A Story of the City…Constantinople, Istanbul (Dunya, 2011)
One of the most interesting releases scheduled for November 2011 is the two CD set titled A Story of the City…Constantinople, Istanbul. The Turkish city has one foot in Europe and another foot in Asia, in an area sometimes called Asia Minor. Before Istanbul, the city was known as Byzantium and later as Constantinople. This rich and turbulent history has made Istanbul a musical crossroads, where western music meets the sounds of the Middle East.
A Story of the City…Constantinople, Istanbul has a hard cover book format and contains two CDs and an extensive booklet. The musicians behind the project are Boston-based Dünya, who are joined by Schola Cantorum and Ensemble Trinitas.
Disc 1 focuses on the Christian period, when the city was known as Byzantium and later Constantinople. The musical selection includes atonal transformations of ancient Greek music, mesmerizing sacred music from the Greek Orthodox rite as well as Crusader ballads.
After Constantinople fell, it was named Istanbul by its new rulers. Disc 2 offers an overview of the rich heritage found in Ottoman Turkey. This includes Ottoman court music, folk music from Anatolia, mystical Sufi music and the sounds of the Greek, Armenian and Sephardic Jewish minorities.
“I think that the rich diversity reflected in this album will be appreciated by Americans,” reflects Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, musical director and co-founder of Dünya. “Through that appreciation, I am sure the American view of the Near and Middle East will change.”
The booklet will explain which musicians are involved in different parts of the album. Dünya has various ensemble formats and musicians vary accordingly. The liner notes also describe the musical history and instruments used.
A Story of the City…Constantinople, Istanbul is an extraordinary recording that provides a contemporary vision of the rich musical traditions of Istanbul and ancient Constantinople.
The album is available at dunya.bandcamp.com