The Making of “Layali Detroit”

The Making of “Layali Detroit”

Hello, friends! It’s been awhile. If you didn’t know, I have retired from performing Middle Eastern Dance in 2019, but I still continue to publish music for dance. After my first CD with Moda Music in Detroit, we decided to do another one, but the pandemic got in the way. It took us 7 years to get this out, but I feel that it was worth the extra time. Just as we thought we were finished, we found an incredible singer, Sawsan Najar, who was on Arab Idol. So, we had to redo some tracks, but it was the right decision. In this blog post, I will discuss each track, the background information that I know, and links to Spotify where you can listen. The album is available on 20 platforms, so if Spotify isn’t your thing, just search “Katya Faris”, and it will come up. It’s in Arabic, so below I will put the translations.

It’s always been important to me to educate others about cultures from the Middle East, specifically Arab, and on this album the focus was on digging up music that others may not have heard of before. Also, to dust off some oldies but goodies and give them a more rhythmic feel. The goal was to make a bellydance album like they had back in the 1970’s, with tracks that you could make a full routine with, and had a bellydancer on the front. Our first album, “Raqsat Katya”, had a lot of drum solos, so we wanted to do more melodies on this album.

If you love the music, please dance to it, and make a video! I will publish it on my website, and my YouTube channel.

Here are the tracks in English, and then we will discuss each one:

Track #1: Sahara City

This song, “Sahara City”, was a standard classic for all bellydancers in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s. However, there are only 3 good recorded versions out there! One of the goals for this album was to recreate this song, but add a more modern percussive base. Apparently, in Egypt there was a resort area named after this song that had a lot of entertainment. This track is a “mejance”, or an opening track of a bellydancer’s set.

Track #2: Ya Dalaa Dalaa

This song, “Ya Dalaa Dalaa”, is a famous song by Lebanese artist, Sabah, composed by Farid Al Atrache. It is special to me, because this was the first song that I danced to live at a wedding with my now music producer, Moda Music. So fun!! I love dancing to this, the crowd loves it, too!! Sawsan’s vocals on this are silky smooth! This song is a “second song” in a bellydancer’s set, meaning, after the entrance song, a taqsim, then the second song.

Track #3: Gannilli Shway Shway

“Gannili Shway Shway”, “Sing to Me Softly”, is perhaps one of the only happy Umm Kulthum songs that she sang. For me it is nostalgic of my days dancing at the Parthenon Greek restaurant in Broad Ripple, Indianapolis, Indiana, back in the 90’s. Whenever I played it, the guys in the kitchen would come out and start singing! Beautiful song, and Nidal Sami’s vocals are perfect on this! This song is a “second song” in a bellydancer’s set.

Track #4: Tunisian Nights

This track called “Tunisian Nights” on Layali Detroit is another favorite of mine! It came from an Egyptian film from the 1960’s, and not many have heard it. It’s so fun to dance to, light and airy, then in the middle is a gorgeous taqsim. Keyboardist Murad Tayim makes it super special. This is a “mejance”, or opening song in a bellydancer’s set. It could also be used alone, then with a drum solo after it, for a shorter set.

Track #5: Ya Msarni

Ya Msharni, “Sleepless Nights”, is one of the most beautiful songs of Umm Kulthm. This track is exquisite, and speaks of longing for a lover, and the sleepless nights that ensue. Sung by the impeccable Sawsan Najar, her voice is brilliant, like a diamond on this song. This song is a “second song” in a bellydancer’s set.

Track #6: Qariat Al Finjan

One of the most famous songs sung by Abdel Halim Hafez, “Qariat Al Finjan”, “The Coffee Cup Reader”, was a favorite of mine to perform. Everyone loved it, Arabic or not. The lyrics speak of a man longing for love, searching the world over, and the fear of never receiving it. This is a “mejance”, or entrance piece for a bellydancer’s set.

Track #7: Ahla Tariq

This is my favorite track on the album, “Ahla Tariq”, “The Beautiful Trip”. It comes from a movie, and has been very popular over the years. We have decided to give it a bit of an upgrade, and add more percussion. This piece is great for dancers, because of the different sections of the music. It makes it very interesting to dance to, plus there is a Saidi section! This song is a “mejance’, or an opening track, for a bellydancer’s set. It could also be used alone for bellydance competitions.

Track #8: Ya Dalaa Dalaa, Instrumental

This track is Ya Dalaa Dalaa, “Hey Flirt”, in instrumental form, which is great for dance troupes or non-Arabic speaking crowds! This is a “second track” for a bellydancer’s set.

Track #9: Layali Detroit

Both drum solos on “Layali Detroit” are from world class percussionist, Roger Kashou, and the first one is the album title track.
So fun to dance to! Drum solos should come last in a bellydancer’s set.

Track #10: Motor City Shimmy

For the final track on the new album we have the second drum solo by Roger Kashou, “Motor City Shimmy”. This is a great track for a variety of purposes, you could even do sword with it! Drum solos should come last in a bellydancer’s set.

Do you prefer iTunes, Apple Music, or Amazon? Here’s the links to purchase the new album, “Layali Detroit”, in both stores!


Apple Music

Amazon Music