Behind the Scenes; Recording 'Sabriye Miye Miye'

Music has always been one of the main reasons that I love Middle Eastern Dance so much.  I love music, especially live music and I'm a total nerd about, Middle Eastern Music, it's sub-genres, theory, history etc.  So it has long been a dream of mine to record my own album for dance. 

Arranger and kanoun maestro Ahmed at the controls 

Arranger and kanoun maestro Ahmed at the controls 

Last fall when I was dancing in Tunis I finally had the perfect opportunity fall into my lap when one of the guys from my band introduced me to a production company.  There I found an arranger who I totally trusted with my vision for what I wanted the album to sound like.  I explained that I love the fullness of old recordings, of large orchestras but also wanted the clean sound that comes with modern recordings.  The arranger totally got my point and simply said 'just tell me which songs you want and I'll fix it for you'.  

Mounir (tambourine player) messing around at the keyboard while actual keyboard player Amir laughs :) 

Mounir (tambourine player) messing around at the keyboard while actual keyboard player Amir laughs :) 

 

Choosing the songs became a challenge, since there are so many amazing songs and only so much time.  But finally I narrowed it down to twelve tracks including a new entrance composition I had composed for me when I was working in Egypt.  Then I made the mistake of reaching out to friends on Facebook to see if people would prefer songs with lyrics or without.  The answer I got was an overwhelming BOTH!  All of a sudden my twelve tracks turned into 20 since I included two versions, one with lyrics and one instrumental, of 8 of the songs.  

The violin section: Mohamed, Otelo and Samir. 

The violin section: Mohamed, Otelo and Samir. 

The following weeks I spent sometimes up to eight hours a day in the studio which was a mixture of totally thrilling and completely dull.  It was thrilling seeing the amount of musician come in, string players, flute, drummers, keyboard, kanoun, nay, the singer, the chours; the thought of the fullness of sound it would produce was great.  However, at times the repetitiveness and tediousness combined with constant cigaret smoking made it boring and toxic! After a while I secluded myself in a smoke free room where I could hear the music but not have to breath in the smoke.  Once in a while I would just run in the studio to make a comment like 'don't use that sound on the keyboard' or 'wait, make sure you repeat that verse'. 

At the end of the day when all was said and done I can say that I'm truly happy with the end product and proud to give it the title 'Sabriye Miye Miye' which means 100% Sabriye.  The phrase started as a nickname back stage by the very musician who helped me find the studio and arranger and it felt like an obvious choice for the title; the album has some of my favorite songs recorded just the way I like them!

To get your copy click here.  
And here is a little sound sample 

Posted on June 1, 2015 .