Tag Archives: Baba Zula

Artist Profiles: Baba Zula

Baba Zula

Baba Zula was founded in 1996 by Levent Akman (percussion, rhythm machines, toys), Murat Ertel (saz and other strings, vocal) and Emre Onel (darbuka, sampler, vocal) in Istanbul, was joined by Oya Erkaya (bass guitar, vocal in 2003.

With its specifically unique sound created by melding traditional Turkish musical instruments with electronic elements, Baba Zula has brought a brand new dimension to Turkish Folk Music. Baba Zula’s music is basically an amalgamation of recorded natural sounds with both traditional and modern acoustic and electronic musical instruments, a culmination of disparate electronic effects. Starting out by improvisations, later fixed into musical elements which make up their music such as theme, tune, style and sound, reached through recordings and rehearsals, the group has carried this method of ‘defined improvisation’ into concerts, movies, theatrical plays, use of video, slides and films, prepared by the additional members who have joined forces with the core group in its live performances.

The group, which from the very beginning has shown great interest in featuring guest musicians and players in concerts and albums, has been accompanied by stars such as the Thracian Selim Sesler (clarinet master), the Canadian singer Brenna McCrimmon (specialized in Balkan folk music), Fahrettin Aykut (drummer), Tuncel Kurtiz (movie star and player), Ahmet Uğurlu (movie star and player), Ralph Carney from San Francisco (saxophonist) and the diva Semiha Berksoy (first Turkish opera singer and painter).

Baba Zula’s debut album, ‘ Tabutta Rovasata = Somersault in the Coffin’ (Ada Music), including the original soundtrack for dervis Zaim’s first movie with the same title about a car thief who returned the cars he stole to their owners and fell in love with a peacock, was released in 1996. The album also includes four songs in which the movie stars Ahmet Ugurlu, Tuncel Kurtiz and Aysel Aydemir contribute in vocals.

Their album, ‘ 3 Oyundan 17 Muzik’ (Doublemoon) comprising music created for the plays ‘ The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint Exupery, ‘ Frog Tales’ by Arnold Lobel and ‘ Kitchen Accidents’ by Perihan Mağden, was released in 1999. Apart from a number of other artists, Ralph Carney, Brenna McCrimmon and Selim Sesler have also taken part in this album as guest stars. Baba Zula, who has also made the music for the film ‘ Renkli Turkye = Colored and in Turkish’, directed by Ahmet Cad#rc# and about a movie mechanic falling in love with an ex-pornstar, has also taken stage in Britain and Macedonia. Baba Zula also opened Manu Chao concert which took place in June 22 during Efes Pilsen Summer Festival.

Levent Akman and Murat Ertel of Baba Zula were invited to Cologne, Germany to perform with two German musicians Gerard Doeke and Norbert Torzik at the Mediteranneen Film Festival on the 6th and 8th of December

In April 23, Baba Zula did a concert at the Festival of ‘Printemps de Bourges’ in front of fifty thousand spectators.

Zen, Baba Zula members former band (Levent Akman and Murat Ertel) received the ‘best original score’ award for ‘Dokuz / Nine’ (Turkish Cinema Writers Association) and Ankara International Film Festival in January 23.

Their third and latest album ‘Psychebelly Dance Music released in May 23 was mixed and mastered by the British musician and producer Mad Professor who previously worked with Massive Attack , The Orb, Lee Perry and alikes. Their fourth album ‘ Duble Oryantal’ which is released on Doublemoon Records by the end of May 25, is again mixed and mastered by Mad Professor

The band played at Roskilde Festival on 3rd of July, 24. The band also appeared in the Golden Bear award winner, film director Fatih Ak#n’s new documentary on the sounds of Istanbul, played and recorded with Einstuerzende Neubauten’s Alexander Hacke.

Discography

Tabutta Rovasata – Somersault in the Coffin (Ada Music, 1996)

Uc Oyundan 17 Muzik (Doublemoon, 1999)

Psychebelly Dance Music (Doublemoon 2003)

Duble Oryantal (Doublemoon 2005)

Dondurmam Gaymak, soundtrack (Rh Pozitif, 2006)

Kökler (Doublemoon, 2007)

Gecekondu (Doublemoon, 2010)

34 Oto Sanayi/Do Not Obey (2014)

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World Music Showcase from Montreal International Jazz Festival 2016!

The Montreal International Jazz Festival, now in its 37th edition, is regarded as the world’s largest jazz festival. The music lineup includes ambassadors of jazz and blues – as well as a generous dose of artistes in world music and fusion. See my write-up from last year’s edition here; fans of jazz and world music can check out my app ‘Oktav’ as well, a collection of witty quotes about music (available on Apple iTunes and Android).

