Mary Ellen Donald - Middle Eastern Musician and Teacher
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Beautiful and Exciting Music for Belly Dance Performance &
Just Good Listening ---

On-line sales only within the U.S.
For orders outside of the U.S. we recommend that you visit MAQAM at http://www.maqam.com/ where all of Mary Ellen Donald’s products are available for purchase.
 
Beautiful and Exciting Music for Belly Dance Performance & Just Good Listening

Gems of the Middle East CD's
These CD's feature Mimi Spencer on qanun (zither) and voice, and Mary Ellen Donald on doumbec and tambourine.  An often recorded instrumentalist, Mimi Spencer made her singing debut as a recorded vocalist in the Gems series, singing in five Middle Eastern languages.

The Gems CD's reflect the rich musical partnership that had developed between Mimi and Mary Ellen as they performed together for over 20 years.  Each CD contains 15 pieces with an ample supply of entrance pieces, slow pieces, drum solos, tip music, and finale music.  The drum solos are hot, uniquely constructed, very danceable, and a perfect length with deep resonant sounds of the djembe bringing to them an African flavor.

Good News for Belly Dancers!
With the use of readily available duplicating technology, you can piece together selections from the Gems CD's in a wide variety of combinations creating all kinds of new dance routines of your choice.  The timing for each piece is noted to help you fulfill the timing needs of your performances.  The advantage of making dance routines with pieces from the Gems CD's is continuity of music, the same band, not a hodgepodge of 3 or 4 different bands thrown together.

Praise for the Gems CD's:

    "This is the best recording of Middle Eastern music I've ever heard, so balanced and clear."
 - Abdallah Kdouh, oudist and singer.

    "Great; that's how the tambourine ought to sound on a recording."
 - Tony Lammam, drummer and tambourinist.

Gems of the Middle East: Belly Dance Favorites from Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and Greece
(released on cassettes, 1999; remastered and issued on CD's, 2002)


Gems of the Middle East CD
Volume I



CD
US $18.00

To hear a song sample,
click on
Listen  

1. Saba Samir 2:40    
2. Lailet Hob 6:17    
3. Hebbina 3:34    
4. Al-Henna 3:28    
5. Norits Karoon Yegav 3:50 Listen  Listen 
6 'Azizah 3:08    
7. Al-'Ataba Ghazzaz 2:02    
8. Toutah 4:14    
9. Alf Lailah wa Lailah 6:03    
10. Hijaz Baladi 1:34    
11. Ya Sitti Ya Khityarah 1:12    
12. Ahwak 4:33    
13. Hani 4:47 Listen  Listen 
14. Hijaz Finale 0.40    
15. Nibtidi Mneen al-Hikaya 3:21    
16. Bint al-Balad 3:16    
17. Hagala Drum Solo 3:04 Listen  Listen 

Gems of the Middle East CD
Volume II


CD
US $18.00

To hear a song sample,
click on
Listen  

1.

Tamrihinna

3:25

   

2.

Laili Ya Layali

7:22

   

3.

Cleopatra

3:01

   

4.

Mazamir

4:08

Listen  Listen 

5.

Spectacular Rhythms Finale

0:40

   

6

Ya Reem Wadi Thaqif

3:23

   

7.

Tafta Hindi

0:34

   

8.

Raghizi Apopse I Kardhia

4:00

Listen  Listen 

9.

Rampi Rampi

2:14

   

10.

Erev Shel Shoshanim

3:46

   

11.

Ya Dala' Dalla'"

6:53

   

12.

Akhud Habibi D'Ana Yamma

3:07

   

13.

Chapkin Chapkin

3:30

   

14.

Sahara City

5:16

   

15.

Chifte-telli Taqsim with Question-Answer Baladi Change

3:03

   

16.

Fakkaruni Finale

0:50

   

17.

