Friday, August 8, 2008


Los Angeles based band comprised of Daniel OBrien (vocalist/writer/producer) and Jeff Hull (drummer/writer/producer) who have been together now for over 9 years. The bands sound is a unique and hypnotic blend of Alternative Rock and Pop music a la Coldplay and U2. The songs are memorable and catchy, and the lyrics stem from Daniels own view of the world through dark, mysterious, and thought provoking glasses. Daniel was a staff writer for BMG and MCA and has had several songs released with other artists such as Heart, Susanna Hoffs (of The Bangles), and Terri Nunn (of Berlin). Jeff Hull has been writing music for EMI and is a prolific producer/writer and performer on drums and several other instruments. He has written and/or produced a number of songs for artists such as Holly Cole, Susanna Hoffs, Chynna Phillips and Jane Weidlen. Atenzia. 2005.

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First-ever packed with pictures book on this band. Text by Alex Hannaford. Pictures by Steve Gillett Collector's item.

Percussion is the oldest form of music known to man. From the historic drum of the human heart to the archaic animal pelt drums of our ancestors, the primal beat of the drum stirs something ancient within our souls which can urge us on to dance, groove, or psyche us up to perform extraordinary feats.

The most prehistoric use of rhythm was to send our ancestors into a trance in order to procure a vision or reach a state of poetical flow to deliver stories of tribal lore and tales of life and to communicate over long distances between tribes. Not much has changed over the ages.

Although beats are now heard behind more modern and complicated instruments and covered with sonic production qualities from recording studios they have still maintained the same basic qualities and serve the same basic functions, to put us into a trance and achieve a poetical flow and to communicate over long distances. The poetical flow now takes the form of rap or singing, and the tales of life and "tribal lore" forms the lyrics. Long distance communication involves sending CD's over the world. But at the beating heart of the matter it's still the same as it was in the jungle.

So how can you use this information to create beats of your own?

Well keep in mind the basic fact that the beat is used to create a mood and feeling in the listener which will convey the emotion of the musicians.

The art of percussion is the art of manipulating time.

The rhythm of life is a powerful beat! Basically what you are trying to communicate through a beat is little pieces of transmitted life. As such, you have to capture life within you so that you can transmit it out through your music.

The only way to do this is to get out there! Experience life! Get yourself into as many situations as you can. Note how you feel, observe the beating of your heart when you are excited, when you are sad, when you are scared, when you are relaxed and happy.

Great musicians have the ability to create these same feelings in their listeners through their music.

Take your time!

As a percussionist you form the back bone of the song. As such, the soul that you put into your beat is going to radiate throughout the whole song.

If the same vibe is flowing through all the musicians the music will come out flowing and naturally. If there are disparate clashes of ego throughout the band perhaps it is time to regroup. Strongly opposite emotions are like to create clash within the music. Although sometimes this clash is the basis for the greatest music!

Basically the soundest advice is to put soul and life into your beats. These aspects radiate universally throughout the music into peoples hearts no matter what your level of technicality is.

Ant Onaf is a content producer in association with (, a online retailer of instructional dance videos.

90's dance music

Coldplay - Live 2003: Piano/Voice/Guitar

Matching folio to the acclaimed recording of a concert in Sydney that was part of their Rush of Blood to the Head tour. Includes 17 songs from their first two albums, including:AmsterdamClocksDaylightDon't PanicEverything's Not LostGod Put A Smile Upon Your FaceIn My PlaceLife Is For LivingMosesOne I LovePolitikRush Of Blood (A Rush Of Blood To The Head)See You SoonShiverThe ScientistTroubleYellow
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Came in fast, book was in good condition, songs were transposed well, it was a good product

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Jell-O Without Whip Cream

Do you like Jell-O? It's okay I guess; I mean it's not a hot fudge sundae is it? But if you add a little whip cream, then my friend you've got something worth calling dessert. My question to you is, does your website have that something extra, that dollop of whip cream on top that says, "oh mama let me at it," or does it just lie there squirming in your dish with the sound of Peggy Lee's voice ringing in your ears, "is that all there is?"

If your website disappointments, you need something that provides the 'eureka factor' and that can be provided with a creative, informative Web-video.

The Chicago Bulls Without Michael Jordan

How the mighty have fallen, at least in terms of brand personality. I mean it's not like the Chicago Bulls stink? It's just that without MJ they're not the Chicago Bulls of old. When Michael played we all watched, he was magic, he wasn't just a great basketball player, he was a great personality and he gave the team it's character; no Michael, no personality.

Is your website like the new Chicago Bulls, a talented group of players with skills but no singular personality? Time for a humanity injection, add a Web-video featuring a signature character host who can generate some excitement and establish your unique business personality.

Television Without Sound

You're watching your favorite television show, say CSI, the Vegas one not Miami, and the phone rings. It's your mother. You turn the television's sound down so you can hear her but you're still watching the show. You love your Mom but Grissom has just discovered a new miniature killer clue and you need to know what is going on, but your Mom is carrying on about how your Dad needs new dentures or something Frustrating. No audio, no information.

Does your website have the same effect as watching television without the sound. It's there, people visit, but they leave without getting your message. Time to add a little life to your presentation in the form of a Web-video that tells your story out loud.

Words Without Meaning

Have you ever reread someone's website copy several times and still not understood what the heck they're trying to tell you, or maybe you understand every word but still can't figure out what they're selling?

Words have meaning, they are meant to convey a message not hide it. A lousy video script is no better than lousy print copy. Your Web-audience has no patience for mumbo-jumbo that masquerades as information or for text and dialog that says nothing in as many words as possible in an effort to attract the search engines. Words have meaning, say them with style and deliver them with conviction.

The Rumba Without Rhythm

Have you ever sat at a wedding and watched people dance? There are the people who know how to move, how to respond to the their partners and to communicate with the slightest of gestures or movements. And then there are the others who look like they've got something icky stuck to the bottom of their shoes and are trying desperately to remove it.

If you want to communicate to your audience, you have to use all the techniques available. Communication is more than just copy, its voice, gesture, movement and meaningful dialog.

Romance Without Kisses

Ah the first kiss, something special that can seal a relationship or sour it forever. Your landing page is like that first embrace. Is yours as exciting as it could be, or is it like the guy who spends the entire first date talking about his double entry booking keeping skills?

A well-crafted, expertly presented marketing message is like a seduction; if you're not generating any excitement don't expect to produce any sales either. Boring mission statement gobbledygook and keyword-laden palaver are not the same as an enticing video. An engaging business story, well told, is like a juicy wet-one planted right on your audience's lips.

A Joke Without A Punch Line

Everybody likes a funny story. A good joke is nothing more than a short story with a set-up, an escalation, and a twist, but the real key to a good story lies in the telling. Even comedians with second-rate material can get their audience's howling if they know how to deliver their material.

It's all well and good to repeat the mantra, "websites are about content," but if that content isn't delivered with some style and panache, don't expect anybody to pay much attention.

A Song Without A Hook

Hit songs are highly structured stories with verses that function as chapters or acts, and a chorus that provides the hook that sticks in your audience's heads. Add a toe tapping beat and some instrumental flourishes and you've got something that people will listen to over and over again.

Does that sound like your website presentation? Are people willing to come back to your site just to watch your presentation, or does your website leave visitors with a 'been there, done that' impression?

Information Without Knowledge

Just because you're in business doesn't mean you've got to be boring. And just because you dump a lot of facts and figures and bulleted points onto your Web-pages doesn't mean you're making a convincing argument for anyone to buy your stuff.

Web audiences demand more. If you won't give it to them, you can be sure someone else will, like maybe your competition.

Interactivity Without Purpose

Can we all just stop and take a breath and think about this whole interactivity thing. Let's all get interactive, why? I mean what is interactivity anyway? Is it developing a hugely expensive game that people can play on your website to avoid working, or is it getting them to click on the "Tell Me More" button?

I vote for the interactivity that leads to opening a dialogue with a potential client, one that gets visitors to pick up the phone and call you to discuss their needs, not the one that generates a "Game Over" message. Of course that assumes you're willing to actually talk to customers.

Frequency Without Resonance

I happened to like vinegar on my fries, okay it's weird I admit it, but the Dutch like mayonnaise on theirs, even weirder. I once had a chef in a Tucson restaurant come out of the kitchen and confront me when I asked the waiter for vinegar (it's a Canadian thing). The chef approached the table and asked who ordered the vinegar? I reluctantly raised my hand. "You must be from Canada," he said, "I'm from Victoria, where you from?"

Good advertising is all about delivering a message that resonates with your audience. It doesn't matter how many times you run an advertisement if that advertisement doesn't make an impression on your audience. You can't be afraid to be creative or even a bit weird.

