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Christmas chant

CHRISTMAS EVE! Sun. Dec. 24,  Americanistan & Razia close the Holiday Market for the 6th year. It's a tradition! This was such a fun show. The Market was packed and the crowd was appreciative. We had audience members dancing to the music. Razia's & Leila's dance performances were great. The Slug Queen made an impromptu appearance during our set, too. Photos here.

Nov. 18, Dec. 8, and New Year's Eve! Americanistan and Luminessah Tribal Belly Dancers at Iraila Mediterranean Rustica, Eugene, OR.
 
Sat., Nov. 4, 6:30pm Americanistan with special guest dancers Raven and Carina at the Drift Inn, Yachats, OR.
 
Fri. Oct. 27, 6:30pm. Luminessah and Americanistan at Iraila Mediterranean Rustica,

Sat., Oct. 28. Grand Opening of Mezdulene's Mystical Oasis Studio, Live music with Wayne and Dunyah.
 
Sat., Oct. 14, MEDGE Fall Festival. Dunyah & Lola Powell co-teach "Rhythms and Zills." Live music by Dunyah & Wayne Omar in the evening show. The Strand (Cozmic Pizza), Eugene, OR. The festival was great this year, well-organized, well-attended and lots of fun. A festival highlight was an impromprtu dance performance by 5-year-old Dalia--she really got into it and of course the crowd loved her. Later, she won the first raffle drawing--a whole basket full of hip scarves, jewelry, music, etc. She was in heaven! Wayne and I dedicated our music set in the evening show to peace in the Middle East. Our music was well received and was quite a contrast to all the dancing to taped music in the rest of the show. The show was excellent, highlights for me were Jamara's modern Egyptian solo, Mezdulene's Mystical Oasis troupe, Luminessah Tribal Belly Dance troupe, and more. Actually, everyone was really "on" that night and there was a good mix of styles represented. Lola's and my workshop was well-attended. I was pleased to see so many dancers eager to learn the art of playing zills. Lola presented several challenging combinations of steps and zill patterns and I played the rhythms on the drum. It was fun. Congratulations to MEDGE, the festival just gets better every year. My only complaint is that I didn't win a prize in the raffle this year. I won the Grand Prize the last two years! So I guess it was someone else's turn.

Fri., Oct. 20. 5:15pm. Benefit dinner for Wellsprings Friends School, with live music by Dunyah and Wayne Omar of Americanistan. Morning Glory Cafe, Eugene, OR.
 
Oct. 11. Americanistan performed prelude music and a traditional Muslim song with Maha Khawaja. 5th Anniversary Interfaith Service, First Christian Church, Eugene, OR. Sponsored by Two Rivers Interfaith Ministry. This was an incredible evening. We were honored to present the prelude, which included Wayne Omar's Chant "All is One," Janet on the harp with dumbek accompaniment, Anna Armaiti's vocal with tars, John's flute solo with drum and tambourine, and the entire band playing and singing together for our finale. Later in the program the band joined Maha Khawaja in a traditional Muslim song. There were many presentations of sacred music that night, including Ibrahim Hamide's Call to Prayer, Native American drumming and singing, musicians from the Sikh tradition, a Jewish singer, and others. The theme of the program was Sacred Sound. I am proud that our community has been coming together for these Interfaith worship services for five years now. Heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to the organizers, Siri Khaur, Maha Khawaja and others for their wonderful service.
 
Sat. Sept. 30, "Live at Luna" CD Release Party with Elena Villa, Razia, and the duet Samar. It was a fabulous evening, the dancers were stunning, the music sounded great and there were lots of new faces in the audience, possibly because of the great write-up Eugene Weekly did for us. Thank you Adam and everyone at Luna for being so gracious and hosting us. Luna feels like home nowadays. Luna Jazz Club, Eugene, OR.
 
