I listen to a fairly wide range of music, and for a long time I’ve had an interest in middle eastern music. A few years ago I had the good fortune to stumble upon an album on iTunes by a Persian group called Niyaz. The self-titled album stayed in my car’s stereo for AGES because I loved it so much. It falls into the dance genre, I would think. (wikipedia says: “Niyaz’s music, described as “mystical music with a modern edge”, is primarily a blend of Sufi mysticism and trance electronica”)
Anyways… Niyaz’s female vocalist is Azam Ali, who also happens to have several solo albums as well as having been part of another group called Vas. Vas falls more into the “alternative world music” genre according to wikipedia, and the music usually features instruments like the tabla, goblet drum, dulcimer, and tambura (sorta like a sitar).
I found a video on YouTube with one of my favorite Vas songs, “The Reaper and the Flowers.”
And a Niyaz song from their first album:
I suppose it should come as no surprise that I used to take middle eastern dance classes… for about 2 years I was into it pretty heavily. Unfortunately there was a car accident, and a back injury, which took me a long time to get over. And since then I haven’t been able to get myself back into it…maybe someday in the future 🙂