Sabroso Drum Solo

3:11

Listen  Listen 

Gems of the Middle East CD Volume III


CD
US $18.00

To hear a song sample,
click on
Listen  

1. Sawwah  8:47  
2. Medley (arranged by Jazayer)
Anta 'Omri
- La Guardienne des Cles
- Ya 'Ain Munayyati
- Al-'Elbi Ya'shaq Kulli Gameel
13:34
  3:52
  2:24
  3:44
  3:34
Listen  Listen 
3. Kapetanaki/Sala Sala   6:40  
4. Princess of Cairo   4:00  
5. Wa D'Ana   5:52  
6 Longa Riyadh 3:24  
7. Andah 'Alaik 7:54  
8. Me Bounatses ke Boforia 2:57  
9. Mavi Mavi 3:00 Listen  Listen 
10. Libi Drum Solo 2:10  

Why you should get the books along with the Gems CD's.

Dancers, your performance can be more powerful if you know the rhythm changes in your music.  Drummers, it is so important to understand the rhythmical structure of the music so that you can play it with authority.  Instrumentalists, your melodies will come alive if you know what rhythms support them.


Gems of the Middle East Books:  A Rhythmical Analysis (1999)
All books in this series are spiral-bound with protective laminated covers, 8 ½ by 11 inches.

In the Gems books, Mary Ellen makes a ground-breaking contribution to Middle Eastern music education by presenting a complete rhythmical analysis for each piece on the corresponding CD's with numerous musical transcriptions of the fancy patterns actually performed on the CD's.

To learn how to play the rhythms mentioned in the rhythmical analysis in the Gems books, we recommend the Middle Eastern Rhythms CD's.  On these CD's, Mary Ellen plays each rhythm for 4-5 minutes on doumbec and tambourine.  We invite you to visit CD's Designed for Extended Practice, where the Middle Eastern Rhythms CD's and Practice Music For Drummers and Dancers are described.

Volume I
This book includes the rhythmical analyses of all the pieces on Volume I of the Gems CD's.  In addition, there is a 25 page autobiographical sketch where Mary Ellen speaks of her blindness, her battles with cancer, her personal, professional, and spiritual life from childhood through December of 1998.  It’s guaranteed to make you laugh and touch your heart.

70 pages, US $25.00

Sample Page from Volume I (pdf file)  Get Adobe Reader logo

Volume 2
This book includes the rhythmical analyses of all the pieces on Volume II of the Gems CD's.

42 pages, US $20.00
Volume 3
This book includes the rhythmical analyses of all the pieces on Volume III of the Gems CD's.

36 pages, US $20.00

To learn how to play the rhythms mentioned in the rhythmical analysis in the Gems books, we recommend the Middle Eastern Rhythms CD's.

For books and CD's in which Mary Ellen gives in-depth presentations on the playing of doumbec, tambourine, tar, and cymbals we invite you to visit Instructional Materials for Doumbec, Tambourine, Tar, Cymbals & Belly Dance.

Encore! Bert's Baladi:  Belly Dance Music
(1979, reissued 2008)

Encore by Bert Baladi - CD

Encore by Bert Baladi - CD back

First issued as an ablum in 1979, co-produced by Bert Balladine, the legendary belly dance instructor and performer and Mary Ellen Donald: re-issued on CD in 2008 by Mary Ellen Donald

Featuring: Three musicians who came over from Egypt to perform at the King Tut exhibit in San Francisco in 1979; full length dance routine; hot drums; electrifying bass solo

Music that meets the needs of those performing traditional Belly Dance and American Tribal Style as well.

Special Note: Music from this CD serves as the major part of the sound track for the DVD, Once More Feeling, a tribute to the legendary belly dance instructor and performer, Bert Balladine also available on this site.

To hear a song sample, please click on 
"Listen" 

 

1.

Treasures:  A complete belly dance routine excerpted from Kariat el Fingan    

2.

Egyptian Drums: Maqsoum, libi, and karachi rhythms.

Listen  

Listen

3.

