, Yukon

"Dunyah, I had a chance to finally listen to your music. You guys are really very talented as you can imagine I listen to a lot of music and I'm impressed with yours."
Michael Redman, Managing Director,
From the July 22, 2004 edition of the Eugene Weekly, pg. 22: "Globalization has its disadvantages, but one upside is how it's made it possible for Westerners to study and perform the music of Asia and other lands... Eugene... boasts a number of groups who study and perform music of ancient cultures, and two of the most prominent are playing at Cafe Paradiso this month... local Middle Eastern band Americanistan, featuring Mediterranean music played on zither, harmonium, flute, bagpipes, harp and drums."
From Sabura, past winner BellyDancer USA, after a recent show: "I LOVED dancing with you all, and hope to do it again, soon." --Sabura

Thank you for the beautiful and excellent accompaniment to my dance
Saturday.  During the slow dance segment Omar's vocals helped create a
mystical, sacred dance atmosphere.  I look forward to hearing you play
again. Best wishes, Monique Monet.

From Dondi, Bellydance Superstar: "You really made Eugene a nice venue...the music and singing you brought was fabulous. Thank you!"  Dondi

From Marisa, owner of Radio Bastet, Internet Radio Station: Your music is absolutely entrancing! Many blessings and shimmy on!

From Lola, instructor & performer, Eugene, on the Belly Dance Superstars show: "You guys were great, and as much as I enjoyed the Superstars, I enjoyed your segment just as much.  In fact, maybe even more as the beautifully skilled, gorgeously costumed and young & pretty dancers don't have the quality of soul that Elena [Villa] has... Still, the whole show was really exciting, and Sabine [guest dancer in the show] did beautifully too.  All in all, a thrilling performance."

From Manon, instructor & performer, Seattle: "Dancing with you Friday night at Cafe Paradiso was a beautiful experience. Thank you for including me in the show and for sharing your gifts.

Your sound is rich and colorful. I look forward to hearing you again real soon.

May your sounds always be a source of inspiration."

From Beryl Brinkman, Afghan Benefit Coordinator, West Cascade Peace Corps Association: "Thank you so much... You played superbly and contributed to the magic and the atmosphere..Words cannot express my gratefulness for your contribution... The Benefit on March 7, 2004 was a success largely because of the generosity of people like you."

From Shakira, international instructor and performer: I want to thank you SO MUCH for the copy of your new cd, “Mosaic!” I LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT!!! It sounds so ‘real!’ Real acoustic instruments and chanting…thank *goodness* it’s such a good recording, because your music is transporting! There is such depth to your music! And variety, too. I am pushing it to all my students!! If I could afford it, I would commission my own whole cd from you. With profound admiration, --Shakira

From Delilah, the fabulous internationally-known performer and instructor: "Dear Americanistan, Thanks so much for the Beautiful music and tribute! I dig it! Steve and I have both been enjoying listening to your music. Hope you can come up and do the Fremont Fair with us!"

From Saqra, international workshop leader, performer, and producer of Saqra's Showcase: I have so much trouble reviewing you guys because you truly are so damn good. You have a very powerful, very original sound and it is hard to communicate that! You and Wayne have a spark between you (might explain that marriage thing <giggle>) that is very profoundly intimate, and THAT is the true core of the band. I love you guys, and I feel really lucky to get to work with you at all!

Mezdulene, dancer, promoter, and editor of Jareeda Magazine, had this to say about the Mosaic CD: "I got the CD. Thanks so much; I just love it. Every song calls me to dance.

I danced to it for hours the other day at my studio. ... It's really an excellent CD, well balanced with fast, slow, drum solos and rhythms. I know it will sell well.

I danced to Queen Mez, Inanna and Raks Siretzi [tracks from the Mosaic CD] at my show on Saturday, and got so much wonderful feedback on my dance, my costume and the music...

Anyway, thanks so much for the inspiration. I really look forward to dancing live in Feb.

Love and Light, Mezdulene"

At the recent "Dance Away the Night" show at Foolscap Books: "Your music was so pretty, it was like there was gold dust floating in the air. That's why we were all so quiet (in the audience)."--Annie O'Dean.

