Posts filed under ‘Middle Eastern’

Escape the Doldrums of Winter Via a Trip to Warmer Lands with the Folks at The Beehive During and Enchanting Evening of Music, Dance and Cuisine of the Middle East: February 7th, Tuesday (8:00 p.m. – 12 Midnight)

It may be cold outside, but it will definitely be hot and steamy inside during The Beehive’s Middle Eastern Night. Come on in from the cold and warm up with an exotic evening of  live music, ethnic cuisine and belly dancing, compliments of some of the Boston’s best performers. Feast upon specially prepared Arabic dishes such as Moroccan cigars with lamb filling, mezze platters, and couscous ala Beehive to the globally inspired sounds  of The Pharohs. Udi Joe Kouy-Oumjian and Harry Bedrossian (keyboards), Mal Barsamian (saxophone & clarinet), and Garo Papazian (drums) and their guest Za-Beth (zills), will serenade you with a whole host of Arabic, Mediterranean, Armenian, and Middle Eastern genres.

Topping off the evening will be nationally renown belly dance artist, Phaedra Rose. Dancing since the 1980’s, this highly talented entertainer is known for her sensual style  further enhanced by its distinctive soulful qualities. She will be joined by local colleagues Raquel, Akasha, Amera Cristine, and Neylan. (Check out the video links) So, why not “forget” that its winter for just a little while with an evening of “super hot” Middle Eastern inspired cultural entertainment at Boston’s Beehive.

Phaedra Rose

Event Details:

When: February 7th, Tuesday (8:00 p.m. – Midnight)

       Restaurant & Bar open (5:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.)   

Where: The Beehive (Downtown Boston)

Admission: No cover charge listed

More info:  617-423-0069 

January 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm Leave a comment

Celebrate the Spirit of Greece,Turkey and the Balkans with Authentic Live Music and Tasty Cuisine @ The Sabur Restaurant & Lounge: Saturday Evenings (Starting 9:00 p.m.)

I’m forever searching for local eating establishments in and around the Boston area that offer live ethnic music to go along with their fine cuisine. It’s these multi-dimensional  experiences with world music that stand out as  rather special in my book. Well, I’ve located what looks to be a real gem in this regard, conveniently located no less, right near Davis Square (Somerville). The folks at the Sabur Restaurant & Lounge serve up authentic cuisine from a number of Mediterranean regions including Italy, Greece, Southern France, North Africa, the Balkans, and elsewhere. In addition, on each and every weekend, they step things up a bit with their Kafina Saturdays. Lucky diners can enjoy live world music from Greece, Turkey and the Balkan nations along with their meal. So actually, the ethnic atmosphere  here is not only multi-dimensional but multi-cultural as well.  In addition here at the Sabur, they pay attention to every little last detail of authenticity, right down to the house decor!  Take a look at the positive comments of food critics from The Boston Globe, The  Boston Phoenix , Phantom Gourmet and other local publications. And then? Why not take a little trip to the Mediterranean without ever having to leave Boston at all. 


Menu (Full version)                   

What intrigues me the most with respect to Sabur’s Mediterranean-inspired cuisine is the complex variety of flavors present in many of their individual offerings. Menu selections include  Chardonnay carrot lentil soup, Seared sea scallops with crab polenta cakes, asparagus, moscato, and truffle butter sauce, Slow roasted beet risotto with wild forest mushrooms, parmesan, roasted acorn squash, and honeydew infused honey, Apple. cherry and pistachio strudel with warm caramel and vanilla gelato, and Macedonian wild fig sundae with vanilla gelato, almond frangipane and pomegranate caramel.





Event Details:

When: Saturday evenings (9:00 p.m.)

Where: Sabur Restaurant & Lounge (Somerville)

Admission: No cover charge

More Info: 617-776-7890     

January 23, 2012 at 3:08 am Leave a comment

Experience the Retelling of the Classic Christmas Tale of the Navity in a Whole New Light with the Ahlam Selene Arabic Dancers: December 11th, Sunday @ 7:30 p.m.

