Ma*Shuqa’s Rhythm Workout Series for Dancers & Drummers
Experience the Fun, Intellectual Challenge, and Benefits of Learning Middle Eastern Rhythms & Dance An approach that turns the tables on the problem so many people face in learning a new art form. Experience the fastest and most direct way to get up and running with a beautiful and highly useful language and system to understand Middle Eastern music and rhythms and the art of Oriental dance in performance. You will learn key concepts of music theory and structure, along with a method of dance creation that makes it easier than you ever imagined to improvise and dance with finger cymbals. Ma*Shuqa has refined this approach over more than 40 years, distilling the step-by-step system that works for dancers.

(More info - Diva Intensive Retreat June 23 – 25, 2017 and events at Ma*Shuqa’s dance studio at

Ma*Shuqa’s Rhythm Workout I for Dancers and Drummers*

Finger Cymbals and Dance Workshop (followed by Potluck Party) Saturday, March 25, 2017 3:00-5:00 pm $20 (or class card fee)
Ma*Shuqa’s Dance Studio, 15651 Camino Del Cerro, Los Gatos, CA USA 95032
(408) 356-9473 No pre-registration required

Workshop followed by Free 5:30 pm Potluck Hafla & Viewing Party Concerts from Middle East Music and Dance Camp, Mendocino, CA – enjoy listening, watching, and dancing to concert performances – get up and dance

Coordinating Finger Cymbals, Music, and Dance Choreography
With workshop notes By Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan ©
This workshop gives dancers skills and techniques for playing finger cymbals as they dance. Workshop topics include:
 Zil playing styles and sounds: tips and techniques to play evenly, increase dexterity and speed
 Ma*Shuqa Method notation - Zil patterns, combinations and variations
 Coordinating finger cymbal playing with dance: 3 Ways to play finger cymbals: Rhythmically, Melodically, and as Embellishment to dance
 Middle Eastern Rhythms and cymbal patterns: Zeffah, Baladi, Wahidah, Fellahi, Maqsum, Libi, Karachi, Ayub, Moroccan 2/4, Masmoudi, Samai
 Learn how to match musicality and phrases to over 25 music pieces
(Send an email to if you wish to receive Calendar of Dance Events information)

Find the keys to performance success with finger cymbals.  Learn an easy method and technique for playing finger cymbals and improvising dance to live music. Once you master the intricate and captivating interaction between what you understand and how you move, you unlock the power of your own performance potential - and will enjoy dancing even more.

* This Workshop is different than the last Finger Cymbal Workshop - different rhythms

* Drummers are welcome to attend - Ma*Shuqa Method notation handouts are useful for learning Middle Eastern rhythms.

* This workshop includes instruction in Middle Eastern rhythms, provides basic and alternatives finger cymbal patterns, and the opportunity to hear and play finger cymbals with music.

*Rhythm Workout 2 Workshop April 29, 2017 features other rhythms: Bamby, Saedi, Soot Al Shami, Masmoudi Kabir, Mellow Masmoudi, Murraba  (See more info below)

*Rhythm Workout 3 Workshop, May 13, 2017 feature Drum Solo Patterns and Riffs for instruction and practice in performing live improvised drum solos. (See more info below)

Ma*Shuqa's Rhythm Workout 2 for Dancers and Drummers - a finger cymbal and dance workshop, Saturday, April 29, 2017 3 - 5 p.m. $20 - Party at 5:30 p.m.- followed by a Potluck Hafla Party   $20.  Ma*Shuqa's Dance Studio, 15651 Camino Del Cerro, Los Gatos, CA 95032 (408) 356-9473

Coordinating Finger Cymbals, Music, and Dance Choreography with Ma*Shuqa Method workshop notes (with rhythms for drum, zil patterns, and dance movement) Workshop topics: Rhythms Bamby, Saedi, Samai, Soot Al Shami, Masmoudi Kabir, Mellow Masmoudi, Murraba

Ma*Shuqa’s Rhythm Workout II for Dancers & Drummers - Rhythms Finger Cymbals and Dance Workshop (followed by Potluck Party) Saturday, April 29, 2017 3:00 - 5:00 pm Workshop fee $20 (or class card) Ma*Shuqa’s Studio, 15651 Camino Del Cerro, Los Gatos, CA USA 95032 (408) 356-9473
Workshop followed by (Free 5:30 pm Potluck Hafla Party) – enjoy listening – get up and dance

