|At age 4 I started piano lessons. I had to sit on a phone book to reach the
keyboard. In grade school I tried violin, flute and played percussion with the
orchestra. In high school I began Bassoon. My life was centered around
Girl Scouts and young peoples symphony.
While attending California State College in Hayward,I began working with
the San Francisco Boy's Chorus, training and rehearsing them with the SF
Opera. I was also playing Bassoon and training with Robert Weede of the
Metropolitian Opera and then my life was hijacked!!
In 1970 I was playing tenor Shawm in a Renaissance band at the
Northern California Renaissance Faire.
Bal Anat followed us. Their show was amazing. Hilary, who was a member
of Bal Anat and I became friends. After the faire ended, I began my studies
under the mother of our dance, Jamila Salimpour.
I was her Protégé for many years traveling throughout the US teaching her
format. Jamila gave the steps their names and created the finger cymbal
patterns as we know them. She was the first one to actually break down the
technique. I drove up to an hour to her class and took 4 days a week.
Canada with Holiday in Greece and South America with internationally
known Rana & Naim Homaidan.
I worked in San Francisco for 12 years at the Bagdad and Casbah
Nightclubs doing 45 minute shows three times a night, 5 to 7 nights a week.
Holding a degree in Opera and being a symphony Bassoonist for many years
gave me the drive to study the Oud, Mizmar, Riqq and Derbecki. Being a
singer the next step was to study Arabic atUC Berkeley. Before you could
learn a dialect you had to take a year of Classical. Then I was allowed to take
classes in Egyptian, Lebanese and Palestinian dialects.
With much study and practice, in time I played and sang with the musicians
on stage in between my shows. The other two nights I performed at the
Greek Taverna and El Morocco Restaurant. During the day I traveled
teaching classes 5 days a week.
up 5 floors of the dorm. We were the first to learn their music and perform the
Khaligi style of dance in the clubs. I became close friends with the Al Suhaimi
family that came every summer from Dammam. They brought me a "Thobe
Nashel" and I became the first dancer in the U.S. to wear one on stage.
I have dancers from Saginaw to Toledo who come to class. My passion is
coaching the professional dancers and teachers who honor me traveling
from Alaska, Calif, Michigan, Nebraska, NY, Ohio, Texas and even Finland.
Festival in Holly, which runs from the middle of August to the end of Sept.
I play the Oud and Mizmar and we all play drum & sing in Arabic.
I have dedicated my life to raising the level of this art. Through my work with
the Arab American National Museum and ACCESS, the Arabic Cultural
Center in Dearborn, I am able to help educate all ages through my Lecture
Demonstration along with many other Middle Eastern Scholars.