Humor Without Laughter

Dr. Max Sutherland in his e-mail newsletter report, "False Alarm Theory: How Humorous Ads Work" describes how laughter is a hardwired residual mechanism that developed in our ape days as an 'all clear' signal once a danger had past. The 'all clear' message is passed on from one ape to another, until the entire troop is screeching with the ecstasy of survival.

A guy slips on a banana and breaks his neck - that's not funny. A guy slips on a banana, jumps up and looks around to see if anybody saw - that's funny. Humor is based on creating some sense of uncertainty or tension that is ultimately relieved with a humorous punch line or comforting resolution. The safe or amusing resolution creates a chain reaction in the audience that signals, "hay guys, all is well; everything is back to normal."

Without tension there can be no relief, no opportunity for an entertaining resolution that creates a cascading viral reaction among your audience. So don't expect your website to be passed on to friends and colleagues unless you deliver a compelling presentation that offers the opportunity to signal the rest of the world that all is well.

Jerry Bader is Senior Partner at MRPwebmedia, a website design firm that specializes in Web-audio and Web-video. Visit,, and http://www.sonicpersonality.comContact at or telephone (905) 764-1246.

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Ukulele is a great instrument to use when you play chords to songs. Your chord playing on your ukulele can be more effective if you apply a few guitar playing principles. In this ukulele lesson you will find out how you can change between chords better and easier!

First a few easy to follow principles as you play any chord:

1. Fingerings. The left hand fingers you use as you play chords can make chord changes easier or harder.

2. Minimize finger movements. Try to take the shortest distance between two frets if you have to move a finger to change chords.

3. Keep fingers down on frets that are shared between two chords.

Let us take a closer look at these principles:


As an example of the first principle we will take a look at two common ukulele chords. We will use the common C-tuning. In this tuning the C-major chord will look like this:

C-major: 04 03 02 31

The number pairs tell you how to put your fingers to play the chord. The first number in the pair tells you which fret to press down and the next number which string to play. The number 0 means that you will not press down any fret. For example 04 means play the fourth open string. The number pair 31 tells you to press down the third fret on the first string.

The strings are numbered from the string with the highest pitch. This string is called the first string and is the bottom string when you play your ukulele.

In the C-major chord written out above you can see that there is only one fret to press down. This makes for many fingering alternatives. The easiest way to finger this C-chord is of course to use your index finger. But let us look at the next chord to play, G7, to see if there is another way to finger the C-chord. Here is the G7 chord:

G7: 04 23 12 21

The most common fingering for this chord is using the ring finger for the first string, the index finger for the second string and the middle finger for the third string. Try it out and see if it is this way you have played it.

A common chord progression is to move from C-major to G7. In order to make this chord change as smooth as possible I suggest that you use your ring finger to play the third fret on the first string in the C-major chord. When you move to G7 you simply slide your ring finger to the second fret and add the remaining two fingers and you have the G7 chord.

If you are going from G7 to C you only have to reverse the procedure.

Minimize finger movements

As an example of this principle we will use the chords A-minor and and F-major. Here you have these chords written out:

A-minor: 24 03 02 01

F-minor: 24 03 12 01

Suppose you have to move from Am to F. As you can see there is only one change to make between Am and F. The only thing to do is to put your index finger on the first fret on the second string and you will have the F chord. To make this chord change as smooth as possible you can keep your index finger as close as possible to this fret even when you play Am. This principle applies to other chord changes as well.

Keep fingers down on frets that are shared

In order to illustrate this principle we will use the chords F-major and G7. I have already showed the chords above so I just have to describe how to move your fingers. If you take a look at the two chords you will find that the first fret second string is shared by both chords. This fret is pressed down with your index finger.

As you move from F to G7 you only have to move your middle finger from fret two on the fourth string to fret two on the third string and press down fret two on string one with your ring finger and you are done!

Using the chords and principles we have already discussed you can practice the following sequence that is very common in many songs:

C Am F G7 C Am ...and so on.

How to practice

The best way to practice chord changes in a song is to take two consecutive chords and practice them by strumming once on every chord as you move between them. Slowly at first, making it possible to apply the principles we have discussed. In a short time you will find that you automatically will use the right fingerings, minimize finger movements and you will also find that your playing will be more effective and enjoyable!