Samah Al Nobah:  Mizmar with sa'idi rhythm

Listen

Listen

4.

Bert's Baladi:  Heavy baladi percussion with bass guitar solo

Listen 

Listen 

5.

Desert Dance:  Lively village sounds (6/8, 2/4 rhythms) including nay taqsim    

6.

Sama'i Suite:  Sama'i (10/4), fallahi, fast chifte-telli, syncopated 4/4, baladi
transparent gif
   

 One 45 minute, CD
US $15.00

2 Ways to Purchase
 

Tracks 1, 2 and 3 features Mary Ellen Donald on doumbec and tambourine, Yoko Abe on violin and viola, and various Egyptian musicians who traveled to San Francisco to perform with the King Tut Exhibit in 1979.  They are Magdy Helmy on nay (cane flute) and mizmar (reed instrument), Yusef Mostafa on doumbec, and Galal Ktob on tambourine, duff, and mazhar.

Tracks 4, 5 and 6 features Mary Ellen Donald on doumbec, tambourine, and cymbals, Michael Gruber on woodwinds and metal drum, and George Mundy on bass guitar.


Nazir Latouf, popular West Coast musician and composer.

Nazir Latouf: Vocals, Oud, Accordion & Keyboard
Reda Darwish: Percussion
Yousef Mustafa: Tabla
Summer Latouf: Nay
Susu Pampanin: Percussion

Music and lyrics written, arranged & produced by Nazir Latouf except composition of *. 

Arabian Passion (2003)
Arabian Passion
has something for everyone! 
 

 To hear a song sample,
click on
Listen  

 

 

1.

Arabian Passion

Listen 

Listen 

2.

Omrek

Listen 

Listen 

3.

Ah Yazamany

Listen 

Listen 

4.

Takaseem Bayati

   

5.

Al Warwar*

   

6.

Takaseem Hejaz

   

7.

Samai Darej*

   

8.

Saedee in Love

Listen 

Listen 

9.

Fellahi Drum Solo

Listen 

Listen 

10.

Tribal Journey

   

11.

Takaseem Saba

Listen 

Listen   

12.

Raksit Siti* 

Listen 

Listen 

 
   
  Price:  US $15    


Mimi Spencer

Right Where I Want To Be (2001)
M
usic from Egypt, Turkey, Armenia, Greece and the heart of Mimi Spencer,
Qanun Artist
Mimi Spencer: qanun (Middle Eastern zither)
Vince Delgado: riqq (tambourine)
Tom Shader: acoustic bass

Elegant trio rendering impeccably Mimi’s favorite pieces of music, including two originals.

Mary Ellen: “Mimi Spencer, my dear friend and musical colleague for over fifteen years, was a perfectionist, a passionate musician, and a sensitive artist.  All of these qualities shine through her music on this CD.  Mimi was very happy right after its release.  She told me that the actual sound of her qanun was the richest that had ever been recorded of her.  “Right Where I Want To Be” should be right at the top of your list of Middle Eastern music to be added to your collection.”

I could not carry a tune until I was about six years old, and my mother feared I was tone-deaf.  Naturally I became a musician.  After that, I studied classical European music (college music major); Japanese and Korean music and ethnomusicology under Dr. Robert Garfias; classical North Indian music with Dr. Ali Akbar Khan, Shankar Ghosh, Sanjukta Ghosh, Mr. & Mrs. Jnan Prakash Ghosh; and Middle Eastern music with Ishmael, Vince Delgado, Dr. Ali Jihad Racy, Muhammad al-Akkad, Necati
Çelik, Göksel Baktagir, Halil Karaduman, Georges Lammam, to name a few. 
 I’ve also learned much from the many musicians with whom I’ve worked, notably Yusuf Pasha, George and Jad Elias, and George Dabaie.  I’ve recorded CDs with many people including Jazayer (my band), and studio work for Mickey Hart and George Lucas (with composer Larry Rosenthal) among others.  I’ve written five books of musical transcriptions; I am the president of nonprofit Near Eastern Music West, Inc. and I publish a newsletter, The Near Eastern Music Calendar.

