This week’s song for belly dance class is “El Baladi Youkal” by Hossam Ramzy and Rafat Miso.

The word baladi – also spelled beladi, balady or belady in case you’re searching online – has several meanings.

  • Beladi can mean “homestyle” or “homegrown”, or from one’s hometown.
  • It can be used a slur to describe something that is not “sophisticated” or “citified”
  • It is also the common name for the 4/4 rhythm Masmoudi Sahir.
  • Beladi is a stye of music from Egypt.
  • It can also refer to the style of dance you do to beladi music.

Whew… that’s a lot of heavy lifting for one word!!

The title of this week’s piece, “El Baladi Youkal” is what the produce sellers in Egypt call out in the markets to tell people their fruit and vegetables are homegrown, as explained by Ramzy in this article. I’ve been told by some Egyptian musician friends that it can also be a cheeky way of saying the local girls are pretty!

This song isn’t a typical, traditional beladi piece in that it does not follow the usual “beladi progression” in all it’s parts. And it has another big difference – a saxophone! A rebab, accordion or ney would be more typical choices for the opening taqsim.  In the late 60’s and forward there was much experimenting with western instruments in Egyptian music and we see that at play in this piece.

So here’s this week’s music! “El Baladi Youkal” by Rafat Miso and Hossam Ramzy.

Some skills from this week’s class: