Danyavaad and the Shimmy Sisters
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Danyavaad and the Shimmy Sisters

San Diego, California, United States

San Diego, California, United States
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A series of belly dancers, including local favorite, Leilainia and Adelaide of The Shimmy Sisters™, graced the stage along with Danyavaad at San Diego’s Stage Bar and Grill.

Danyavaad’s melodic instrumentation was the musical backdrop for the lucid, undulating moves from its muse of belly dancers. Exotic belly contortions were artfully executed as the music manifested itself in full physical form. The audience witnessed what music looks like when it shimmies, turns and belly rolls.

The act is a journey into a mystical wonderland housed in the modest spaced provided by the Stage Bar and Grill. To the left of the stage was a red brick wall with six, gigantic vertical mirrors hanging at top. To the right was a medium-sized plasma screen television showing a nude female silhouette languidly moving in front of changing neon, psychedelic patterns. In all, the ambience was spontaneous and electrifying.

The experience was a welcomed, cultural break and a sad reminder that the next day would require attendance at work for the few who braved the week night to be transported to the Middle East. A trip well worth staying out late for, thanks to Danyavaad.

It’s no surprise that Danyavaad together with The Shimmy Sisters™ are nominated for “Best World Music” at the 2009 San Diego music awards http://www.sandiegomusicawards.com/ scheduled for September.

http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-18344-San-Diego-Cover-Bands-Examiner~y2009m8d11-Coverband-Review-Danyavaad-at-Downtown-San-Diegos-Stage-Bar-and-Grill - San Diego Cover Bands ExaminerCarmen Fitzgerald


Burners and Bellies

Bubba Kron, a San Diego soul singer who owns a recording studio in Sorrento Valley and isn't shy when it comes to telling you about his stutter, said it best: "Th-th-th-th-this is pr-pr-pretty cool."

Bubba, like a quarter of the people in the audience at The Nomads Show, Portugalia's new first-Friday-night event, is a hardcore Burner (which means he goes to Burning Man, a radical festival out in the desert, every year without fail), and tonight is about as close to the goings-on at Burning Man he can get without leaving San Diego.

On stage, the beautiful Shimmy Sisters belly-danced and balanced long, sleek swords on their heads while leaning back into a somewhat contorted position that just didn't look comfortable—sword or no sword. The members of Danyavaad closed their eyes and sank into the Middle Eastern-fusion music they were making, and with the skilled DJ Sandbag on bass, Gabriel Penix on bongos and Greg Vaughan on electric sitar, the audience—even the non-Burner majority—sank into it, too. The clanging of dishes and glasses while the audience worked on their Portuguese food was the only sound they dared make.

By the time dancers AnJa and Akashan made their way to the stage for a vigorous swordplay show, the audience was finished with the food and had hands free for applause—and by the sweaty end of the performance, there was plenty of it. A few folks even left family and friends at the tables to join the belly-dancing throng on the floor in front of the stage, using windbreakers tied around their waists to imitate the ornamental fringe and coin belts the dancers were wearing. By that point, a few of the Burners were relieved to finally be allowed to let lose with their noodle dancing, a free-form hippie dance highly popular at Burning Man.

After a few minutes, the professional belly dancers slyly left the twirling masses on the dance floor and slowly worked their way around the crowd in the dining room and bar. Somehow, even Asian moms know what to do when a beautiful lady baring her belly shakes her butt in front of them: Take out a dollar bill and tuck it into her waistband.

"Th-th-th-th-that girl will eat your heart out," said Bubba as he watched more and more of the audience follow Asian Mom's lead.

After the group-dancing climax, the lights went off and out came the glowing outfits and giant glowing hula-hoops. Danyavaad left the stage, and DJ Sandbag assumed his position behind his laptop, where he mixed electronica with traditional Indian music while the belly dancers put on a black-light show.