Extraordinary dancing, acting, and , of course musicianship is what the Ahlam Selene Dance Company’s  holiday production of the “The Little Drummer Boy” is all about. The Raks Nativity Theatrical Show is a retelling of the biblical tale through the most lovely and elegant art of Raqs Sharqi, commonly known in this culture as belly dance. Although this is the most widely embraced form of Arabic dance among the masses, Ahlam Selene has chosen to combine it with other lesser known forms of Arabic folk dance as well in order to bring audiences a dance showpiece that is especially well suited to effective story telling. In the true spirit of dance theater, each of these genres have been somewhat re-interpreted so as to heighten their dramatic impact upon the audience who is thus presented with a performance filled with emotional intrigue and enchantment, not to mention the added treat of a little humor now and then to lighten the mood.  The show was such a hit last year that 2011’s performance is actually a repeat. Also a repeat is the charity of choice for this year’s benefit event, “Cradles to Crayons“. In 2010, Raks Nativity raised $1,400 to provide the needy youths of Massachusetts with school supplies and other essentials required to afford them a healthy, enriching learning and living environment during childhood that will ultimately serve as a sound basis for a successful adult life. 

The specially featured role of the little drummer boy will be danced and played (with the assistance of fellow percussionists Amira and Alber) by Johara who is not only known for her dance skills but is quite the formidable doumbek artist as well. Imagine dancing and drumming at the same time! In addition to receiving numerous local, national, and international accolades as a performer she has also managed to build quite a versatile career as a choreographer, instructor, and events planner, earning the utmost respect of arts critics everywhere. She is currently the director, producer, and award-winning choreographer of Boston’s Snake Dance Theater Company. Learn more about her many notable accomplishments here.

This year’s additional line-up of talented entertainers includes: Cecilia al-Bahr, Susi GoodBadriya Al-Badi’a, Alaric, Alizah Afet, Qamar, NajmatNepenthe AhlamJemileh Nour, Maia SeleneLee Lynch, Angelo Scott D’Amato, Tricia Hopkins, Johanna Lynn, Aurel D’AgostinoAleksie, Anahit Karyan, and Samira.

Raks Naqtivity’s charitable goal this year is to raise $2,500 for “Cradles to Crayons” and judging from the fabulous success of the show last year, looks to do just that! What better way to usher in the holiday season than with a fabulous spectacle of world music and dance, compliments of the  Ahlam Selene Dance Company.


Event Details:

When: December 11th, Sunday @ 7:30 p.m.

Where: Cambridge YMCA

Tickets: $15.00 (General admission) / $12.00 (Group Admission– 4 or more)

                                        (Online purchase)

More Info:

Contact Nepenthe:

Contact Nadira:

(Area Restaurants)

December 4, 2011 at 11:19 pm Leave a comment

Awaken Your Creative Senses in an Evening of Leading Edge World Fusion with Jazz Artists Eastern Blok: December 7th, Wednesday @ 8:00 p.m.

Innovation! Innovation! Innovation! Such is the musical mantra for popular world fusion jazz ensemble Eastern Blok. This group remains ever ready to outdo themselves by pushing the envelope just a little further with each subsequent performance, often through the employment of unconventional rhythmic patterns and offbeat phrasings. They further challenge themselves by experimenting with music that varies in mood from the intensely lyrical and profoundly emotional to the more animated and light hearted yet electrifying. Their inventive re-interpretations of old standards and innovative original compositions are a by-product of the artful blending of many diverse styles with jazz including classical, Macedonian, Bulgarian, and Serbian folk, Klezmer, rock and a smattering of Middle Eastern flavorings as well. The band members are all formally trained musicians and virtuosos in their own right.  So as one might expect, their music is as distinguished in its complexity as it is technically advanced. Nevertheless however, Eastern Blok takes pride in creating  music that appeals to all types of listeners and that also ultimately continues to stand the test of time. They will tell you that key to their success in this regard lies in the masterful blending of  both classical and jazz genres in a musical setting that is ever evolving yet still highly pleasing to the vast majority of listeners’ ears.