Sun. Sept. 24. Celebration of Life for Sheik Ishaq Jud, our dear friend and band member. Unity of the Valley, Eugene. A beautiful service, attended by hundreds of friends of Ishaq. Highlights included a recording of Ishaq and John playing a taxim with the band. Luminessah danced to it. When they finished, a little sigh ran throughout the crowd. Ishaq's sister and others spoke so eloquently about his life and who he was. He was a truly loving man and he was a spiritual leader to the Sufi community in Eugene and in the Northwest. It is not easy to say good-bye to his physical being, but so many of us still feel that his spirit is present in a beautiful way.
 
Sat. Sept. 23. Celebrating Iraila Mediterranean Rustica's 3rdAnniversary!!! Live Music and Tribal Belly Dancing
with Americanistan and Luminessah. Eugene, OR.
 
Sat. Sept. 16. International Celebration honoring the 10th Anniversary of the Midlands Library with music of Afghanistan presented by Americanistan. Multicultural presentations throughout the day. Free. 805 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR, (503) 988-5392.
 
 Fri. Sept. 15, Featured dancer Jeannie, with live music by Americanistan, at the MEDGE monthly show, Cozmic Pizza, Eugene, OR.
 
Sat.-Sun Sept. 9-10, Eugene Celebration. We had an awesome time at the Celebration this year. Her Majesty Queen Slugretha, this year's Slug Queen, graciously introduced our show at Saturday Market. The crowd was enthusiastic, Sabine was the Queen of Double Swords (she is amazing) and Luminessah Tribal Belly Dancers wowed the crowd. On Sunday we performed 4 shows with Luminessah, one at the Health & Well-Being Stage and three for the Ambient Stages (translation: street performances) for the Celebration. We had a marvelous time and a great response from everyone. We love working with Luminessah!
 
Sat. Aug. 26. Dunyah & Wayne Omar in a workshop on Dancing to Live Music and Hafla with live music by Americanistan. Sponsored by The High Desert Dance Guild. This was a very fun event, and we received rave reviews for the workshop!
 
Sat. & Sun July 8-9. Americanistan at the Gypsy Stage of the Oregon Country Fair with Tribalation!, Luminessah Tribe and Gypsy Fire Tribal Troupe.
Live music and tribal belly dancing. Click here for more about OCF. See Photos and link to video clip of Salome onstage.
 
Fri. July 7, dusk. Americanistan, Jamara, Luminessah Tribe, Kula Ananda, Leelah and others perform at Zumwalt Campground for Oregon Country Fairgoers.
 
Country Fair Recap: It was a fabulous weekend! The weather was beautiful, not too hot, and the dancers at the Gypsy Caravan Stage were amazing! Outstanding performances by Aziza, Claudia, Sharon Kihara, Salome, Yemaya, Elena Villa, Elizabeth, and more. Man, these are some of the best dancers around. Where else can you go and watch dancers like this in a continuous show, all day long? Also great were tribal troupes Tribalation! Luminessah Tribe, and Gypsy Fire.

Americanistan was scheduled to provide music for the tribal groups, to give the house band a much-needed break. We also do an annual show at the Zumwalt Campground on Friday evening of the Fair, which is always very special, with the lake nearby, the beautiful sunset, moonrise and bonfire.

On Saturday morning we got a call - Kevin Hylton, the drummer for the Gypsy Stage, was very ill, and could Wayne and I fill in for him? Well, of course, we said yes, and soon we were onstage with oud player Ganipati from Santa Cruz, Chris Caswell, kanoon & harp player from N. Calif., and Jeff Rees from Portland, who was in town visiting us for the Fair. Wayne played lead dumbek and I played bass dumbek, Arabic tambourine, muzzhar and tar.

We played for five hours that day, as we were the relief band as well as the house band! My hands and arms were a bit sore, but held up well. What a great experience. It was intense but awesome.

Next day we filled in for a couple of hours after Americanistan's set with Luminessah and Gypsy Fire. They are both awesome troupes! Americanistan's vocalist, Anna Armaiti, also sat in with the house band to sing songs like Miserlou, Zeina, and Lammah Badah. Her voice was a wonderful addition to the already beautiful oud and kanoon.

Wayne and I are very connected in our drumming, as in life (24th wedding anniversay coming up) so we had a blast playing together.

Kevin is on the mend and will fully recover in a day or two. We are sorry that he got ill, so sad for him as he puts in a lot of work setting up the stage and organizing the music, and he missed out on all the fun.

