Photo of Shira



PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

A Review Of

Sirocco Volume 1

by Sirocco




This music gives me "that tribal feeling." (Referring to the Bal Anat and FatChance flavors of tribal.) It puts me in the mood to wear coins and natural fibers instead of beads and sequins.

The band Sirocco, based in California, consists of two musicians, Armando and Sulyman. They play traditional instruments from the Middle East and North Africa. The original release of this music entered the market in 1979. Back then, Sirocco was playing for the early pioneers of the California dance style now known worldwide as "tribal", the era of Bal Anat, which was years before FatChanceBellyDance appeared on the scene. This music belongs in the collection of every dancer who appreciates American Tribal Style and Bal Anat flavored tribal.

Sirocco Volume 1 Album Cover



Fact Sheet

Musical Style Folkloric sound
Instruments Folk instruments
Dance Style Best Suited To... American Tribal Style, American Classic
Recommended Dance Skill Level All levels
Length of Music 39:50
Number of Songs 12
Packaging Liner notes not informative




The band Sirocco is a duet consisting of Sulyman el-Coyote, who plays the melody instruments, and Armando Mafufo, who plays the percussion. Both versatile musicans play a number of traditional instruments, and vary the instruments they use on the different songs to create a package in which each song has a unique sound. Because of their use of traditional instruments, the album contains a strong folkloric flavor.

In the "Country Dance" medley, both the opening and closing songs have strong, predictable drum beats and easy-to-follow melody lines, which would make them comfortable music for beginners to practice with at home or learn with in class. However, I wouldn't encourage beginners to use this music for performing unless they cut it, because both songs are long (3:55 and 4:18, respectively), and beginners do best with music no longer than about 3 minutes.



Songs Included

Song Title



Music Clip?



Country Dance: medium-speed song

3:55 Improvised Yes Not applicable Played on mizmar. Improvisation based on a song from a North African album called Le Fluit Oriental.

Country Dance: Insaba

4:37   Yes Not applicable Played on arghoul, an instrument with a drone. Begins slow, gradually speeds up. Conveys a sense of power that would be very effective for either sword balancing or slow undulations building into fast dancing.
Country Dance: Ney Solo 3:29 Improvised No Not applicable Possible candidate for floor work or standing undulations.

Country Dance: Drum Solo

0:37 Improvised No Not applicable  
Country Dance: medium-speed song 4:18   No Not applicable Played on mizmar. Finale to the medley.
Simple Solo 1:51 Improvised No Not applicable Exciting drum solo.
Mastom Mastom: Mastom Mastom 5:13 Persian Yes Yes Opening song of a medley. In the center, there are about 2 minutes of free-form improvisation.
Mastom Mastom: qanoun taqsim 2:21 Improvised No Not applicable  
Mastom Mastom: drum solo 1:00 Improvised No Not applicable  
Mastom Mastom: Uskudara Gideriken 7:07 Turkish Yes Yes In the center is about 4 1/2 minutes of improvisation.
Moroccan Roll 5:22 Moroccan No No Begins with about 4 minutes of instrumental improvisation to a Moroccan 6/8 rhythm. Then smoothly transitions into an instrumental rendition of the Moroccan song Mach Mach.



Is It Right for You?

You Will Probably Enjoy This Music If...

  • You prefer the sound of a small band playing traditional instruments over the sound of a large 40-piece orchestra with synthesizers.
  • You like the folkloric sound of heavy drums and mizmars.
  • You have a passion for American Tribal Style belly dance.
  • You enjoy jamming to musical improvisation.
  • You're looking for good "get up and dance just for the fun of it" music to play for open floor at festivals or parties where dancers congregate--the long length of the cuts and the improvised sections work well for that.

This Music Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You love pop music played on electronic instruments.
  • Your primary passion is for 20th-century Egyptian music played by a large orchestra.
  • You prefer to avoid recordings with extensive musical improvisation inserted into the center of the songs.



What I Liked, What I Didn't

What I Liked:

  • The sound quality is excellent. Most recordings created more than 10-15 years ago used older studio equipment, and sound fuzzy. However, the CD edition of Sirocco has clear sound quality, thanks to being digitially re-mastered.
  • The music is ideal for American Tribal Style, which isn't surprising since Sirocco was one of the bands who used to play for the early tribal-style pioneers in California long before the fad spread to the rest of the U.S. and around the world.
  • The music has a certain playful spirit, which makes it sound like the musicians are truly having fun with what they're doing.
  • Both musicians employ a variety of instruments across the various songs. This results in a collection of music in which each song has a distinctive sound but still everything can be used comfortably together in the same performance without clashing.

What I Didn't Like:

  • Two of the tracks on the CD are medleys of multiple songs. Each medley uses one enormous 15-minute track. I wish Sirocco would have inserted track markers at the beginning of each individual song. It would have made it much easier to pick and choose individual songs from within the medleys when using the music for a performance.
  • I wish the individual songs would have been kept within 3 to 3 1/2 minutes in length. The long play time for the songs limits the ways I can use them. For example, they're too long to use for creating a beginner-level choreography for teaching my students.




The collection of music on this album best suits the American Classic style of belly dance, which uses traditional songs from a variety of ethnic origins. The traditional instruments used to play this music would work well with Renaissance Faires or other environments where a folkloric flavor of music is desired.



I first discovered the music of Sirocco around 1985 when one of my belly dance teachers used their music in class and dragged me to watch her perform with them as her live musicians. Since then, I have danced to them live myself on various occasions, bought many of their recordings, and met them at dance events. I wouldn't presume to call them friends because I don't know them well enough for that, but I admire them as musicians and I strongly appreciate the fact that they treat dancers as partners rather than as annoying creatures.



To Buy It

Sirocco Volume 1 Album Cover

Artist: Sirocco
Album Title: Sirocco Volume 1

P.O.Box 24
Capitola, CA 95010

Telephone: (+1) (831) 475-3591
Fax: (+1) (831) 475-3591

Web Site:



Copyright Notice

This entire web site is copyrighted. All rights reserved.

All articles, images, forms, scripts, directories, and product reviews on this web site are the property of Shira unless a different author/artist is identified. Material from this web site may not be posted on any other web site unless permission is first obtained from Shira.

Academic papers for school purposes may use information from this site only if the paper properly identifies the original article on using appropriate citations (footnotes, end notes, etc.) and bibliography. Consult your instructor for instructions on how to do this.

If you wish to translate articles from into a language other than English, Shira will be happy to post your translation here on along with a note identifying you as the translator. This could include your photo and biography if you want it to. Contact Shira for more information. You may not post translations of Shira's articles on anybody else's web site, not even your own.

If you are a teacher, performer, or student of Middle Eastern dance, you may link directly to any page on this web site from either your blog or your own web site without first obtaining Shira's permission. Click here for link buttons and other information on how to link.



Explore more belly dance info:

Top >
Belly Dancing >
Middle Eastern Culture >
Index to the Middle Eastern Music Section


Share this page!

On Facebook


  Top > Belly Dancing > Middle Eastern Culture > Index to the Middle Eastern Music Section

| Contact Shira | Links | Search this Site |