Belly Dance to the Music of Americanistan!
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Formal Reviews
Written for Other Publications
Updated 2//12/07

Review of Live at Luna CD, published in Jareeda Magazine, Jan/Feb 2007, "... For anyone who loves vintage middle eastern dance music, this CD is a delight..." 

Excerpts of Live at Luna as Reviewed by Oberon for The Belly Dancer Magazine, Winter 2007. "... acoustic music, authentically presented - creating the spiritually rich feel of a tribal desert gathering..."

 

Eugene Weekly, Music Section, "Stocking Stuffers from Planet Eugene," 12/21/06 : "Americanistan, Live at Luna. Eugene's favorite world music collective scores again with a scintillating survey of dance music with roots in Turkey, Israel, Egypt and nearby regions. It's best encountered in close proximity to bouncing bellies, but the CD-only experience is one of the most entrancing I heard in 2006."--Brett Campbell

Eugene Weekly Music Page, 9/28/06 -- "Americanistan has become a staple of the Eugene music scene, known for delicate, haunting melodies as well as spicy, sultry grooves, perfect for belly rolls. This acoustic ensemble has been collecting and perfecting world music for fifteen years, focusing on traditions originating from the Middle East and Mediterranean and collaborating with some of the region's most talented dancers. Their latest CD, Live at Luna, is an opportunity for listeners to sample several of Americanistan's performances at the club over the past year. They celebrate the release of their fifth CD with a concert and belly dance performance at Luna on Sept. 30.

None of the members of Americanistan are Middle Eastern by birth, but their mission to bring the beauty of acoustic world music to Eugene fuels their ability to respectfully and skillfully create a hybrid library of songs that educate, inspire and entrance. Those who have been to an Americanistan show know that their music is designed to move bodies and evoke the whimsical atmosphere of far away places and exotic climates. The five member group (sadly, they lost member Ishaq Judd in July) includes two former belly dancers and has a reputation in the Northwest as one of the most skilled ensembles available to support belly dance performances. They work with several local troupes as well as touring performers, and their CD release party will feature Razia, Elena Villa and Samar. Their live show is a lush audiovisual feast of glittering costumes as well as layers of original and traditional compositions performed by experienced and passionate musicians.

Come be moved at the Americanistan CD release party, 9 pm Saturday, Sept. 30 at Luna. $7." — Adrienne van der Valk

 
Review of Tribalation! CD by Sabine, published in the Belly Dancer Magazine, Spring of 2006.
 
Review of Show with Razia & Elena Villa at Luna Jazz Club, 3/11/06. Published in Jareeda Magazine, Spring of 2006.
 
 
Eugene Weekly: "If dance is your thing, check out Americanistan, performing music inspired by Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cultures. Specializing in bellydance music, the group uses ethnic instruments, lavish costumes and several languages to create music both slow and sensual and lively and upbeat."
--EW, Music for Shopping, by Vanessa Salvia, 12/1/05 issue
 
Review of Mosaic CD by Yasmina for The Joy of Belly Dancing, 2003
 
Review of Mosaic CD by Yasmela for The Gilded Serpent, 2003
 
Reviews of Mosaic & Journey East CDs by The Eugene Weekly, 2003.
 
Review of Live at the WOW CD by Taj of Zaghareet Magazine, 2000.

Excerpts from "Mosaic by Americanistan"
 Reviewed by Sharina for Zaghareet Magazine
July/August 2004

"Mosaic is a dynamic new CD from Americanistan... The CD has 17 tracks, each very danceable in its own right, and also short enough so they can be combined into a full-length routine...
 
There's something here for everyone, no matter what your dance style is,k and they're all great for just listening as well...
 
I really love this CD and have been listening to it over and over again... there are some old favorites as well as many original songs by the band, with lots or mood changes and lively arrangements... I can't wait to hear more from Americanistan!

Musical Offerings from Americanistan
by Elena Villa

(Originally Printed in Jareeda Magazine, April/May 2004)
Americanistan is not the name of a distant land but a group of musicians who make their home in the Pacific Northwest town of Eugene, Oregon and whose creative vision has been warmed by the musical traditions of the sunny Mediterranean, the Middle East, and West Asia. As their name seems to imply, this group respectfully honors the traditions and cultures they borrow from while remaining honest about their position as "westerners" interpreting them from afar. Click here to read more.

Americanistan's MOSAIC
a Triumph of Mood Spectrum
by Saqra
 
Originally published in The Belly Dancer Magazine, April 2004.

Americanistan Band, out of Eugene, OR, have a wonderfully warm and traditionally ethnic sound featuring kanun, harmonium, and ney, as well as ethereal silver flute and even some really gorgeous harp in the case of the "Dodi Li" cut on the wonderful new CD titled "MOSAIC." Their exceptional percussion section presents dumbek, tambourine, and frame drum for a full and strong musical heartbeat.

MOSAIC is comprised of wonderful lively upbeat pieces, two strong drum solos full of lots of clear accents and a depth of tones, and some of the incredible slow pieces for which the band is becoming so well known. This time they even threw in an original Spanish fusion piece loosely based on parts of Malaguenia!
 
It is all a wonderful range of styles from sensuously earthy power-tribal, to mysterious and exotic ethnic, to downright perky cabaret bellygram music!

In fact, this CD has the most original pieces of any of their previous
dance CDs (Americanistan - primarily tribal, Live at the WOW - primarily traditional tunes, Journey East - meditation/spiritual music, Mosaic - primarily original dance music), and several of these original tunes are in the distinctively passionate and mysterious chant style that I personally adore.
 
Not since John Bilezekjian's version of "Jamillah" have I found music with the intensity and passionate phrasin demonstrated in (especially) "Inanna" and several other cuts on MOSAIC. Absolutely gorgeous.

The tracks are clean and studio produced. There is a bit of touchy heavy bass on a few tracks that will make you turn down any stereo bass assist, but otherwise the depth in production values is there. Great for dancing and great for listening.

The music is primarily recorded in shorter versions of each song to help in cutting and pasting for dance routines,
 
and total length is over 65 minutes, so there is a lot to choose from.

This is the most powerful and versatile CD we have seen from Americanistan so far showing a much larger span of mood that previously presented,
 
and I believe it will be a complete joy to create my dances with in the future. Distinctive. Powerful. Dramatic. And just plain delightful.