From Shakira, international workshop instructor and performer: "Ahlan, Dunyah! ...Nadia Gamal and others have said, 'When I want to judge a dancer, I don’t look at her fast work. I want to see how she dances a taxim.' It occurs to me that the same could be said of a band. Lots of so-so bands can play a decent, happy fast little song, a “Ya Mustapha” or something. But a taxim!!! It was obvious from your taxims how ‘steeped’ in the music you all are, and it was also obvious that there was a lot of soul/spirit in your group. It’s definitely there to be felt, heard and seen. I want to find a way to come back to Eugene someday for at least 2 reasons. If I have to talk someone into having me teach a master class in taxims or the ‘improving drum solos’ class, *just* so I can dance some of each with your band. ;-)"

--Shakira, Columbus, Ohio

"Just wanted to let you know how much we enjoyed ourselves listening to you all last night at the Cozmic Pizza stage. It was truly a pleasure, and we look forward to attending more of your performances in the future. A special thanks to Wayine for taking the time to teach me some doumbek technics after the performance. As a struggling beginner, I really appreciated his kind attention. After perusing your wonderful web pages, I notice that you occasionally offer rhythm classes. I hope you'll schedule another in the near future that will include drumming. I'll definitely sign up! Please add our names and email address to your newsletter database. We look forward very much to hearing about your performances and upcoming events."

Sherry and Gary Grove,Cottage Grove:
"I so appreciate how you've structured and worded your website. It overflows with a loving heart(s)... Dancing for my first time at Showcase this year was such a highlight for me and I had a blast. You made any nerves I had just melt away... Again, great job on the web site and I wish you every success!"
Kathryn Hopper
Colton, Oregon
Feedback from a happy member of the Corvallis Belly Dance Performance Guild, after a recent show at the Old World Deli:
"Incredible, I can hardly believe a week has gone by already. I really enjoyed dancing with you. I feel like I took another step forward in my ability and comfort level of performing. Thank you so much!"  I.J. Reed
Americanistan played at Saqra's New Year's Eve Party in Kent, WA: "So it's about 4 am and I'm still ecstatic from a fabulous night! Thanks so much... I can't tell you how thrilled we are. And Saqra, thanks for a fabulous and incredible evening... I have to say this has been the best new years celebration I've ever had! I am so pleased with my dance set. What a great dynamic we had tonight! Hope I get to see you again soon. Thanks again for a wonderful evening!!!"
Much Love,

"It was a genuine pleasure to do what we could for you, and of course, truly fabulous to dance to your music! We are spoiled for all else, we are convinced...We have gotten many glowing comments from dancers about dancing to your band - you definitely have a fan base out here." --Jennifer Heiden, Gypsy Sisters, Sisters, Oregon.

Our two new CDs, "Mosaic" and "Journey East" were reviewed in the 12/18/03 edition of the Eugene Weekly by Brett Campbell, World Music critic. We were one of only five regional bands to be featured in his annual article on "Homegrown Music." Click here to read.

Review of a recent "Rhythms and Zills" class by Dunyah (Denise) & Wayne:

"I want to tell you also that I had a total "zill-dance" breakthrough that evening. I have tried to zill so many times and I simply couldn't dance and zill at the same time... I got it! Something clicked and it became a lot easier. I would definitely take another class from you!"
"I had a FABULOUS class last night ... Dunya taught us. It was so awesome! I love her energy and her stories and she brought her husband for the music! WOW that was amazing---because we could start out with a movement really slow and slowly increase speed as we worked on it.....then really speed it up at the end. It was great fun! "
Sally Havicus
Student Dancer
Excerpt from Justine's article for the Gilded Serpent, titled "Justine and her Plant Visit Saqra's Annual Showcase:" "Walking, sidling through the crowded area, I saw, and heard the best sound possible. Americanistan is a local live dance band from Eugene whose spirited and enticing Middle Eastern music inspires dancers throughout the Northwest...
What an incredible sensory delight to see so many confident and accomplished dancers inspired by the sound of live drums. Juggling my big green Europhbia, I got out my camera and settled down to enjoy myself... A live band is such a treat, watching the dancers and band interact with each other brings a belly dance event to life. Amazing to watch and hear the drummers adjust to each dancers needs and capabilities." Read the full article, plus much more at
Review of Workshops "Rhythms" and "Dancing to Live Music", taught by Dunya & Omar (Denise & Wayne) of Americanistan, and informal show sponsored by Jareeda Magazine: "WOW! Sunday was just incredible. Dunya and Wayne are definitely the shamans of Americanistan. So much healing energy was flowing through me when I danced.
My husband fell in love with you guys. He doesn't like the modern techno stuff that lots of the girls are dancing to now, thinks your music is THE BEST!!!
Thank you so very very much!!! I hope to do this again. It would be nice to do it every couple of months. I got a kick out of some of our elderly customers (at the restaurant) that were just entranced by the whole thing.
I can't wait for the new CD!"
Love and hugs,
Editor of Jareeda Magazine
"Music and dance are international languages of peace and healing."
Americanistan played before the show, and provided musical accompanimant for the play "Lysistrata," part of a world-wide anti-war event on 03/03/03. Here is what the director had to say, "You were all brilliant. We could not, absolutely could not, have done the play without you. The music was absolutely fantastic. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."
--Sparky Roberts, Director

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