San Francisco, California, USA – Troubadour (Golden Horn Records) represents Mesut Özgen’s first major release. The album is aptly named – Özgen’s own journey has carried his music from his native Turkey, through Spain, Connecticut and Arizona, to his present home in Santa Cruz (California). “Many troubadours traveled for great distances, aiding in the transmission of news and culture from one region to the other,” says Özgen.
The opening track, “Variations on an Anatolian Folk Song” by Domeniconi is based on a Turkish folk song written by Asik Veysel, a renowned 20th century representative of the Asik (troubadour) tradition. “The Asiks…singing their own or others’ poetry and playing saz, has become the voice of common people…” Anthony Newman’s work “Gigue” shows Özgen’s fondness for the eclectic and new. Composer Benjamin Verdery describes “Gigue” as “written in Newman’s system of substitute harmonies, and features series of short rhythmic cells that when put together give the effect of an Indian raga.”
The final track is Pratorius’ trilogy “Sonata: Ondas do Mar de Vigo,” which
is based on a Spanish song by the Portuguese medieval troubadour Martin Codax.
Troubadour was performed on a 1995 Simon Marty guitar, with the exception of the
song “Misionera,” which used a 2003 Gil Carnal guitar.