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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

Hoda

By Justin Hopper
Published June 22, 2007

Sha’bi Chic
Bellydance Superstars

There's always been something particularly immediate and exciting about purpose-defined music—music so far removed from artsy pretense, its facelessness becomes key to its appeal. And so it is with bellydance music. Miles Copeland’s Lord Of The Dance-style troupe, Bellydance Superstars, and its accompanying record label have provided all the serpentine tabla rhythms one could require–but it turns out you can have too much of a good thing, and much of the label’s output has blurred together into something like a more vigorous version of day-spa new age sounds. Enter Hoda, the princess of Egyptian Sha’bi pop music and the newest bellydance superstar to hit U.S. shores. On Sha’bi Chic, Hoda offers pure pop appeal with some serious grooves. Standouts include “Ashoufak Uyoum,” with its techno-inspired builds and drops and call-and-response choruses, and “Kad Hawak,” a mid-tempo R&B-inspired Sha’bi tune as good for the club as the bellydance.