Founded in 2004 by Goran Ivanovic, lead composer of the group, and Doug Rosenberg the band continues to tour nationally, performing at America’s top entertainment venues. The current membership includes Ivanovic on classical guitar, Rosenberg on woodwinds, Matthew Ulery on upright bass, and Michael Caskey on percussion. A major breakthrough in the group’s career came in 2005 when their self-titled debut release “Goran Ivanovic Group” (became Eastern Block in 2006) received a national award for Album of the Year by the publishers of Acoustic Guitar Magazine. More accolades followed that same year when the group’s single entitled “Blacksmith’s Dance” stood out from thousands of other competition entries in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest to make it all the way  to the finalist’s round! They have also been featured on Chicago Public Radio and in 2007 were among the ensembles specially showcased at that city’s World Music Festival, one of the largest musical celebrations of its kind in the US. So, if you’re in the mood to get your creative juices flowing, an evening with world fusion artists Eastern Blok, should definitely be on your “to do” list!


Event Details:

21+ (In some cases minors can attend with an adult and a dinner table reservation – please call and inquire)
When: December 7th, Wednesday @ 8:00 p.m.

Where: Johnny D’s Uptown (Somerville)

Tickets: $12.00  (Online purchase highly recommended – $3.00 fee) (Seating may not be guaranteed– see website for further details) 

                           Dinner/Appetizer  Menu

More Info: 617-776-2004 OR 617-800-9720          


November 28, 2011 at 2:50 am Leave a comment

Lend a Helping Hand to Japan While Enjoying an Afternoon of Top-Notch Belly Dancing: May 22nd, Sunday (3:00 – 5:30 p.m.)

Boston’s belly dancing community is holding a benefit performance for the earthquake/tsunami victims of Japan and you can help. Just come on out to the show where you will enjoy, raffles, refreshment vendors, open participatory dance sessions, and of course … lots and lots of  fantastic belly dance entertainment! All proceeds will benefit the Red Cross for Japan. Performers for the afternoon will include:

Phaedra of Boston – Dancing since 1976, she was a dancer/choreographer for 12 years with the Near East Dance Theatre  which she co-founded. She has performed nation-wide, appeared in videos and on cds, and has also published a teaching book. Once featured in the Legends of Boston photo shoot, she currently teaches in the area. (Read on) (Video)         

Aurel – Known for the expressive musicality present her dance performances, she also enjoys a professional singing career which has led to solo performances  both nationally and abroad. She danced in honor of the opening of Boston’s Intercontinental Hotel and has also appeared at the Arabic Hafli event at Foxwoods Casino. She currently heads the belly dance program at Ancient Art Studios where she teaches and produces shows. (Read on) (Photos)    

Najmat – This Egyptian-style dancer of Brazilian heritage is known for her dramatic style which is highlighted by her note-worthy interpretations of drum solos. Currently teaching in the Boston area, she views the art of Middle Eastern dance as a source of feminine strength and empowerment. (Read on) (Video)  

Mirza Troupe – Representing the World Lebanese Cultural Union, this 25 member male/female troupe consists of both dancers and accompanying drummers. Under the leadership of artistic director/choreographer Shadia Tohme, a former professional dance and teacher for over 35 years, they perform a wide range of folk and contemporary dances from Lebanon, Greece, Egypt, North Africa, and Turkey.  (Read on) (Video)

Jemileh – Like her professional colleague Najmat, she too is noted for a highly emotional dancing style highlighted by note-worthy interpretations of drum solos. Performing and competing since age 12, she now specializes in Arabic and Turkish belly dancing. Her additional interest in the Tribal Fusion genre led to the formation of the local troupe Tribal Storm. A frequent performer at the infamous belly dance mecca, The Middle East Restaurant, she also teaches around the area. (Read on) (Video

