Suhaila Salimpour & Ziad Islambouli present
Enta (You Are) Volume 1 & Omri (My Life) Volume 2
An intimate love letter telling the story of a lifelong love: you are my life!
This double album includes my favorite classic compositions based on my years of working in night clubs both in the U.S. and in the Middle East. Ziad Islambouli composed these pieces specifically for me, imagining me dancing in his mind. From our years of working together and performing these classic pieces, we share an intimate connection for this music that shines through in Ziad’s arrangements. Ziad created modernized versions, but ones that maintain the same intent and sentiment as the originals. Both Ziad and I have always felt that it is important to keep this era of music alive and valid, no matter what else might be currently popular. A belly dancer should know her classics; and I believe it requires a significant amount of skill, experience and artistry to perform to these pieces responsibly.
Ziad and I have discussed producing these albums for years. And suddenly, in the fall of 2011 it felt like a once-in-a-lifetime moment — everything in the universe seemed to align. The right people were available at the right time with the right focus, so Ziad went to Lebanon to arrange and record the music. Some of the musicians where people which whom I worked in the past and some were new. But they all connected and bonded on such a deep level to bring our collective vision a reality. Ziad would call from the recording studio in Lebanon so that I could hear something on which they were working.
Ziad was determined to maintain a strong bond to the originals, so the musicians went above and beyond in some cases. For example, Ziad wanted a very specific sound and tone for the oud, so a sixty year oud was carried down from the mountains to use for the album. For Laylet Hob, the very same model of guitar used by Omar Khorshid in the original was used for the album. These small but significant elements really add to the overall depth of the music.
These albums are incredibly close to my heart, and I admit that it is hard to release them. I feel like I am sharing an incredibly personal moment with the world. So remember that as you listen or dance to them, you carry a piece of my heart.