Everyone was mesmerized by the sight, except for one barefooted Burner who cut across the stage to use the bathroom (not bothering to put shoes .. using the facilities) and the kilt-wearing camera man ("I've only worn pants a total of 10 times since discovering the freedom of the kilt," he explained) who asked a bewildered bystander to man his camcorder while he stepped outside to smoke a bowl.

by Kinsee Morlan

http://danyavaad.com/blog/nomads-show-reviewed-citybeat - City Beat SD


Ojai Valley News - Wed August 26th, 2009
NAVEL MANEUVERS

“March Of The Gypsies” heads though village jester tonight
by Nancy Gross

What do you get when you fuse together a musician that has a pop, rock, and folk background, and two sisters of Syrian descent, who are not only daughters of a professional bellydancing mother and an artist father, but who were chosen People’s Choice Bellydancer of the Universe 2007? You get Danyavaad and the Shimmy Sisters.

The ensemble will perform tonight, Aug 26th, at The Village Jester as part of their “March Of The Gypsies” tour, which begins in San Diego, and leads to the Burning Man Festival at Black Rock City in the Nevada Desert. They are promoting their latest CD, also called March Of The Gypsies.

Their music is Middle Eastern – flavored, but “will be familiar to western listeners,” says composer and San Diego County Guitarmageddon Champion Greg Vaughan. Tribal drummer Gabriel Penix and bassist Sandy Bagri provide the rhythmic current to Vaughan’s electric sitar and original songs, while the dancers, Leilainia Penix and Adelaide Marcus, captivate the audience with their lively dances and sensuality.

Danyavaad means “thank you” in Hindi. Viewers of this performance can count on an evening of traditional veils and zils, also known as finger cymbals, along with any of the following surprises: snakes, swords, candles, fire fingers, isis wings, and glowing hula hoops.

Vaughan relates that when he meet the dancers four years ago at a house party, they only had to know one another for five minutes before Leilainia said to him “You are my sitar player.” A taste fusion came into being, and Danyavaad and the Shimmy Sisters have performed at theatres, festivals, and corporate events in California, Nevada, and Mexico.

Vaughan describes their sound like this: “Danyavaad creates an atmosphere of Middle Eastern lounge music mixed with Indian Vibes and rock.”

It is not surprising the group finds resonance for this vibe in Ojai, and is coming to do a show. Vaughan has long admired the late philosopher J. Krishnamurti. He incorporates Krishnamurti’s teaching into his life, and it has influenced his approach to music, and the principles he implements at his guitar school, The Temple Of The Sacred String. Vaughan speaks of the stops on this tour, and says, “For me personally, Ojai is the special one.” While in town, he intends to make a visit to the Pepper Tree Retreat, the former home of Krishnamurti, at the Krishnamurti Foundation.

Doors will open at 6 pm and the show begins at 7:30 on Aug. 26th. The Village Jester is located at 139 E Ojai Ave., next to the Ojai Theatre. Reservations are strongly recommended, call Nigel at 640-8001.
- Ojai Valley News


EL PASO -- By now, just about everyone in El Paso knows that two of their belly-dancing native daughters, the Shimmy Sisters, are competing on TV's "America's Got Talent."

The sisters can't talk about it. Contractual obligations, you know.

But they can talk about their sixth annual "Arabian Nights" concerts this weekend at the UTEP Dinner Theatre, which will be more like another once-popular TV show -- "All in the Family." In name, anyway.

In addition to Leilainia and younger sister Adelaide Marcus, aka the Shimmy Sisters, the concerts will feature their band, Danyavaad, which includes Leilainia's husband, Gabriel Penix, on percussion.

The sisters' dad, artist Hal Marcus, will play percussion on a few songs with his old group, Jitano and the Desert Prophets. Their mom and Hal's ex-wife, Judith Ann Marcus, who taught her daughters to belly dance, will join Jitano for a song during Sunday's matinee.

It's the first time the show will be performed entirely to live music and the first time it's been expanded to two performances.

And it's a rare occasion where so many members of the extended family will share the same stage. It helps that Hal and Judith Ann are good friends after being divorced nearly 20 years. The sisters, Leilainia says, are "very blessed."

"I asked my mom about that a long time ago. She said, 'If you can't get along with the people in your life, how will there ever be world peace?' " Leilainia recalled. "I love that. It put it in perspective.
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You've got people in your life, you create a family with them, memories with them, you keep them and you keep growing. You don't want to throw that all away."

