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Everybody Dance Now

With the Naeba Shokudo stage located mere steps away from the world food court, it made perfect sense to have Safi & Channel Sphynx open the line-up on Sunday night.

Safi is a belly dancer. Providing the eclectic, worldly instrumentation for her dancing was Channel Sphynx, a quintet comprised of a violinist/accordian player, a digireedoo player, and three percussionists (Shinshi, Rentaro, and Koara) from a fantastic Tokyo-based act called Tabla Kwaiesa.

The 40-minute set began with the digireedoo player and violinist playing on the small stage. Shinshi and Rentaro emerged from the crowd playing darbukas (Egyptian style goblet drums) followed by Koara playing a riq (Middle Eastern instrument similiar to a tambourine). The trio walked through the trees and spectators before climbing the ramp to the Shokudo area. Once everyone was assembled on stage Safi appeared from the back. Spinning around, the stunning belly dancer had a veil tucked in the back of her costume that she lifted behind her back to form faux-wings. Lowering her veil she began to shimmy as cheers erupted from the rapidly increasing audience.

The accordian player began playing her instrument and singing while Safi fell to her knees and began moving her arms like snakes. Walking offstage, the three amazing percussionists (do yourself a favour and check out Tabla Kwaiesa, you won't be disappointed) began banging away on their drums and riq as Safi re-emerged with a sword. She began dancing with the sword and soon performed such gravity-defying feats as balancing it on her hip, chest, and head while shimmying and spinning around.

Safi walked offstage and Shinshi, Rentaro, and Koara took over for a bit. All three are remarkable musicians and put on a drumming clinic as they wowed the crowd with their brilliant percussive skills. Safi appeared again as the band headed to the back of the Shokudo area to play for the people eating who were seated behind them. Walking offstage, they soon appeared in the middle of the audience playing at the base of the forest surrounding the world food court. A small crowd of dancing bodies greeted them. Not ones to pass up an opportunity to interact with fans, Rentaro began dancing with the group while Koara began rapidly hitting his riq to speed up the beats. Meanwhile, Safi made her way to the middle of the ground area to give the large crowd an upclose view of her entrancing bellydancing skills.


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