Various Artists

Who knew belly dancing music had become so modern-sounding? Well, Sting, Brad Pitt, U2, Eddie Murphy, Hugh Hefner and other celebs whose names usually pop up on marquees and in boldface print, according to this disc’s liner notes. Why are the aforementioned stars enamored of this updating of an old, traditional art form? For one, these sixteen tracks swing with an erotic fervor that should make Hef toss his Viagra stash. For another, the belly dancers who chose these songs are sexier than any of the airbrushed, silicon-enhanced Playboy bimbos. Even the names of the musicians who contribute to Bellydance Superstars — Hakim, Suhaila Salimpour, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Gamal Gommaa, Ihab Tawfik and Oojamiù — bear a rhythmic verve as pronounced as that which propels their music. With its lush Middle Eastern melodies, melismatic Arabic crooning and turbocharged beats, Bellydance bridges cultures and promotes harmony with much more skill than any recent politicians have been able to muster.

Categories: Music