Peter Edvinsson invites you to download your free ukulele tabs and ukulele lessons at

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Diction Italian, Latin, French, German...the Sounds and 81 Exercises for Singing Them

Customer Review: Great reference.
This is really an excellent text for use both in the classroom and on your own. This is a wonderful way to begin training muscles associated with articulation to pronounce different sounds required for singing in other languages. Moriarty provides an excellent foundation for beginning to learn the International Phonetic Alphabet. This is a great reference for IPA symbols and provides a clear, analytical way for forming, both in the brain and with articulators, pretty much any sound in the languages covered. This is a permanent reference in preparing for accurate performances in foreign languages.
Customer Review: It Is Not For Sale

Even the most successful businesses suffer from third-quarter blues. At times, results are easy to justify capital expenditures, seasonal market fluctuations or even act-of-nature catastrophes. Some companies may even spoil third quarter results to spare the triumphant fourth. Or, perhaps the dismal quarter is part of a wider business strategy that shareholders and analysts understand and support. At other times, the alarming red ink is a real wake-up call that leads to financial housekeeping, an executive sweep or a fiscal crisis plan.

But often, its not the results that are at fault, but the planning method that generates them. A business is not entirely unlike an individual when it makes short-term decisions that are not in alignment with the core values of the company the end result is nearly always disappointing.

Lets face it. Business leaders are under pressure to produce results now. They can easily bend to the will of investors and boards, who want quick returns and payoffsquick indicators of success. All too often, a leaders long-term vision for company growth and achievement is sacrificed to the demands of quarterly reports or the profit and loss statement. And that sacrifice leads to bad decisions that compromise the underpinning values of the organization and unsurprisingly, can shipwreck quarterly earnings and maroon long-term gains.

So how does a business leader set the right goals?

According to veteran entrepreneur Peter H. Thomas, youand your companyshould dance your way to success through mutual goals that are adopted step by step and always in alignment with your values. In Thomas blueprint for success, he suggests the RUMBA, a goal-setting process that determines worthwhile objectives in terms of:

--> Realistic

--> Understandable

--> Meaningful & Measurable

--> Believable; and,

--> Agreed upon.

To stage the process, and bring it into focus and vision, business leaders focus on the following questions:

  • Are our goals realistic? Are they grounded in clear ideas of what we want and whats required to achieve them?
  • Are we willing to take risks, and if so, whats our risk quotient?
  • Are the goals understandable? Are the objectives clearly defined?
  • Are the goals personally meaningful to our company and its stakeholders? Are they measurable with objective indicators?
  • Do we believe wholeheartedly in the short-term objectives and the long-term goal we expect to achieve?
  • Are the goals and objectives agreed upon by the people who have stake in our company?
  • Even then, while the focus and balance needed to be a leader may give a company stability and trajectory, company goals that dont align with company values will always be a threat to future growth.

    As Plato said in the text Alcibiades, Know Thyself. As a business leader, youre charged with the task of holding a vision for the company, and maintaining the appropriate perspective to achieve it. Dont let unaligned interests cloud your sight. A well-focused leader who sets goals using criteria consistent with personal and corporate values will achieve over the long haul.

    Quarterly results dont have to be dreaded, or be a catalyst for financial housekeeping or maybe the executive sweep. When goals are in step with stakeholder expectations and aligned with core values, its all easya piece of cake, says Thomas.

    Moreover, dancing with a goal-setting strategyand aligning it on a values-driven courseoffer benefits beyond the achievement of the goals themselves. These methods combined are a surefire way to motivate and inspire others, develop clarity and will boost the energy and confidence needed among colleagues and customers to reach even the tallest company peak.

    Additional Resource

    --> The LeaderShape program at the McCombs Business School at the University of Texas is an academic leadership conference dedicated to promoting a healthy disregard for the impossible and leaders who act consistently with their core values. Click Here.

    Author: As vice president of LifePilot, Christopher Scott Smith oversees the organizations operations, ensuring efficient and effective management of overall company strategy and budget, as well as the management of personnel and stakeholder relationships. The organization provides values-driven motivational products, programs and workshops for entrepreneurial success, self-help, parenting, and business leadership. LifePilots net profits are distributed to charities through the Todd Thomas Foundation and the Thomas Foundation. Contact Chris at Learn more about values, motivation and Chris work at

    For tips on setting goals, visualizing them and finding inspiration and motivation to make them happen, LifeManual provides a free PDF Download.

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    A String Quartet Tribute to Coldplay

    Includes ten of Coldplay's greatest hits, performed by string quartets. Coldplay's relaxing sound lends itself beautifully to the string quartet format.

