TO A BEAUTIFUL EVENING OF WORLD CLASS MUSIC AND DANCE WITH RAJAMANI AND HIS
BOUTIQUE MONDSEE ORCHESTRA FEATURING RAQS SHARQI (EASTERN DANCE) BY ALIA
MOHAMED AND LEBANESE SINGER JULIE SLIM.
THE MIDDLE EAST AND INDIA HAVE FOR CENTURIES LURED WESTERNERS TO TRAVEL AND HAVE INSPIRED EUROPE'S ARCHITECTURE, LITERATURE, MATHEMATICS, SCIENCE, FOODS, MUSIC, FASHION AND SPIRITUALITY. THE 19TH CENTURY SAW THE ORIENTALIST PERIOD IN ART. THE FRENCH AND THE BRITISH ORIENTALIST ARTISTS TRAVELED TO EXOTIC LANDS TO CREATE PAINTINGS AS WELL AS FOLKTALES OF THE ORIENT AND TO BRING THEIR OFTEN ROMANTICIZED VIEW OF LIFE IN THESE REGIONS BACK TO THE EUROPEAN WORLD. THESE WERE BEAUTIFUL PAINTINGS MAKING TIME STAND STILL IN AN EXOTIC DISTANT PAST OF COLOR, SPICES, KINGS AND QUEENS, HAREMS, RUGGED MEN, DESERT LANDSCAPES, SNAKE CHARMERS, BEGGERS AND BELLY DANCERS.
THE GAWAZEE (INVADERS OF THE HEART) OF THE MIDDLE EAST WHO ARE OF DOM (GYPSY) ORIGINS WERE INSTRUMENTAL IN SPREADING THE ANCIENT ART FORM OF "RAQS SHARQI" OR "BELLY DANCE" AS IT HAS BECOME KNOWN IN THE WEST.
NO ONE REALLY KNOWS THE ORIGINS TO BELLY DANCE BUT IT HAS BEEN AROUND FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. SOME BELIEVE IT MAY HAVE TRAVELED FROM INDIA THROUGH THE ROMANI (GYPSY) PEOPLE AND OTHERS SAY IT WAS A SCARED DANCE OF FERTILITY RITUALS PRACTICED IN ANCIENT EGYPT AND MESOPOTAMIA OR USED IN BIRTHING RITUALS. YET, THERE HAS BEEN NO SOLID AGREEMENT. THIS HAS KEPT THE DANCE MORE MYSTERIOUS, ALLOWING ARTISTIC CREATIVITY.
RAJAMANI'S MUSIC SPANS THE ORIENTALIST'S VAST CULTURAL REGIONS OF INDIA, MIDDLE EAST, NORTH AFRICA AND GYPSY EUROPE. RAJAMANI AS A NATIVE BRINGS HIS OWN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE OF INDIA AND THE MIDDLE EAST THROUGH HIS MUSIC TO THE WEST.
ALIA MOHAMED WITH HER NATIVE ROOTS BRINGS THE CLASSICAL STYLE OF BELLY DANCE FROM THE 1950'S OFTEN KNOWN AS THE "GOLDEN ERA OF BELLY DANCE". ALIA CHANNELS THIS CLASSIC STYLE CHARACTERIZED BY IMPROVISATION, SIMPLICITY AND GLAMOUR, MESMERIZING CROWDS WORLDWIDE.
JULIE SLIM BRINGS HER BEAUTIFUL VOICE OF LEBANON TO THE STAGE. A SINGER OF ARABIC AND FRENCH SONG.
MONDSEE ORCHESTRA IS RAJAMANI'S BOTIQUE ORCHESTRA WITH ITS MEMBERS BEING HANDPICKED FOR THEIR EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE IN WORLD CULTURE, MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE.
Critics distinguish Rajamani for having redefined Romani music-more commonly known as Gypsy music-by taking it back to its ancient roots in India as well as blending Indian folk and Romani music with Texas traditions.
An Austin World Music award winner,
a nominee of the 2008 US Artist Award and the 2014 nominee of the prestigious
German world music award in the European Charts, Rajamani has toured
internationally and has recorded and performed with artists wide-ranging in
style including Gypsy Kings, Willie Nelson, Edie Brickell, L. Shanker, Eric
Johnson, Paravai Munniamma, Tomasa La Macanita, Jeronimo Maya, Dotschy
Reinhardt from the Django Reinhardt family amongst many other international
artists. He has been a featured artist on the NPR BBC radio amongst numerous
other radio, TV stations and magazines.
Rajamani has lived in the Middle East researching the Dom (Gypsy) communities and their music, as well as studying Arabic music from the Bedouins in the Negev desert. His unique techniques of playing the oud and darbukka are breathtaking.