Ishtar is Pittsburgh's BellyRock Band. Ishtar is comprised of Melissa Murphey on clarinet, Jeff Chmielarski on electric bass, Kendall Williams on guitar, Owen Dougan-Bascha on cajone and Geoff Thomas on darbuka.
Playing their own unique interpretation of Vintage Middle Eastern and Mediterranean folk melodies, Ishtar performs songs that were popular in the bellydancing nightclub scene during the mid-20th century. This exceptional fusion of traditional songs with surf rock elements has become: BellyRock.
In 2008, Ishtar was voted as Pittsburgh's Best Underground Band by the readers of the City Paper!
The band has performed at several local locations: The Warhol Museum, The Brillobox, Club Café, Zenith, The Sphinx Cafe, Backstage Bar, Khalil's, Shadow Lounge, Istanbul Grille, Hookah Bookah, The Altar Bar, Your Inner Vagabond, Azure Cafe, The 31st Street Pub, Howler's Coyote Cafe, Gooski's, Bloomfield Bridge Tavern, Papa Davinici's Kitchen, Istanbul Sofra, The Thunderbird Cafe, Modern Formations Gallery and Mr Small's Theater.
Ishtar has played for events in Morgantown WV, Akron OH, Charleston SC, Baltimore MD, and Charlotte NC. Since 2007, Ishtar has performed to record breaking crowds at the Washington DC Turkish Festival. Ishtar was the featured performing group at the Turkish American Student Association dinner for Turkish Republic Day.
In 2012, Ishtar completed a two-week tour to New Orleans with stops in Greenbelt, MD, Richmond VA, Athens GA, Raleigh-Durham NC, Nashville TN and Cincinnati OH.
In 2014, Ishtar was the featured band at the Tap Root Public House Bellydance show in Anchorage AK with dancer Rabia.
Ishtar has had the distinction of sharing the stage with Kagero, Ana-Vey, Bellyqueen, Agnes Wired For Sound, Mandrake Project, PhatManDee, Polka Freakout, Guy Klucevsek & Alan Bern, Shtreiml, Tipton's Sax Quartet, Black Bear Combo and Raquy & the Cavemen.
Ishtar has had the honor of playing for the world renowned dancers: Artemis Mourat, Ashara, Tamalyn Dallal, Sherena, Rabia, Malia, and Jill Parker. From 2011-2015, Ishtar was the house band for the annual bellydance event Art of the Belly held in Ocean City MD.
Presently, Ishtar plays at Rakassah East and Spring Caravan bellydance festivals held in Somerset NJ.
Ishtar is available to play for any event as well as specific dancer performances.
For more information or to book Ishtar, please email firstname.lastname@example.org