Nor do they want to throw away their chance to win the fifth season of "America's Got Talent," NBC's televised talent show, which is executive produced by ex-"American Idol" judge Simon Cowell and Fremantle Media, the company behind "Idol." The summer's top-rated TV show is hosted by Nick Cannon and sports a three-judge panel including Sharon Osbourne and Howie Mandel.

The winner gets $1 million, not to mention tons of national exposure, but won't be crowned until September. Last year's finale was watched by 15.5 million viewers, according to NBC.

A snippet of the Shimmys' and Danyavaad's January audition in Los Angeles appeared on the show's June 1 season premiere, and the group is going on to the next round of competition in Las Vegas.

They can't talk about it. They could be disqualified if they do. But plenty of other people are. Osbourne called their act, which included snakes, a "magical mystery tour." Mandel said, "I can't wait to see you again."

And people were talking in their hometown. It was a top story on elpasotimes.com last Friday, and both of their parents said their phones rang off the hook the night the sisters appeared.

"I was real proud," their dad said. "I told (Leilainia) if they win or not, it's all about the experience."

"I'm really proud of them. My only concern is that the (judges) don't say anything bad to them. They can be mean to people," their mom said, in typical mom fashion.

"It's wonderful. It's great," she added. "So many people called me this week and said, 'I saw your girls on the show.' "

The TV exposure probably won't hurt ticket sales this weekend. The Shimmy Sisters decided to add a second show this year because they've done turn-away business in the past.

They also wanted to bring along Danyavaad, with whom they've been performing the past four years in San Diego, where they're now based.

Danyavaad, nominated for a San Diego Music Award last year, is a self-described "gypsy fusion" trio whose name means "thank you" in Hindi. It features Greg Vaughan, a rock guitarist turned sitar player; bassist and DJ Sandy "Sandbag" Bagri; and Leilainia's husband, Gabriel Penix, a guitarist-turned-percussionist.

The group, which has released an album and DVD called "March of the Gypsies," blends Middle Eastern and other music into a high-energy sound.

"What we've tried to do with some of our music is have more of that driving rock 'n' roll influence," said Penix, who numbers the Beatles and David Bowie among his influences.

The trio, which performs regularly with the Shimmys, dresses in Middle Eastern garb to better serve the visual nature of the song-and-belly-dance act. "Costumes are more fun to look at," Penix said.

Though some of the area's most noted dancers, including Dance Alive's Lorraine Alvarez Portilla and Bella Fusion, are also on the bill, this weekend's concerts will feature fewer dancers than before.

"It's more of a concert than dancer after dancer," Leilainia said.

No matter how that TV gig works out, she doesn't see an end to their annual concerts in their hometown. "We hope to collaborate with more artists and make it bigger and better each time we do it," she said.

Who knows if they'll ever have that many family members on stage again? Their dad appreciates the rarity of the situation.

"The kids seeing their parents getting along," Hal Marcus said, "is a beautiful thing."

Doug Pullen may be reached at dpullen@elpasotimes.com; 546-6397. Read Pullen My Blog at elpasotimes.com/blogs.



make plans
# What: The Shimmy Sisters' "Arabian Nights," with Danyavaad, Jitano and the Prophets, Bella Fusion, Lorraine Alvarez Portilla, Judith Ann Marcus, and others.
# When: 7 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. Sunday.
# Where: UTEP Dinner Theatre, Union Building West.
# How much: $15. On sale at the UTEP Ticket Center; through Ticketmaster, ticketmaster.com or 800-745-3000; and at the door (if not sold out).
# What else:"Related workshops cost $25 each. Leilainia Marcus released a belly-dance fitness DVD this year.
# Information: 747-5234, 747-5481, utepspecial events.com. - El Paso Times


Discography

March of the Gypsies - This is a two disc set - a 10 song CD and a DVD full of music videos, dance lessons, pictures, and much more.