    Karaoke is the act of singing along to recorded background music; it originates from Japan and in Japanese means empty orchestra.

    It is rumoured that karaoke was invented In Japan in the 1970s, when a Japanese musician was asked by fans to provide a recording of his performance so that they could sing along on their vacation. Realising this potential the musician then developed a machine that for 100 yen would play his songs; the machine was originally leased out and not immediately available in stores as they are nowadays. Unfortunately for the Japanese musician a Filipino businessman recognised the potential market for such a machine and patented a sing-a-long system to be sold in stores along with the music.

    Karaoke's popularity has lasted since its invention in the 1970's and has continued to be a popular form of entertainment and it has reached great success across the globe. Many bars, restaurants and clubs install karaoke machines into their venue, or hold karaoke nights to capitalise upon its popularity.

    The concept Curry Karaoke was developed in Glasgow; combining the nations two favourite things, Indian food and karaoke, with such CurryOke nights happening across the city it is no wonder that Glasgow has been named the Curry Capital of the UK. With the Ashoka restaurant on Elderslie Street offering a Curry Karaoke package of a private function suite, large Indian buffet, karaoke, party games and fancy dress outfits it sounds like Curry Karaoke is the ultimate in party nights. Providing an excellent alternative to your average birthday party or staff night out a Curry Karaoke night will provide endless fun, good food and some brilliant photo opportunities; most definitely a different kind of night out.

    Visit the Ashoka Website for a menu and photographs from the many Curry Karaoke nights that they put on.

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    We Never Change (Polyphonic Ringtone)

    This product is a great sounding polyphonic ringtone for your cell phone. Ringtones are musical tunes and sounds that are played whenever your phone rings. Your phone must support polyphonic tones to use this product.

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    Oral Fixation Tour (DVD/CD)

    Customer Review: Fantastic
    This DVD along with Live and Off the Record are simply fantastic. Shakira is the whole package from the voice of an Angel to a body...well, that's out of this world!! How could you not love this goddess!!!!!
    Customer Review: Bought it for the price. Ended up liking it.
    It was available for less than fifteen so I picked it up. I liked Shakira's first major Spanish album before her international success. I hadn't really listened to her newer stuff. When I put it in I was pleasantly surprised. The visuals are great and the sound is even better. To be honest I do skip a few songs whenever I watch it but I still consider it a good purchase for the price.

    A while back I was driving along the Jerusalem highway scanning the radio stations. On one frequency, a very intense dance beat was exploding out of the speakers. I was about to move the dial some more in search of a Jewish tune when the vocalist started in. Shock of shocks, he was a heavily Hassidic singer, complete with eastern European pronunciation. And what was he singing? "Kumee oy'ree ki va oy-reich.." from 16th century Rabbi Shlomo Alkavetz' classic Sabbath poem, L'cha Dodi. Before he had began his rendition I had been expecting something like "Oh baby, the way you move with me ..."!

    I had to ask the old question, "Is this good for the Jews?" And I had to give the old answer, "Does hair grow on the palm of your hand?"

    Of course it's not good for the Jews, I felt. Poor, unfortunate L'cha Dodi, dragged from the fields of Tsfat on the Sabbath eve and infected with Saturday Night Fever! Lovingly done by a Hassid, no less!

    Speaking of Tsfat, I recall meandering about their Klezmer festival once and hearing a contemporary setting of Psalm 126. It was to a funk rhythm, and the words did not fit. The singer had to split words in two, which rendered them more or less meaningless. Good for the Jews? Nah.

    What bothered me about this so-called Jewish music? To put it briefly, besides the words, it just wasn't. It was dance, trance, shmantz. It was hip, driving, suggestive. If this music was asked where it wanted to play, the synagogue or the sin-skin club, the answer was clear. If Jewish music is to be defined as such, it must have authentic Jewish roots. And so much contemporary music simply does not. Where was the source of this tradition? Nowhere. That's what bothered me.

    But, as Tevye reminds us, there's another hand. After all, go listen to classic Hassidic nigunim (melodies). Then go listen to Russian folk songs. Eerie, no? Weren't those folk songs the "dance" of their day?