Coordinating Finger Cymbals, Music, and Dance Choreography
With workshop notes By Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan ©
This workshop gives dancers and drummers an introduction to unique rhythms for drum, zils, and dance.
 Middle Eastern Rhythms and cymbal patterns: Bamby, Saedi/Saudi, Samai, Soot Al Shami, Masmoudi Kabir, Mellow Masmoudi, Murraba
 Learn how to match musicality and phrases to exciting music pieces
 Workshop notes include: rhythms for drum, zils patterns, and dance movement
 Ma*Shuqa Method notation - Zil patterns, combinations and variations
 Coordinating finger cymbal playing with dance: 3 Ways to play finger cymbals: Rhythmically, Melodically, and as Embellishment to dance

Rhythm Workout 2 for Dancers and Drummers followed by "free" Potluck Party Hafla at 5:30 pm hosted by Ma*Shuqa and Carl

Ma*Shuqa's Rhythm Workout 3 for Dancers and Drummers - Drum Solo Riffs and Dance Workshop, Saturday, May 13, 2017 3:00-5:00 pm $40/ $45 at the door Workshop taught by Ma*Shuqa Murjan  and Reda Darwish, Egyptian percussionist. Workshop topics: Middle Eastern Drum Rhythms and Riffs, Hagalla pattern, structure of drum solos, musicality of rhythms and riffs, special secrets to dancing improvisationally to a live drum solo, includes Ma*Shuqa Method workshop notes, and practice improvising to fabulous drum solos

Rhythm Workout 3 for Dancers and Drummers 

Ma*Shuqa’s Rhythm Workout III for Dancers & Drummers – Drum Solo Drum Solo Riffs & Dance Workshop with Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan and  Egyptian percussionist Reda Darwish

Saturday, May 13, 2017 3:00 – 5:00 pm Workshop fee $40/$45 at the door Ma*Shuqa’s Studio, 15651 Camino Del Cerro, Los Gatos, CA USA 95032 (408) 356-9473 Coordinating Drum Solos & Dance Workshop by Ma*Shuqa With workshop notes By Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan © This workshop gives dancers skills and techniques for dancing Drum Solos.  Middle Eastern Drum Rhythms and Riffs  Learn how to match drum riff musicality and phrases to exciting drum rhythms and riffs  Understand the rhythms and structure of drum solos,  Learn typical drum riffs, Hagala rhythm pattern,  Secrets to dance improvisationally to a live drum solo  Workshop notes with rhythms and riffs  Practice improvising to fabulous drum solos

(Note: Arabian Passion LIVE CD Release Party CANCELLED due to scheduling conflicts.)

(Note: CD Release Party for Arabian Passion CANCELLED)

Arabian Passion Live Music CD produced by Nazir Latouf

 Review by Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan

Looking for a CD with music recorded live – so your next performance at a party or restaurant sounds like you have your own professional band? The Arabian Passion Live is the CD you have been seeking because the recording brings you the essence of great musicians coming together playing spontaneously and collaboratively as they would for live shows. Recorded live, but with minimal editing to make the music crystal clear. Truly a global collaboration with graphics and Arabic font produced by Mohammad Latouf in Syria. This music is reminiscent of and captures the feel of improvised dancing to live music at the Bagdad and Casbah nightclubs in San Francisco, CA. Young dancers who missed the “Golden Era of Broadway Nightclub music and dance” – have the opportunity to experience that same feeling of collaborating with and dancing to live bands at an exhilarating nightclub show. This CD is perfect for bringing your own band with you for the next gig.

Nazir Latouf: Oud, vocals
Reda Darwish: doumbek, percussion
Emad Mazyad: riq, percussion
Muhaned Al Wir: keyboard

Track 1: Kul El Banat (Egyptian: All the Girls Love You) The piece opens with a soulful solo oud – a beautiful Mawwal (improvisational music and/or singing) for undulations. Then, Nazir begins to sing accented by the band in chorus for a lovely 4/4 piece.
A nice brief doumbeq solo leads back into a keyboard section with great dynamic accents. Another moderate tempo drum solo section again leads into the band and Nazir's solo singing. Lovely zaghareets add authenticity to this piece. Love that the doumbeq is featured for brief drum solos leading to another chorus of Kul El Banat. Nice zaghareet at the end generates excitement for the qafla finale.

Track 2: Min Jurd (Lebanese modern song: A place between the valley and the mountain). This song is great for debke dancing – complete with keyboard sounding like a davul drum and musicians shouting accents. Zaghreets again complement the piece. Dancers could consider this music for a nice cane dance. Or, this piece could be danced as a duet with a female and male dancer. Nice Maqsum 4/4, and 2/4 Ayub rhythms in this piece. Consider a leading a line dance at a party – a great opportunity for audience participation.