Photos

Bio

DANYAVAAD AND THE SHIMMY SISTERS

Nominated for Best World Music Group and Best World Music Album
San Diego Music Awards 2009

Greg Vaughan met Gabriel and Leilainia Penix on May 28th, 2005 at their old loft apartment in downtown San Diego. Singer/Songwriter Marie Haddad had asked Greg to play a show with her at Twiggs Coffeshop downtown. She said that if he did the gig she would take him to a party with lots of bellydancers afterward. 5 Minutes after Greg met Leilainia and told her that he had been playing professionally for years, taught guitar, had just won a local guitar contest called Guitarmageddon in March, and bought an electric sitar a week earlier...she informed him they would be working together. She also stated that her sister Adelaide Marcus would move out from Texas so they could be a dance troupe.

Their first real show was in Jan 2006 at the downtown loft. There were approximately 100 people there. Gabriel and Greg performed three songs while Leilainia and Adelaide danced - Energy, My Serpent Kiss, and Danyavaad. The song Danyavaad did not yet have a name. Greg had told Gabriel to come up with a name for it, perhaps some word he heard while travelling in the east. Right before performing the song he asked Gabirel what it would be called, he replied “Danyavaad.” Greg immediately incorporated the title into the song. Among the enthusiastic crowd that day was the well known middle eastern group Middle Earth.

The party was such a success that they decided they needed to start a club night somewhere to perform their show. The first step to making this happen was finding a DJ that played middle eastern flavored dance music, and would be open to working with live musicians. While Gabriel was getting a haricut from local bellydancer Sabina Fox, he mentioned that he was looking for a DJ. After he described exactly what the group needed she said she had the perfect guy, she was right. After the first conversation Gabriel had with Sandy Bagri (DJ Sandbag) , a meeting was scheduled to plan an event. They all agreed that their show should be founded on 3 basic principles. 1) Create a complete experience 2) Be positive 3) Be inclusive

Their first event with all 5 members was in March, 2006 at the Kava Lounge. The night was called Ishtar Rising. They managed to pack the house on a Sunday night. In addition to Danyavaad, The Shimmy Sisters, and DJ Sandbag, the event featured yoga contortionists and a psychic. The club was decorated with exotic tapestries, candles, flame bowls, and fog to give the event a mystical atmosphere. The show at Kava happened again in May. After that they performed their show for several months at a restaurant call Rosey and Joe’s. At there last show there in October of 2006 Sandy made his debut as bassist with the group. As luck would have it, the perfect DJ was also a skilled musician.

In November of 2006 the group began their monthly residence at Portugalia in Ocean Beach. The Brazialian/Portugese restaurant provided a great atmosphere and location for their new club called NOMADS. This Thursday event was also a big success from the first day. Word spread quickly through the beach community that there was an amazing middle eastern show with bellydancers. It was the perfect enviorment for a show where the audience in encouraged to join in as drummers as dancers at the end of the show.

In June 2007 Danyavaad and the Shimmy Sisters had the honor of being chosen for the cover of Vision Magazine for their article on Modern Day Gods And Goddesses. The article talked about the artistic, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of the festival scene in southern California. Sandy and his promotion company Sandcastle Events were mentioned in the article as well.

In addition to their monthly residence at Portugalia, Danyavaad and the Shimmy Sisters have performed at many private parties, corporate events, and outdoor festivals around southern California and northern Mexico. On August 17th, 2007 Danyavaad performed live for the first time at a bellydance convention. The event was Tribal Café in San Bernadino. Not only did the crowd love the music the band provided for the Shimmy Sisters, but the next dancer in the show told the MC she would rather improvise to Danyavaad than do choreography to her prerecorded CD tracks. So the band ended up playing 2 extra songs for the enthusiastic crowd.

In January 2008 Danyavaad released a 3 song EP CD containing the tracks –
“Eastern Road” “Danyavaad” and “Fairuza.” On Dec 5th, 2008 they released “March Of the Gypsies.” The CD/DVD package includes a 10 song CD and an hour long DVD featuring music videos, slide shows, and instructional segments for bellydance, sitar, dumbek, and bass.

In 2009 Danyavaad took the “March Of the Gypsies Tour” to Guadelupe Canyon in Mexico-
Sedona, Phoenix, and Tubac in Arizona - Los An