BDTA: Dum Tek rhythm generator app (review)

screenshots of Dum Tek app

screenshots of Dum Tek app

Wayward Gypsy Studios has really put out something cool with their Dum Tek app for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. In fact, so cool, that after playing with the app for a while, my novice drummer hub-ibi turned to me with a very serious face and said “This…is…awesome.”

So what’s so awesome about Dum Tek? Pretty much everything! The app is a rhythm generator that allows you to practice and learn Middle Eastern rhythms. While there are many rhythm drill MP3s available for practice, the genius of Dum Tek is the “play along” feature that notes just where the dums and teks are hitting, making this an excellent learning tool. You can also adjust the BPM of the rhythm to fit the music you’re working with, making it a much more ME specific practice tool than a metronome (or metronome app!).

screenshot of Dum Tek appPlatforms: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

What can I expect to hear? 31 rhythms and variations (and more promised in future versions)

What kind of dancers would like this app? All kinds of dancers and musicians.

Recommended by Najla? yes

Price: Free!

Where can I get it? Download Dum Tek on iTunes


Kickin’ it old school: 1930s-1950s Arabic pop and swing music (free downloads)

Just came across this gem of a weblink. Free downloads of nearly 100 tracks of Arabic pop and swing music from the 1930s-1950s, thanks to a collector who digitized a collection of records they have.

You can download the songs anytime, or contact the collector for a reasonably priced CD of the collection.

Happy Friday, and happy vintage music!!

Downloads here.

New article on! Imagining Movement: Orientalist Paintings and Photographs of Middle Eastern Dancers

Last fall I was invited by Shira of the venerable Middle Eastern dance website to write an article for her website. After several months of research, writing and revisions, the article went live last night!! Through the lens of art history and colonial history, I explore whether or not Orientalist painters like Jean-Léon Gérôme realistically depicted Middle Eastern dancers, and how photography played a crucial role in the creation of their works.

Jean-Leon Gerome, Dance of the Almeh via Dayton Art Institute








Jean-Léon Gérôme, Dance of the Almeh, 1863

Here’s an image discussed in the piece…to read the article, visit the main article page on Shira’s site.

While you’re there, check out the rest of the great content she has posted, from translations to dance history.

UPDATED: Nebraskan public safety director/ex-police chief calls escort services “fronts for belly dancers…prostitution.” Umm, WTH?!?

UPDATE (3-7-12, 2:45 pm)
Blog post from Tom Casady on the misquotation incident; link to the transcript of his testimony (where the quote was taken from) in the comments of his entry.

UPDATE (3-7-12, 1:53 pm)
The Daily Nebraskan has written a retraction of this quote, but regretfully, it’s only in their print edition, and the PDF, downloadable here.

The original article stands uncorrected, so the error is still on the e-record. See page 2 for the printed retraction.

UPDATE (3-6-12, 8:15 pm)
Via a comment on this blog and email communication to, Tom Casady has confirmed that this is indeed a misquote. Waiting to hear what the Daily Nebraskan has to say on the whole matter.

Original entry, earlier 3-6-12

According to Nebraskan public safety director and ex-police chief Tom Casady, belly dancers are the same as prostitutes, using escort services as fronts for their “services.” In March 5, 2012 Daily Nebraskan News article on sex trafficking and the internet, Casady is quoted as saying:

“Escort services are fronts for erotic dancers, belly dancers, erotic massages and prostitution,” Casady told the Judiciary Committee. They become fronts of human trafficking when force, fraud or coercion enter the mix.

Belly dancers…what do you think? Are we going to let this outrageous and potentially damaging quote stand unchallenged? I encourage you to leave your thoughts in the comments on the article (linked below) and to contact the Daily Nebraskan News and the Lincoln Police department to let them know just how wrong they–and Casady–are about us.

Daily Nebraskan News article

Lincoln Police Department