    Even stronger, go watch the religious kids. They love contemporary popular music and all its villains. What these new Jewish groups do is take what's hip and put Jewish content into it. Isn't that what the original Hassidic nigunim were all about? If we don't want to lose our young people in the culture war, we have to compete. Didn't Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch bring the choral works of Lewandowsky and Japhet in to the synagogue service, even though they were completely in the style of the German composers of the age, such as Schubert and Mendelssohn (he needs an asterisk because he was halakhically Jewish)? So maybe I should not only calm down, I should applaud this phenomenon.

    Hold on. We're both right, I believe. Here's how I reconcile the difference, and my earnest appeal to all who create Jewish music. The most important thing is to ask, "To be or not to be?" That is the question.

    Every song has a purpose, a message. It can be joy, faith, pensiveness, determination, anything. The message is in the melody and rhythm, which create the atmosphere. It's in the text, which gives articulation to the message. And it's in the performance, which makes the message personal between the performer and the listener. If the message is congruent, if the music and the lyrics are a perfect union that inspires the performer, then you have a great piece of music. If the message is mixed, if there's a battle going on between the rhythm and the words, then we are troubled. That was why that "kumee oy'ree" was so absolutely awful. It was a mixed message of licentious music with holy texts.

    We love to set verses from the liturgy to music, and that's wonderful. Composers have a special responsibility to make sure that the music conveys the message and colors the words with deeper meanings. Do that, and I'm fascinated, I'm inspired, even if it's a contemporary style.

    But be very, very careful with verses. We tend to ask, "Do you think Adon Olam goes to this?", when we would do better to ask, "What is this melody saying?". If it says Adon Olam, good. If it does not, then WRITE YOUR OWN WORDS. To keep with the idea of message, if you have a great tune that can say something worthwhile (something human and real, not negative or immodest), say it your way. That satisfies.

    The foundation of Jewish music has always been expressing what's in our hearts as a prayer to God. That expression must be congruent, pure, sincere. There is room in the Jewish music world for great innovation, if it comes from our hearts, not from the charts.

    Seth Yisra'el Lutnick is a singer and composer who has performed on stage and screen. His CD is called Gesharim, and he is also a trained cantor. Visit his website, for music and more.

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    What kinds of photographs draw you into a website or photo gallery?

    As a website owner I have come to realize that change and updating are essential to good traffic. So photographs are a major investment for me because there are so many things I can do with them. But how many dancers understand this investment and address the issue of spending money on photographs as necessary? As a professional dancer it is so important to upgrade your portfolio with yearly photographs. Photographs are a review of the different stages in the career of a dancer.

    With all the great photographers out there why wouldn't dancers use photographs to show the dance world what they are up to? If a dancer or troupe is advertising a show or workshop and I can't go, I usually look forward to photographs of the event. There is a statement that is made to each and every person looking at your website. Photographs bring this statement right into a dancer's home. So this means it is so important to invest in a photographer for shows and events. As the years pass on you'll have a wonderful archive of photographs and even videos of all your hard earned creative efforts.

    Find a photographer that understands dance and can photograph motion or poses well. Also a photographer needs to be honest with you. If you choose a bad color for your costume or pose than he or she needs to tell you. There are certain colors that photograph better out in direct sunlight versus colors in a lighted room. There are certain times in a day that are better to be photographed in if you choose to shoot outdoors. Make sure you are aware of the right kind of make up for outdoors. The bottom line is a good photographer will talk with you before the photo shoot and help you decide what is best for you.

    Let's talk about themes. A few years ago my husband made a suggestion that I impersonate a famous person that I admire for my next photo shoot. Well of course you know who came to mind, Cleopatra. There's a little bit of her in all of us. The photographs were done by a photography business called Ten/100. I had decided I wanted to be a modern day Cleopatra. The end result was timeless. I could have been from Ancient Egypt or a sexy vixen of today. Fortunately the photographer understood what I was trying to recreate and he also understood my personality. It is so important when you work with a photographer that you feel very comfortable with them.

    The Cleopatra theme worked and was the beginning of my amazing journey in photography. Since each year can be any theme that you want, make sure that you create a unique experience for each photo shoot. So for my next adventure I decided to become King Tutankhamen's wife, Ankhesenamun. The movie "The Mummy" inspired this idea and an amazing photographer, Pat Berrett made my dream come alive. I was body painted by Pam Trent exactly like Ankhesenamun was in the movie. Pam did an amazing job and by the time she was done I felt like a Queen. We went out to a desert oasis thirty minutes out of town and Pat photographed me in that amazing late afternoon light just before dusk. I stood upon these amazing sand dunes with this bronze body paint all over me and the details of Egyptian hieroglyphs. Those are my most favorite photographs to date. Pat believes that each photo shoot is just like a performance. Everything should be talked through days before including your costume, make up, poses and the elements if it is outdoors. If this is done than your photo shoot will make you feel like you just received a standing ovation!

