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


BDTA: Tabla app (review)

Screenshot of the Tabla iPhone app

Sometimes apps can be fun and educational, and the Tabla app by Fredo fits that definition. This onscreen drum also comes with a digital drum pad, finger cymbals and a bellydancer who moves with each beat, as well as full in-app instructions that teach you how to play your iPhone like a real drum.

While the lite (aka free) version gives you only a doum and a tek, the full version allows you to use all five parts of the drum and finger cymbals to play along to your favorite songs on the iPod, or to pick out new rhythms.

Platforms: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

What can I expect to hear? Doum doum tek-a tek doum tek-a tek tek-a…

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

Recommended by Najla? yes

Price: Lite version, free. Full version, $1.99

Where can I get it? Download Tabla on iTunes

PS. What rhythm was that?

BDTA: Find new music with the Radio Fredo app (review)

Belly Dance Tech Academy: Review of Radio Fredo app

Whether we’re professional dancers or just beginning, most of us are constantly on the hunt for new music. Sometimes this can be difficult, whether it’s because of a language barrier (not everyone can read popular Arabic music sites!) or because listening to song samples on iTunes and YouTube is time-consuming.

This is where a radio app can be a dancer’s best friend, introducing you to new music to play at haflas, use for improvisational exercises or build your music library with. While app stores do have reviews, they don’t usually have dancers in mind. In my first app review, I hope to touch on some of the many things that dancers are looking for when they seek out new music.

Radio Fredo

The channels page of the Radio Fredo app

Radio Fredo is a mobile app that gives users access to 20 pre-loaded Arabic internet radio stations. Because the stations are streaming live radio broadcasts, they can occasionally cut out or be interrupted by DJs. While it might pause your jam session at a party, it’s not a major problem because you can just switch to the next station. While Radio Fredo’s instant access to a wide variety music is incredible, it does have one major pitfall if you’re using it as a music discovery tool: no written out song titles/artist info! Most of the stations have websites or desktop platforms that have more song information (and Great Cedars even allows for requests), but these are not accessible from the mobile app. So far, Great Cedars Radio, Musik Oriental and Radio Middle East CA are my favorite channels, perfect for keeping me company on long commutes (and probably helping me get strange looks from my neighbors when I unconsciously start bopping along to the music!).

Platforms: iPhone, iPad, iPod touch

Multi-tasking: Yes, runs in the background while you use other apps. Does not support pause/volume capabilities unless you are on the app screen.

Song titles/artist names: None onscreen. Some channels with DJs do announce song titles, but they can be difficult to understand for non-Arabic speakers.

What can I expect to hear? Pop favorites/Top 40, old classics, remixes. Mostly in Arabic, some French.

What kind of dancers would like this app? Cabaret, Egyptian, Orientale, Lebanese

Recommended by Najla? yes

Price: free

Where can I get it? Download Radio Fredo on iTunes