Track 3: Ana Fe Sukren (Syrian by Sabah Fakhri: I am doubly drunk from looking at your eyes) (note that Track 3 and 4 pieces are reversed on the recording - Track 3 is Ana Fe Sukren). Nice oud entrance and keyboard with a slow gentle start and solo singing by Nazir. Dance with all of the dynamics and depth mirroring nuances and changes in the musical quality by dancing with undulations and dramatic pauses. As Nazir sings “La, la, la = no, no, no” – i.e.: Why am I so taken with your beautiful eyes?) the music then moves into a keyboard kanun section. Returning to Nazir’s singing the piece picks up speed with a 4/4 Maqsum rhythm, then moves into a 6/8 rhythm, and on to a Chife Telli rhythm. Ya Habibi… Nazir sings soulfully in the Mawwal style. : I envision this piece being performed with dance dynamics mirroring the nuances and musicality of the song, enhanced with undulations and dramatic pauses - creating taraab. The piece picks up pace and the chorus of musicians sings together returning to the 4/4 Maqsum rhythm. Lots of opportunity for dynamic dancing to match the masterful vocalization in this piece; e.g. overlay dance movements with undulations with shimmies. Nazir has an amazing voice and this piece gives him the opportunity to extend and embellish notes – much like the great Egyptian singer Oum Kulthum did when performing in concert.

Track 4 Wala Mara (Lebanese: We have never been together before even once.) Lilting musical phrases at the beginning set the Mis en scene/“set the stage” as an opening which begins with the typical 4 measures of Maqsum. Keyboard and oud share developmental maqam passages of the music. Perhaps a piece for a troupe entrance – as this piece has a nice moderate tempo. Nazir sings the main song accompanied during some sections by the other musicians – just as they would perform together on stage at a club. This is a favorite Lebanese song and thus it is likely that Lebanese people in the audience will want to join in and sing. Wonderful pacing and the lilting phrases make this a good piece of music for dancing with a veil with flowing movement and graceful movements into poses. The zaghareets create an imaginary dancer performing with the band. Dance teachers will find this a piece has the perfect tempo for teaching dance combinations.

Track 5: Ya Saad (Jordanian: Speaking to my friend Saad, “I wish you could see this girl.”) This is a song with upbeat Maqsum rhythm – a very joyful song. You can picture the musicians all smiling and relating to each other and the audience as they play this song. I’m reminded of long ago nights at the nightclubs in Cairo with the keyboard as a featured “new” instrument sounding like a clarinet, saxophone, accordion, and even a trumpet - played with syncopated accents.

Track 6: Omrik Ma Habetini (composed by Nazir – Syrian – You Never Loved Me – a song that came from a comment one day to his daughter). Nazir composed this song one day and captured the typical Middle Eastern family interaction of “What, don’t you love me?” – said in a teasing fashion indicating a deeply shared loving relationship. This Syrian song has a very different feel from the Nawari rhythm and the musical accents. Great interplay of instrumentation in a melodic piece. This song should be danced with the Khaleegy footwork, the rocking motions, shoulder accents, and also the step-drop movement styling that come from Debke dance.

Track 7: Helet Layali (by singer Fareed Al Atrash – Good Nights Came) This fast tempo piece begins with keyboard and percussion. The zaghareet leads us into a “call and answer” section between the instruments. Then, Nazir begins singing with a lovely clear vocal – later joined by the other musicians. This piece provides teachers with the opportunity to instruct students in developing improvised dance by learning about the structure of maqams, and Middle Eastern musical structure and styling – this is a complex piece full of the richness of Arabic musicality. A wonderful opportunity for dancers to layer shimmies over movements and dance combinations with quick steps; then respond to the changing tempo – to perfect their skills as they develop authentic improvised performance. I have memories, visions, and experience of performances at the Bagdad and the Casbah nightclubs on Broadway Street in San Francisco, CA, USA – where dancers performed long 45 minute sets because the sets were composed of several pieces from different Middle Eastern cultures – to appeal to the diverse Middle Eastern audiences.

Track 8: La Tiwadani (Yemenese song: made popular by a Jordanian singer. Don’t Tell me Goodbye). Khaleegy rhythm with oud in lead and the keyboard providing backup fill-in and mirrored melody. Dancers, this a good opportunity to listen to the improvisational nature of this music as the musicians “riff” on the maqam – in addition to playing in the structure of the “call and answer” as well as embellishing the melody with their instrumentation. Dancers should be sure to include movements which mirror some of these embellishments and musical accents. Performing to this music requires listening and dance expertise to be able to dance improvisationally to match the musicality.

