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Facts about Americanistan
Updated 04/01/12

Americanistan Nov. 2009
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Photo by Jennie Harriman. Click for larger view.

Americanistan 2008. Photo by Tracy Stephens
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Click for larger image

Americanistan Nov. 2009
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Photo by Jennie Harriman. Click for larger view.

Americanistan Instruments
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Photo by Jennie Harriman. Click for larger image.

Americanistan 2009. Photo by Jeff Obermann
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Click to view larger

Americanistan 2008. Photo by Tracy Stephens
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Click for larger image

Americanistan 2008. Click to enlarge
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l-r: Wayne "Omar," Janet Naylor, Dunya. Photo by J. Obermann

Americanistan 2008
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Click to enlarge. Photo by J. Obermann

Wayne "Omar" & Dunya of Americanistan
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Click to enlarge. Photo by J. Obermann

Wayne "Omar" & Dunya of Americanistan
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Click to enlarge.

Who:

  • Americanistan. Core members are Wayne "Omar" Gilbertson, Janet Naylor, and Dunya (Denise Gilbertson), .The name Americanistan was formed by taking the suffix -istan, which means "my country" and adding it to American. We honor the traditions that inspire our music while acknowledging that we are American artists adding our own interpretations to the music.

What:

  • World music group inspired by the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and beyond. We perform with many different acoustic ethnic instruments from Egypt, Turkey, India, & Europe. We often include dance performances and special guest musicians in our shows.
  • Sound samples of the instruments we play are available here.
  • Music clips from our CDs are available. More at CDBaby1, CDBaby2,  and CDBaby3.
When:
Where:
  • Portland, Roseburg, Corvallis, Sutherlin, Bend, Florence, Yachats, Salem, even Eugene! Occasionally we travel out of state to Seattle, Boise, or the SF Bay Area in California.
Why:
  • For fame and fortune? No, but we really love creating the music and working with dancers.
Achievements:
  • The group has produced five CDs of original and traditional music: Live at Luna, Tribalation!, Live at the WOW, Journey East, and Mosaic. See Music page for details.
  • Performed 5 times at the 2007 & 2011 Eugene Celebration
  • Performed 3 times at the 2007 & 2011 Oregon Country Fair
  • Released two new albums in 2006: Tribalation! and Live at Luna
  • Closed the Holiday Market (final performance of the season) for 12 consecutive years.
  • Featured on the cover of June 2005 (Music Issue) edition of Jareeda Magazine, an international journal of belly dance.
  • Appeared in May 2005 at the Bend and Redmond Public Libraries as part of the Community Reading Series, presenting music and dance of Afghanistan.
  • A clip from the Mosaic CD was featured in a documentary program produced by AR-TV and broadcast in the United Kingdom in March 2005.
  • Voted one of the best performances at the Eugene World Rhythm Festival in June 2004.
  • April 2004 opened for the Belly Dance Super Stars' Eugene show on their national tour.
  •  Successful New Year's Eve Show at Cafe Paradiso on 12/31/04, the first all-Middle Eastern show with live music and dancing on New Year's in Eugene!
  • Performed every month at Cafe Paradiso for over a year, hosting numerous guest dancers and musicians, both local and from out of town.
  • Pre-show concert, musical accompaniment and sound effects for reading of "Lysistrata," directed by Sparky Roberts. 3/3/03, MacDonald Theatre, Eugene.

Press Clippings & Reviews
 
  • See our Reviews page for unsolicited reviews of some of our performances
  • Click here to read formal reviews written for other publications such as Eugene Weeklyl, Register Guard, Jareeda Magazine, Zaghareet Magazine, Gilded Serpent ezine, etc.
 
CD Reviews
 
Excerpts from a review of "Mosaic" by Yasmina for the Joy of Belly Dancing, one of the top websites for information related to belly dance:
 
"I’m listening to Mosaic as I’m writing this review and I still love it. I really like the combination of the instruments used in Americanistan’s music. The kanun is one of my favorites, the harmonium was refreshing and works well with the kanun, I could have listened to the harp all day and my other favorite instrument the dumbek was a driving force to the music. It’s hard not to tap your feet or drum on the steering wheel when a dumbek is being played." Read the entire review at:
http://www.joyofbellydancing.com/musicreview2.htm#Mosaic
 
Excerpts from a review of "Mosaic" by Yasmela for The Gilded Serpent, another top website:
"The music group Americanistan, based in Eugene, Oregon, is well known to audiences throughout the Northwest. The group has been steadily building a following throughout Oregon and Washington and has just released its first major CD - “Mosaic”.

Mosaic is well-recorded and contains a variety of short-to-medium length rhythmical pieces... Americanistan plays well together and its strength emanates through its authentic interpretation of these classic Middle-Eastern tunes."  Read the whole review at: http://www.gildedserpent.com/articles25/yasmelareviewamericd.htm

Excerpts from a review of Mosaic & Journey East by Brett Campbell of the Eugene Weekly on 12/18/03: "Two evocative new discs by popular local ensemble Americanistan, whom you may have heard at Holiday Market or performing with bellydancers around town--offer a choice of moods. First, inspired by music from Turkey, Israel, Morocco, and neighboring regions, "Mosaic" is a harmonium- and percussioni-driven album whose mix of original and traditional tunes can accompany dance routines--you can practically see the bellies bouncing.

"Journey East" is all original, acoustic music intended to accompany yoga, dance or movement meditation, inspired by full moon gatherings held in various churches, gardens, and other sacred spaces... The musicians... deploy a rich array of sounds--harmonium, kanoon, dumbek and various other percussion, flutes, mandocello, occasional vocal chants, and more in albums that should appeal to fans of world music." Click here to read the entire review.

Excerpts from a review of Live at the WOW by  Zaghareet Magazine: "Talk about a CD for everyone. Live at the WOW is it! It is a must-have for lovers of the tribal style and also for people who prefer acoustic sounds over synthesized music. Read the complete review .

Excerpts from "Musical Offerings by Americanistan," by Elena Villa:
(Originally Printed in Jareeda Magazine, April/May 2004)
Americanistan is not the name of a distant land but a group of musicians who make their home in the Pacific Northwest town of Eugene, Oregon and whose creative vision has been warmed by the musical traditions of the sunny Mediterranean, the Middle East, and West Asia. As their name seems to imply, this group respectfully honors the traditions and cultures they borrow from while remaining honest about their position as "westerners" interpreting them from afar.  Read the review.