If you have never experienced the Gypsy Stage at OCF, check it out next year! It's the best stage in the Fair, lots of shady seating and the stage itself is large and fabulously decorated. And the dancing and the music are very high quality. It's magical.
 
Sat. July 1, 6:00pm. Dunyah & Wayne Omar of Americanistan perform with Susan and others at Alexander's Greek Cuisine,  214 SE Jackson St, Roseburg, OR

Sun. June 25, 11:30am - 1:00pm. Americanistan, Cira and Troupe Artemis perform at the Amphitheatre Stage of the Salem World Beat Festival.
 
Sun. June 25, 2:45. Americanistan at the Showcase Stage of the  Salem World Beat Festival.
 
Sun June 18, 6:30pm. Americanistan and Luminessah Tribal Belly Dancers at Iraila Mediterranean Rustica, special Father's Day show.
 
Sat June 24, 9pm.  Tribalation! CD Release show. Celebrating the release of our 4th CD, Americanistan, Tribalation!  & Elena Villa at Luna Jazz Club, Eugene, OR.
 
Sat. Apr. 29. Americanistan & Guest Dancers Angelina and Troupe Hipnotic at the Drift Inn, Yachats, OR. 

Fri. Apr. 21 - Sun. Apr. 23. Saqra's Showcase. Showcase was a blast this year, all six band members were able to make it to play for an hour and a half on Saturday afternoon. The highlight of this performance was Wayne Omar's sword duet with Saqra. There wasn't a dry eye in the place - because people were laughing so hard. I hope someone got a picture!Update: See photos here.

Another highlight of this event was introducing our newest CD "Tribalation!" to enthusiastic tribal dancers. We are excited about this new music, check it out on the Music page. We also got a hot new band photo, see it here.

Apr. 15, An Oriental Evening of Music and Dance, hosted by the Florence Dance Guild and featuring Americanistan, Sabine, Tribalation! and others. A wonderful evening of great dancing, lots of diversity in the music, great audience and fantastic venue. We had an awesome time! Florence, OR.

Sat. Apr 1. Workshops & Evening Show in Roseburg, OR: Advanced Drumming Workshop with Wayne "Omar" of Americanistan.  Live music & belly dancing at Alexander's Greek Cuisine, Roseburg, OR. 

Sat. Apr. 8. "Celebration of Friendship: An Evening of Hope," sponsored by the Eugene Mid-East Peace Group. This was a sweet event with music by Americanistan and the Peace Choir. Maha, one of the organizers, joined us to sing several songs in Arabic , and Beth Rose joined us to sing in Hebrew. The food was fabulous and the spirit of the event was uplifting. See EMEPG's website.

 
Wed. Mar. 22, 8pm. The Corvallis Belly Dance Performance Guild (CBDPG) hosts Americanistan in an evening of live music and dance performances. "Thank you so much for last night's performance... everyone had a great time. It's always a treat for the Corvallis Bellydance Performance Guild to have you on our stage." --Carol F., CBDPG Event Coordinator
 
Sat, Mar. 18, 6:30pm. Nooruz (Persian New Year) Celebration with Americanistan and Luminessah Tribe at Iraila Mediterranean Rustica
 
Sat. Mar. 11, 9pm. Americanistan and Razia at Luna Jazz Club.
We had a great time - wonderful audience, and Razia, Elena Villa, Salome and Samar all gave outstanding dance performances. Best Luna show ever! See Gallery Page for photos of these beautiful dancers.
 
Sat. Feb. 25 was a record-setting day for Americanistan. We did three performances in one day, two of them in Portland and one in Eugene. All three shows were awesome, beginning with the North Portland Library at 11am, where we presented a 2-hour program on the music and dance of Afghanistan. We received excellent feedback from participants and  librarians alike. Then we went over to have a Persian feast with our new friends Ali and Ate, whom we met at our first Portland library show the week before. (See blurb below.) They had invited special friends and family members over to share the meal with us. The conversation was delightful, as it was a cultured and international group, the food was delicious and our hosts were most gracious.
 
