THE AWISS DANCE – رقصة العويص


Wajdi Abou Diab – Music and video
Dustin White – Bass Flute

The world premiere performance was given on April 16, 2021, at West Virginia University’s Bloch Hall by Dustin White.
The Piece is included in the “RI Ra” album after winning the call for score by Dustin White for his album project.
“The Awiss Dance” Opus 13A, is a piece for solo bass flute, based on the traditional ancient Arabic rhythm called “Al Awiss”, consists of an 11/8 meter that gives the music a moving forward feeling, combined with one of the most expressive Arabic scales (Maqamat) called “Saba”.
The piece used the bass flute as a melodic instrument to call the ancient Arab world, using some microtonal elements that come from the nature of Arabic maqam music and also used as a percussion instrument to introduce the Awiss rhythm and the camel dance spirit.
Starting with a “Mawwal”- a group of small improvised melodic phrases that Arabic singers used to start with it their performances – in which we can hear the flutist sing on the instrument while playing it.
Then, moving along to introduce the rhythmic elements using some of the most percussive techniques on the flute, and gradually adding the melodic elements, first with half sound half air (resembling the Arabic old instrument “Shabbaba” that is well known for its very breathy sound), then with full sound, in addition to the clear rhythmic accent that keeps the “Awiss” pulse alive.


The album flows nicely, rising to a head on the penultimate track, Diab’s The Awiss Dance (2020), based on an ancient rhythm used by Arabian tribesmen to make horses and camels dance. It’s a wonderful piece that may have you get up from your seat to match its percussive flair. How often can you say that about a flute album?

An excerpt from the Nomination of Dustin White CD “Rira” as AnEarful‘s Best of 2021: Classical list

Bringing sonic variety to the album is Wajdi Abou Diab’s The Awiss Dance. Abou Diab writes beautifully for the bass flute, playing to its strengths as both a melodic and percussive instrument. The opening combines short melodies with vocal drone in a Mawaal, a group of improvised phrases common to traditional Arabic performances. The fast-paced rhythmic selections, based on the traditional Arabic rhythm Al Awiss, are riveting. Abou Diab requires the flutist to play numerous techniques in rapid succession, a challenge in coordination and endurance that White tackles with energetic precision.

An excerpt from the review on Dustin White CD “Rira” on the “Flute view magazin

Published by wajdiaboudiab

Wajdi Abou Diab is a composer of classical contemporary music, musicologist, educator, and conductor who believes in music as a way to build our cultural future while keeping us connected to our cultural history.

One thought on “THE AWISS DANCE – رقصة العويص

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s