Tracks 9 and 10 are recorded as a single piece of music which makes this music an ideal set for a special party performance or wedding reception show. Track 9 Rush Rush Hobek, and the Mawwal (Syrian: My Beautiful One - Please Sprinkle Your Love All Over) Track 10: Yam Al Mahrama (Syrian sung by Shadi Jameel of Aleppo: The Girl with the Handkerchief – at the head of the debke line dance – Nazir sings to that girl. Nazir sings a fine rendition of the “Mawwal style” of singing in this piece. This song speaks to “love that is all encompassing and everlasting”. Nazir’s vocal quality is so clear you can begin to learn Arabic when you listen and dance to this music. A nice moderate tempo Maqsum that perks up at times with a faster pacing, and adds a vocal chorus too. This piece would be great as a moderate tempo piece for veil dancing and/or floor dancing and/or a balancing act in the midst of a show.

Nice piece for a party with many different musical solos creating interest. Dancers who only know, watch, and perform in short 5 minute festival stage shows may think this music is long, boring, or without dynamics; however, professionals who perform in clubs will love this piece and the album as it reproduces the longer shows we danced a nightclubs with live bands. This is a good challenge for the advanced dancer to move synchronously with Nazir’s singing – dramatically undulating and moving with his dynamic vocals. Perform to this subtle but dynamic music with back bends, undulations, stomach rolls and flutters as you would in a small performance venue like a nightclub show. This piece includes debke if you wish to include a debke line dance in your performance – making this a perfect piece for a wedding reception.

The Arabian Passion LIVE CD is a unique recording as it gives the listener the opportunity to enjoy historical visions of the performances at the Bagdad and the Casbah nightclubs on Broadway Street in San Francisco, CA, USA during the 1970’s and 1980’s. Dancers performed long 45 minute sets because the sets were composed of several pieces from different Middle Eastern cultures – to appeal to the diverse Middle Eastern audiences. This CD contains Arabic music from a variety of Middle Eastern cultures: Syrian, Yemenese, and Jordanian songs; as well as many different rhythms: Khaliji, Maqsum, Ayub, and Nawari. Listening to this music is like being in the audience at the nightclubs and captures the essence of great live performance. If you are a teacher who was fortunate to have experienced the nightclub dance scene, this CD is presents the opportunity to share that history and feeling with your students. The more I listen to this CD, the more I find to enjoy, appreciate, and dance to - and I guarantee this will become your favorite music for performance gigs and teaching.

Nazir Latouf came to the U.S. in 1979. In Syria while in the military, he played Syrian music on the weekends. There was a military music band, and he joined them for a while until 1973, until the war. He traveled to Jordan and played in festivals with famous singers such as Mohammed Kapari, Mofuq Bahjet, dancer Kahraman, and other well known entertainers from Jordan, Iraq, and Egypt. In Iraq, he played accordion at the nightclubs in Baghdad and Basra. Then traveled on to Kuwait, where for four years he played at a restaurant called Lulut Marzook. He played for famous singers: Sabah, as well as Mahmoud Hamdi and Asmat Rashid. One of Faza Ahmed's many husbands, who was a comedian, worked with this band in the theatre. He also traveled to Libya and Lebanon to play.

Currently Nazir is teaching private oud classes, and co-teaching a course series entitled “Inside the Music” – an in-depth study the music, meaning, rhythms, and dance interpretation of classic Egyptian pieces - with Amina Goodyear and Susu Pampanin. Arabian Passion Band plays at El Morocco Restaurant in Pleasant Hill, CA and at Al Masri Egyptian restaurant in San Francisco, CA
Contact Nazir Latouf at
Order this CD through Sausan Academy website

Author Bio
Ma*Shuqa Mira Murjan has been performing, teaching, and coaching for over 40 years. Ma*Shuqa has performed with Nazir Latouf and Arabian Passion Band in the San Francisco Bay Area (CA) for many years. Her Ma*Shuqa Method gives dancers a structure for developing improvised choreography while performing with individualized styling. Her workshop is perfect for teachers and dancers who want to enhance performance dynamics and styling She has authored many articles on aspects of professionalism and performance in Middle Eastern dance. As a dance photographer – what she sees through the camera lens reflects a dancer’s professionalism. Her husband, Carl Sermon is well known for his festival and performance photography of Oriental dancers. Ma*Shuqa and her husband Carl work together to provide artistic direction and performance photography for photo sessions with Oriental dancers. See their work in The Belly Dance Chronicles magazine, The e-zine, and at