    So let's talk about posing versus non posing. I think the one reason why more dancers don't update their photographs isn't just the money but they don't know how to pose or what to do once they are in front of a camera. It's easy to freeze and even harder to figure out what to do with your arms and legs. So one thing that Pat Berrett does, is he usually will suggest music so that the dancer feels more in her element.

    If you want photographs that depict the theater or stage atmosphere, than arrange to be photographed during a performance. This will be a good chance for the photographer to use the lighting that is already there.

    These are my favorite photographs because I don't have to worry about posing. And these kinds of photographs usually will depict the spirit of the moment. Besides that, you can't beat being on stage!

    Dancers can pose all they want in front of a mirror but I think what will create a wonderful pose is the interaction between the photographer and dancer. The photograph you create will represent you to the dance world and your audience. So make sure it is as unique as possible, which means bring out the actress in you and work with your photographer to make your photographs timeless.

    All of this brings one question to my mind. Why do dancers use photographs from 10 to 20 years ago? Your photographs need to tell the truth about who you are. I feel sexier and better than ever. So I don't want to look younger than what I am. And as you can imagine if I get work out of State or abroad, than I better look like my photograph. As performers it is our job to stay in shape and look our best. There are many ways to photograph yourself to hide whatever you don't want to show. Find a photographer that understands your concerns and problem areas. The one thing I love about Pat Berrett is that he makes me feel like I'm the best thing since sliced bread. He understands that I am selling myself as a professional belly dancer. And that isn't always easy. So one important issue that a photographer must understand is that you are trying to define your own unique style. I am a very different dancer now than I was 20 years ago. My photographs from back then show my inexperience. I have a relaxed and secure look to me now. When people look at my photographs I want them to see a professional dancer with years of experience under her belt. Decide with your photographer what image you want people to see when they view your photographs.

    Your photographs are a story board that represents your career. They are also a way of making money. They are intellectual property and you can use your own image to make you money. I will have 4X6 photographs made and give them away to customers and fans at the restaurant that I dance at. Usually people will come up and ask me to autograph them. When I autograph my photos, people usually want my business card. Not only do they have my card but a memory of me signing my own photograph. So when they are thinking of hiring a dancer down the line, they will remember me. You have to figure a way to build up your image. What better way than with photographs.

    So let's talk about costume colors and sizes for photographs.

    Years ago I had a favorite costume that had a bra that could fit ten of my breasts in each bra cup. At the time I was a very small B. So as you can imagine people would do a double take when I was on stage dancing with my stuffed bra and when I was walking out greeting everyone in my cocktail dress. Ok, it was dumb on my part but I really liked the costume. The photographer who took my photos in that costume said nothing to me. When you are deciding on a costume for your photos, make sure it fits you and is the right color for either indoors or outdoors. My costume was bright pink and looked terrible in outside light. But get me on stage and it looked dynamite. So the few photos that I still have of that costume are of me on stage but with my bra cut down to fit my size. I realized shocking people wasn't part of the image I wanted to portray. But I realized this only after seeing the awful photographs of me outside.

    I learned a lot with that photographer. The most important lesson was choosing the right costume for outdoors and secondly making sure my costume fit appropriately. And just to let you know, with the amount of make up I had on... Frankenstein's bride had nothing on me!
    The unfortunate thing here is that the photographer didn't communicate with me at all and I didn't know enough at the time to talk with him in advance. Talk with your photographer and show him or her your costumes and props ahead of time. Decide together on how you will wear your make up for your themed idea. It's a lot of fun and the result can be pretty amazing.

    Today I am able to create themes that I have been dreaming about for years and I can look the part with confidence. I know enough to be able to ask the right questions to make sure I get the best possible shots. But most importantly I work with a great photographer who takes the time to talk with me and we discuss together what we want to do. It's a partnership that when it works is pure magic.

    Leyla Najma is a producer of Belly Dancing Leyla Style on-line instructional videos. Chroreographer, professional dancer, dance coach and director and producer of theatrical dance shows, Leyla is a dancers dancer with the ability to help dancers find their own style. Check out her website;

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