Rianna – She has diligently studied a variety of dance genres for over 15 years including, acrobatics, jazz, ballet, Polynesian, Hip Hop, Irish Ceili, and Greek folk. Subsequently, she has managed to blend each and every one into her own unique style of belly dancing which is truly one of a kind. (Read on) (Photos

Alizah Afet – A performer and teacher of Middle Eastern dance for 15 years, she was formally with Goddess Dancing and has also performed with the Blue Moon Zar Gypsies and Big Moves Boston. Visit her very informative website, Belly Dance New England (see previous post) an online magazine listing current Middle Eastern dance happenings and other related local tidbits. As a true enthusiast of local belly dance history, she is the co-producer of a documentary on the subject entitled Aziza!  (Read on – Scroll down page) (Clips from Aziza)

Celia – Though she dances with high energy, this performer is still able to bring a distinctive element of grace to her performance as well. She will entertain you in this rather unique style with the zills (finger symbols, veil, hula hoop, and sword.  She has served as a choreographer for the Bellybeat Dance Company and currently is a regular performer at area restaurants. (Read on) (Video)

Sabaya – (Video)   

Zameena Asmar – (Video)

… and more. All in all, this definitely looks to be a great show for a great cause! 



Event Details:

When: May 22nd, Sunday (3:00 – 5:30 p.m.)

Where: Arlington Elks Lodge

Tickets: $20.00

More Info / Purchase Tickets: 617-642-0999 /

(Area Restaurants)

May 12, 2011 at 3:30 am Leave a comment

Join Klezwoods @ Johnny D’s for First Rate Klezmer Music and a Whole Lot More: May 17th, Tuesday @ 8:00 p.m.

Listen to Klezwoods.

As their name would imply, Klezwoods is indeed a Klezmer ensemble, however, their actual repertoire entails quite a bit more than that. Concentrating on music of the ancient Ottoman Empire characterized by a wide range of cultural, religious, and political influences, the band plays selections originating from Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Israel, and beyond. As one would expect,  much of the music which they perform is of Jewish origin, however, it is often artfully infused with smatterings of other styles and ethnic flavorings including, emo, nu-jazz, reggae, East Coast swing, gypsy, ska, Celtic, bluegrass, rock, groove, and Latin generally in the form of various folk genres further branded with the band’s own contemporary flair. Much of their music is bursting with energy which just begs the audience to get up and dance!  

Despite all of the many ever-present diverse styles within their Klezmer-oriented musical offerings, Klezwoods, being the accomplished world fusion artists they are, manage to blend them all beautifully into one aesthetically pleasing package filled with intense emotion. In keeping with the character of their music, the members of this 11-piece ensemble, consisting of vocals, horns, strings, guitars, woodwinds, percussion, and an accordion, come from diverse backgrounds, and yet are able to perform together effectively as a unit in their very own trademark style. It is this variety of musical personalities that makes this band’s brand of music so unique and intriguing. Klezwood’s performances are further enhanced by the frequent occurrence of improvisational-style solos, designed to display each band member’s individual virtuosic talents. They have taken their show on the road both nationally and internationally and have recorded a cd entitled “Oye Yeah!” It is the band’s ultimate aim to “reinvigorate” the Klezmer genre and they seem to have succeeded with their reputation for creating a fun-filled, party-like atmosphere for audiences wherever they perform. Most importantly, these band mates have fun playing together and sincerely want to share their heartfelt joy with one and all through their music. So, why not come on out and join the party at Johnny D’s! 

Also sharing the stage for the evening, will be another great band, the Underscore Orkestra. This heavily touring group from Portland, Oregon  will be contributing their own special version of Klezmer, Balkan music, gypsy jazz, and swing to the show.