I rarely play anything the same way twice.  Usually this is on purpose.
 
 

 To hear a song sample,
click on Listen  

 

 

1.

Ya Msaharni

Listen 

Listen 

2.

Tutah

Listen 

Listen 

3.

Right Where I Want to Be

Listen 

Listen 

4.

Wa Maret al-Ayyam

Listen 

Listen 

5.

Armenian Medley

Listen 

Listen 

6.

Refugee Soul

Listen 

Listen 

7.

Taqasim Nahawand

Listen 

Listen 

8.

Kalimera Ilye

Listen 

Listen 

 

  Price: US $20

Valentine to Eden (1985)
Doug Adams and Light Rain

Doug Adams featured on guitar, violin, recorder, dulcimer, voice, and guero and Mary Ellen Donald on doumbec and tar (wooden frame drum), mazhar and tambourine.

All original compositions by Doug Adams

East West sort of flavor: that is, Western melodic structures and instrumentation and Middle Eastern rhythms and percussion instruments.  Definitely music that invites you to dance or just sit and listen with a smile.

Mary Ellen: “Shortly after the release of “Valentine to Eden”, the Oakland Ballet fell in love with the selection “Tar Marmalade” and decided to include it in their performance repertoire.  They invited Doug and me to play it with them for Friday and Saturday night performances at the famous Paramont Theater in Oakland.  Needless to say, we were thrilled and honored at the prospect of performing at such a prestigious venue.  Then it suddenly hit us that “Tar Marmalade” was an eleven minute improvisation which a duo had choreographed to beat for beat.  There was no way that Doug was going to be able to repeat what he did on the guitar.  The burden fell on my shoulders.  I had to count over one hundred measures in a row of the baladi rhythm, switch to malfouf for a certain number of times and change again, etc.  The pressure of keeping track of all of those measures, I must say, took away some of the thrill of our performance.  And we did it!”

Light Rain’s first album, Dream Dancer, was recorded in 1977 and became an underground hit.  It was embraced by listeners and dancers across the United States and around the world.  Dream Dancer was discovered by the Joffrey Ballet who set a dance to some of its music.  The Joffrey’s dance, also named “Light Rain”, became known as their signature work with audiences demanding to see (and hear) it year after year in the world’s finest theaters.

Light Rain’s music was featured in the Robert Altman movie about the Joffrey Ballet called, “The Company”.

Dream Dancer
 helped set the stage for an avalanche of music labeled “New Age” and later “World Beat”.  Light Rain followed up with their albums Dream Suite (featuring guest artists The Kronos Quartet), and Valentine to Eden.

After a long break from their mid-eastern musical explorations, in 1994 Light Rain burst back into the world-beat arena with the powerful and exotic CD Dark Fire.


Doug Adams: Violin, Guitar, Recorder, Dulcimer, Voice, Guero
De Ann Adams: Finger Cymbals
Darrell Adams: Bass
Mary Ellen Donald: Doumbec, Tar, Mazhar, Tambourine
Laura Roland: English horn, oboe
Joan Jean-Renaud: Cello
Scott Le Vally: Congas, Cabasa, Bell
Rick Phillipp: Cymbals, Chimes, Bells, Vibra Slap
 
 

 To hear a song sample,
click on
Listen  

 

 

1.

Astarte

Listen 

Listen 

2.

Gitana

Listen 

Listen 

3.

Burning Blue

Listen 

Listen 

4.

Amber

Listen 

Listen 

5.

The Eagle

Listen 

Listen 

6.

Tar Marmalade

Listen 

Listen 

7.

Congo Mango

 

  Price:  US $16
     

© Copyright 2009 Mary Ellen Donald  - All Rights Reserved
Page Design & Web Goddess Yolanda - Last Revised: 12/09/08