I’m not one of those teachers who insists on only using music SHE likes, I often invite input from my students. So right now I’m working up a setlist of Solace tunes. His music is usually not my first choice, especially for my students – simply because of the many rhythm changes that happen in his songs.
For solo bellydancing, it’s great stuff, and some of his simpler original pieces are also usable for group improv. When he covers* songs they sound good too. *I’m guessing about the cover songs because the titles don’t ring a bell for me. I feel like I’ve heard “Two Gypsies” before but can’t place it, at least not by that name. Same with “Ophelia’s Dance”.
For my students to excel at group improvisation, they need clear beats in a steady, even tempo’d song that’s not monotonous… and that’s not always easy to find on Solace albums. I admire Mr. Soto’s talent greatly, it’s just that his music doesn’t usually meet our particular needs.
BUT – I can’t be the only one picking music or we’ll fall into a rut. I am open to new and different input! My students like the sound of his music and since I have several of his albums, I’m checking them out again.
The playlist I’m working with right now uses songs from his album Shawaza. Sometimes I feel like pulling out a magnifying glass and/or flashlight to read the track list! The tiny fancy font, in black text on dark brown graphic design background, is hard on the old eyes.
Using Roxio, I’ve edited “Rebirth” down a little from 9 minutes; taking out the 6/8 tempo section, as well as the faster tempo at the end. It still hangs together nicely. Then “Two Gypsies”, which sounds so familiar. It’s got a catchy melodic line over a strong, steady beat so is ideal for our group improv.
I realize that since I’m editing the tracks, students won’t be able to have their own practise versions that match what we’re working with in class. That’s a problem.
The set list is only 8 minutes so far; I want to add another short, slower tempo tune, and I’m determined it will be Solace! The search continues…
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