Event Details:

Note: This event may be 21+ (Call for more info) 

When: May 17th, Tuesday @ 8:oo p.m.

Where: Johnny D’s Restaurant & Music Club (Somerville)

Admission: Call for cover charge fees

  Make reservations for dinner and be guaranteed a seat for the show

More Info: 617-776-2004 / Mo (12:30 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.), Tu-Fr (11:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.), Sa-Su (9:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m.) 

May 5, 2011 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

Join the Zamir Chorale of Boston and Their Very Special Guests in a Celebratory Musical Union of Arabic and Jewish Cultures: April 10th, Sunday (2:00 – 4:00 p.m.)

Weekend still open? Here’s a last-minute entertainment suggestion. 

Middle East Harmonies – A Musical Dialogue Between Arab & Israeli Cultures brings together 4 premier musical entities all of which are dedicated to a common all-important performance goal- that of the promotion of world peace and understanding through the wonderful inspirational power of music. Professor Joshua Jacobson of Northeastern University, creator of this honorable event, brings together his Zamir Chorale of Boston, founding members of the once world renown Arab/Jewish-Israeli instrumental ensemble Bustan Abraham, distinguished Turkish vocal soloist Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, the youthful Boston City Singers, and featured soloist Mireille Tannous in a performance to commemorate a special marriage of Israeli and Arabic music traditions. Represented here are two indeed distinct cultures who have sadly known much conflict between each other for centuries, however, on this glorious afternoon in April, will peacefully co-exist in “perfect harmony” with each other.  A related symposium on of the bridging of cultural differences through music, but in a broader context, will take place on the following Monday. 


A little bit about the performers:

Zamir Chorale of  Boston (Professor Joshua Jacobson – artistic director) – Since 1969 this highly revered Boston area choral ensemble has been advancing  the values of Jewish culture not only through performance but various forms of literature and educational outreach as well. Thus far they have recorded 21 cds and developed quite a following outside of the local area, both nationally and overseas in Israel and Europe. 

 Bustan Abraham (1991-2003) – Standing as a symbol of effective collaboration between Arab and Jewish people, this infamous instrumental ensemble began as the duo of Israeli-Arab, Taiseer Elias and American-Israeli Jew, Miguel Herstein. The group membership then expanded to as many as seven players who very successfully toured Europe and North America, recorded 6 cds, and were heard on the radio worldwide. The creation of Israeli concert promoter/musician Avshalom Farjun, this ensemble was known for its renditions of highly evolved compositions laced with a variety of artfully orchestrated musical elements and improvisational sequences.You can view the concert program for the afternoon here. This looks to be quite an event, not only from a musical entertainment perspective but from a culturally educational one, as well. 

Bustan Abraham in Earlier Days


 Mehmet Sanlikol (vocal soloist) – Professor Sanlikol holds a doctorate in music from New England Conservatory and has enjoyed a highly successful and varied career, both locally and internationally, as a performer, recording artist, composer, teacher, author, and producer. He is heavily involved with musical projects that demonstrate effective performance partnerships amongst musicians of different cultures in an atmosphere of peace and goodwill. He co-founded the highly respected local ensemble Dunya,  performers of contemporary Turkish music placed often times in a world fusion setting. He also produced a cd involving a first time collaboration of Greek and Turkish musicians from Cyprus which was so successful that he was featured on both NPR and PRI radio programs.


Zamir Chorale of Boston






You can view the concert program for the afternoon here. This looks to be quite an event, not only from a musical entertainment perspective but from a culturally educational one, as well.

Event Details:

When: April 10th, Sunday (2:00 – 4:00 p.m.)

Where: Sanders Theatre (Harvard Square)

Tickets: $54.00, $36.00, $18.00 (General Admission) / $10.00 (Students), $5.00 (Seniors 65+ )

More Info: 617-244-6333 OR Visit the website

(Area Restaurants)


April 8, 2011 at 1:45 am Leave a comment

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