Levantine snake dancing is a thing now?


Active member
Well, this is not the sort of snake dancing we're used to seeing.

This turned up in my YouTube feed the other day. 47SOUL (47soul.com) call their style "Shamstep," a fusion of traditional Levantine music with electronica, hip-hop, dubstep, and other worldmusic elements. The fusion of dabke and breakdancing has been around for a while, but I hope iguana, bird, and monkey dancing do not catch on.

Boas start showing up after 1:45.



"The Veiled Male"
Doesn't do a darn thing for me - too much rap content. And I lost all respect for the vid as soon as they started with the camera stupidity - upside down!


Active member
Truth be told, it's not my cup of tea, either, but I haven't seen anyone incorporate animals into dabkat before. (I suspect a big reason they did it was so they could include the tart political comment at the end.) I did hunt down their NPR Tiny Desk concert and watch it, though. Almost all MENA music improves with the energy of live performance.

On one hand, I find a lot of the contemporary MENA music to be lacking. I don't particularly like American rap, so what sounds like agitated, rhythmic yelling to me isn't substantially improved by being from somewhere else and in a different language. And the triad of mahraganat/techno-sha'abi/electro-sha'abi coming out of Egypt is often too repetitive and noisy for my liking.

On the other hand, this is what is happening, and what's been happening, and what isn't going to stop happening. Many young Middle Easterners (there and abroad) are looking to hip-hop and rap, and occasionally rock, and finding it is the vehicle they want to use for self expression--not their traditional music forms, and sometimes not even with lyrics in their native languages. We don't get a vote about whether Palestinians should use the same artistic vectors to exploit what they see as a commonality of oppression between their situation and African-Americans. All we can do is shrug at the disconnect when Khaleegi artists lean into the braggadocio of rap, knowing that their wealth represents a wildly different life experience than when African-American artists rap about becoming rich. But whether they combine native and foreign elements or thoroughly embrace Western styles in English, this is where the energy is.

Is it any different from what we in the MED community have been doing when we pick and choose/blend and fuse their cultural forms to make our art? Are they any more or less authentic than we are when they approach their work with creative sincerity?

At the end of the day, when we have these existential debates about why traditional dance is dying in the MENA, part of the reason is that the traditional music is dying, too. Way more young musicians want to be the next Jay-Z than the next Farid al Atrash, or the next Drake than the next Amr Diab.


Apart from the use of the animals, I kind of enjoyed it - particularly the mixed gender dancing. Some interesting references to other pop tunes as well if I'm correct.

Actually this was the first tune that hit a playlist I'm putting together for a friend (non-dancer) - even before I saw it on this thread.