Then we performed for an hour for more friends from their residence, a large apartment complex in downtown Portland which is home to people of many nationalities. We were joined by a young man who sang songs with us in Arabic. People were dancing and clapping. It was great fun, and we were sorry to have to leave after one hour.
 
We hit the freeway and made it back to Eugene in time for Dinner with Diana, a fund-raiser for Reading in the Rain sponsored by the Eugene Public Library and Cafe Soriah. Diana Abu Jabber, author of the novel Crescent, was in attendance and the turn-out for the dinner was spectacular. We played for a couple of hours, ending the evening with some impromptu dancing by me (Dunyah) and Kelly, one of the servers. I danced while balancing a brass tray topped with a water glass, while Kelly performed a very nice belly dance.
 
After the program, a gentleman approached me to say that he was quite astonished when he looked closely at the band members after hearing us play all evening. "You're Westerners!" he said in amazement. (We were dressed in ethnic clothing .) "How in the world did you learn to play like this?" "Well," I told him, "it's been thirty years since I first began to learn about Middle Eastern music....and I still know only a little..."  
 
Wayne Omar's zurna and mizjiwz pieces were the big hits of the evening, drawing the most applause. It was a very successful event.
 
What a day for Americanistan - over 5 hours of performance and over 200 miles of travel in one day! Next day we were tired but had an intense rehearsal for our Luna show on March 11. Can't stand still!
 
Sat, Feb. 18, Sun, Feb. 19, Sat. Feb.25. Multnomah Public Libraries present Music of Afghanistan with Americanistan in conjunction with Everybody Reads program on "The Kite Runner."  We had a great time doing our first two library shows. At the downtown library we met a wonderful group of Persians. Ali and Ate invited us to their home next week when we come back to Portland for our third library show. Ali told me, "I am moved," touching his heart. "You are creating peace with your music. You are counteracting all the guns. You should play for the United Nations!" And Ate played the frame drum and sang for us in Farsi. Very sweet people, we are so happy to have met them. The crowds at both of our shows were awesome, very interested and attentive.
 
Tues, Feb 14, 6:30pm. Valentine's Day. Tribal Belly Dancers & Americanistan at Iraila Mediterranean Rustica. It was a sweet evening, all the patrons were leaving the restaurant with big smiles on their faces. Delicious food, a warm and inviting atmosphere, beautiful music, and fabulous tribal bellydancing by Luminessah Tribe. A great combination!
 
Feb. 11-12: Wow, what a weekend! Between Mezdulene's Festival and the Dancers Northwest Hafla, we played for 30 belly dancers this weekend. This is the band's personal record. By the time this week is over we will have played for 35 dancers in one week, as there are five dancers in the Tribal Troupe at our Valentine Day gig.
 
I want to get t-shirts for the band that say I played music for thirty-five belly dancers in one week! Or something like that.
 
I realized that what Americanistan actually does is to act as shamans for all of these dancers. They want to dance to our music because they love the thrill of having live music tailored to their dance. What we do is provide a way for dancers to have an experience that takes them out of their everyday reality for a little while. Even if it's only for a few minutes, during the time they are dancing they are elevated into another dimension where everything is more intense, colors are brighter, feelings are stronger. It's this escape from the mundane that keeps dancers coming back for more, not just with us, but every time they dance to a CD too.
 
Americanistan facilitates the experience That is what we do. It all started with Dunyah's love of the dance experience which we now bring to others who want to have that experience too!
 
Sat, Feb. 11.  Mezdulene's Mystical Oasis Belly Dance Festival Evening Show with Melody, Mystical Oasis Dance Company  and live music with Americanistan, Canyonville, OR.
 
Sun, Feb. 12, 2-5pm. Dancers Northwest Hafla with Live Music by Americanistan, Portland, OR.
 
Sat, Jan 21, 6:30pm. Americanistan at Iraila Mediterranean Rustica, Eugene, OR.
 
Sat, Jan 7. Americanistan and Angela Palmer, Deena, Caravan Dancers, Carina, & more!  International  C-Food Market, 1498 Bay St., Florence, OR.
 

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