Review: Arabic Rhythms and Combinations with Tamra-Henna

“Experience the Rhythms of Egypt through Dance with Tamra Henna of LA”

This is a rave review of Tamra-Henna’s DVD, Arabic Rhythms and Combinations

This DVD is a must-have. Tamra Henna has hit a jackpot with this one and it’s worth its weight in gold. Her instruction is thorough and she does everything from both sides and you can always see her whole body clearly. The follow-alongs are also long enough to give you enough practice of each combinations. She does not rush through each combination.

Introduction to Rhythm

This introduction is very thorough and wonderful. It’s so great that she doesn’t just jump into teaching the rhythms and combinations. She explains that masmoudi saghir may also be called beledi which is important.
She goes over dooms, teks, and kas. She even explains measures. It’s so great that she doesn’t assume that people know this musical terminology though many of us dancers do already. Tamra Henna even spoke about stepping on the dum and weight changes coinciding with the dum.
The DVD has awesome visual aids, like the diagram below, so you can see the rhythm while it is being played. This really helps you to internalize the rhythm.

Rhythm Analysis

4 beat rhythms

Maqsoum & Beledi

When she starts the beat analysis, she goes over the rhythms thoroughly and claps them out with you and has Amir Sofi on the table play it slowly while the diagram is on the screen. So helpful!!!
She does two combinations for a slow maqsoum and 2 combos for beledi.
from DVD

Other Rhythms on this DVD:

Wahda- she explains this rhythms very thoroughly and goes through 2 combinations breaking technique down along the way. These combinations are very versatile and can work for your taqsims.
Malfuf- the malfuf section is my favorite, again she gives the helpful tip that malfuf is commonly used in the entrance sections of bellydance songs for those who don’t know already. She does two combinations to this rhythm that I will be using a lot in the entrances to my oriental choreographies. These combinations in particular are very versatile, and I can adapt them to most oriental songs.
Ayoub: this was a nice surprise. Although she does go over what the ZAR is, her ayoub combinations are set to a faster ayoub which is nice. Though I missed masmoudi kabir on this dvd, I loved the ayoub combinations.
Performance: She does an excerpt of Batwanis Beek by Warda, it is just breathtaking.
dvd performance

Important things to note about this DVD:

1) The maqsoum combinations are set to a slow maqsoum and not the fast upbeat maqosum you are used to hearing. She says in the beginning that her combinations are suited for classical music more than they are for pop music.
2) She doesn’t do a warm-up but she does go over posture as seen in the image below.
3) She does go over technique as you go along! Another plus!!!


This DVD is supposed to have a second part to it, but I don’t know if that’s truly happening. I hope that Tamra Henna produces a sequel independently and not with IAMED. I have absolutely no problems with this DVD except that maybe I missed masmoudi kabir but that’s not even a big deal. I will continue to use this DVD and the combinations again and again. This DVD will also inspire you to create your own combinations. This is one of the only combination DVDs out there that is actually useful. It’s set to an Arabic rhythm and not some arbitrary pop song. On other combination DVDs, you may find it hard to lift out the combos and use them. This is not the case here!!
To conclude: Don’t sleep on this DVD! Don’t sleep on Tamra Henna of LA in general.

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Ala Meen by Superstar of Sha’abi Amina

This is a great upbeat egyptian pop song by Amina. This song is available on numerous CDs. Mainly it is available on her 2009 album titled “Ala Meen.” 

I just finished translating it which was great fun. The song definitely has that “independent woman” tone. It has the arabic script (which took me hours to transcribe myself since I couldn’t find the Arabic lyrics online), transliteration and translation. I also added my summary and some linguistic notes. It’s all a great value for just $10. Please consider buying. E-mail for orders. All paypal to

This song is also available on:

Bellydance superstars Vol IV

Superstars of Sha’bi CD


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Gaet men al Gharib

wala gatsh minak?

This is a song by a singer named Mohamed el Helw.

It was redone by Sim Sim el Amir and it appears on an oriental dance CD by Samasem.

This is a translation that I recently completed. I love it, it’s full of so much emotion!!!!!!

My favorite quote from the song is “Abu Rimsh y2tel.” Your eyelashes kill. It fits very powerfully within the context of the song.

If you want my translation, which is in idomatic english, makes perfect sense along with summaries and some linguistic notes, please send me an e-mail at I do charge a small fee because I put my heart and soul into my translations.

Here is the video. Enjoy the wonderful dancing:

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O Ye Father of Light Blood

In Arabic if someone says you have light (not heavy) blood, i.e. dam khafif, it’s an expression that means that someone is loveable and funny.

This is a phrase in Shaabi star Hoda’s song Ashoof Feek Youm, which is a translation done in idiomatic english along with transliteration and Arabic script done available for purchase. She calls her lover, “Abu Dam khafif.” The Father of Light blood? Not. Just a funny loveable guy. For more details purchase the translation. Drop me an e-mail at


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Why Should I pay for song lyrics translation?

Translating is not a trivial thing to do. If it was, the machine translations would be sufficient. Arabic is a very nuanced language and the dialects can be even more confusing. I must add, I am also a native english speaker so my translations are always in idiomatic English. Many translations found online can confuse the  English speaker even more since they do not seem to make sense. I even look for equivalent phrases within the English language and I explain funny phrases in Arabic. It takes me a lot of time and a lot of work, and I charge a very nominal price.

Each translation is done with extreme care and takes me hours, but it is a labor of love because it is my passion.

I’m also a dancer, and I know how frustrated I would be if I didn’t understand what I was dancing to!  So this is why I would like to offer this service. That is also why I want to offer workshops.

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Translation Service Information

I translate songs in all of the Arabic dialects.
Egyptian & Levantine & Gulf Dialect: 15$ per song

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Upcoming Translation Workshops for Dancers

Upcoming Workshops!

Wayed Zeina! A Journey Through Khaleeji Pop Songs 1

Date: TBA

Duration: TBD

Price: $10

The first in a series of workshops on Khaleeji songs.

This workshop will explain some of the linguistic features of the dialect of the Arabian Gulf. We will discuss how this dialect differs from the Egyptian dialect. Three lovely danceable songs will be translated and explained.


Ya Zeinat ad-dunya

Minigulli- Rashed al Majed

3rd song will be a participant’s choice

Deciphering North African Songs 1

Date: TBA

Duration: TBD

Price: $15

The first in a series of workshops on North African songs, this workshop will explain some of the linguistic features of the extremely distinctive dialect of Northern Africa and we will discuss how this culture differs from the Middle Eastern one. We will also discuss Rai music and dancing to it. One Chaabi song from this region will be translated and discussed as well as a Rai song.

Songs used: TBD

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