The 2016 edition of MIJF featured artistes from Canada, USA, Japan, Norway, Turkey, Mexico, Senegal, Mauritania, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti and Guadeloupe. The festival organizers estimate that the acts drew two million attendees, spread over 10 days and two dozen venues. The long summer days of late June and early July made for perfect outdoor performances, along with ticketed indoor events as well.

Check out some of the highlights in this photo tour of MIJF 2016, and make sure you attend the 2017 edition!

Daby Toure
Daby Toure – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

Paris-based Mauritanian singer-songwriter Daby Toure kicked off Day One of MIJF 2016. He delivered a pleasing set of ‘Afropean’ music, featuring tracks from five of his albums, and occasionally drummed on his guitar as well. He has earlier founded the group Touré Touré, and sings in Fulani, Soninke and Wolof.

 

Mashrou Leila
Mashrou Leila – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

Formed in Beirut, Arabic alt-rock group Mashrou’ Leila played to a packed concert hall with their blend of indie rock, ballads and electronica. Their music has addressed topics such as politics, social taboos and religion in the Middle East.

 

Ceu
Ceu – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

Ceu – Maria do Céu Whitaker Poças – was born into a distinguished Brazilian musical family, and began her career at the age of 15. Her indoor set at MIJF drew fans from across North America, and she performed a mix of Brazilian popular music, samba, reggae and electronica. Her albums include Vagarosa and Ao Vivo.

 

Denis Chang
Denis Chang – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

Guitarist Denis Chang draws on gypsy jazz influences such as Django Reinhardt, and has studied with Fapy Lafertin, Ritary Gaguenetti and Emmanuel Kassimo. He performs across Europe and the US, and has released a series of educational DVDs. He performed two sets at MIJF 2016 in an intimate indoor café.

 

Cuban Martinez Band
Cuban Martinez Band – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

The Cuban Martinez Band had the crowd on their feet with an infectious set of salsa, merengue, bachata and more. Anchored by Yordan Martinez, the band performed in an astonishing venue at the back of a church near the jazz district!

 

Orchestre Tropicana D’Haiti
Orchestre Tropicana D’Haiti – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

A Haitian institution since 1963, the Orchestre Tropicana d’Haïti is a legendary big band on a 50-year mission to showcase and enhance Haitian culture. Their recent release is Bravo Tropic, and the band had the audience on their feet for a set of sensuous hip-swaying dance.

 

Samito
Samito – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

Samito is a singer-songwriter from Montreal, whose music blends acoustica and electronica. The lyrics and style are reflective of his upbringing in Maputo. Samito sang in Portuguese, French, English and Xitswa, offering a textured set of commentary on the changing times.

 

Lila Downs
Lila Downs – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

Born in Mexico and raised in California, award-winning singer-songwriter Lila Downs performed a sold-out standing-room only set reflecting her deep studies of musicology as well as stage charisma. Cumbia, jazz, ballads and stunning visual animation set the tone for commentary on women’s rights, immigration and poverty in Mexico. Her albums include Pecados y Milagros and Balas y Chocolate.

 

Baba Zula
Baba Zula – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

One of the extraordinary bands at MIJF 2016 was Baba Zula, with a mix of Turkish dub and psychedelia. Traditional Turkish instruments, wild costumes and theatrical delivery regaled the audience and provided them with a sense of Istanbul’s underground cult movement.

 

Mariachi Flor de Toloache
Mariachi Flor de Toloache – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

Mariachi Flor de Toloache, named for the legendary Toloache flower of Mexico, is an all-female mariachi band. They were nominated for the Latin Grammy in 2015. Their original costumes and ambience blended with modern takes on classic and contemporary tunes, and had the audience clapping and chanting along loudly during their two outdoor sets.

 

Malika Tirolien
Malika Tirolien – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

Singer-songwriter Malika Tirolien from Guadeloupe performed a superb outdoor set. She had the audience on their feet for a smooth mix of Afro-Caribbean jazz and urban beat.

 

Ilam
Ilam – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

Young Senegalese singer-composer Ilam has already won a range of awards in Canada, and receives wide radio airplay. His spicy outdoor set of reggae, blues, Afro-folk, pop and rock kept the audience dancing even during a slight shower; concert-goers were rewarded with a beautiful rainbow afterwards.

 

Makaya
Makaya – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

Pianist David Bontemps heads Montreal-based Afro-Caribbean jazz band Makaya. Formed in 2006, the quintet includes percussionist Cydric Féréol, guitarist and singer Jude Deslouches, bassist Nicolas Bédard and congas player Emmanuel Delly. Caribbean rhythms blended with jazz and Creole during their MIJF set; the band has also performed at Montréal’s Creole Festival and released their first album in 2009.

 

AfroDizz - Photo by Madanmohan Rao
AfroDizz – Photo by Madanmohan Rao

 

AfroDizz was one of the most sensational bands at MIJF 2016. This Montreal group is anchored by jazz guitarist Gabriel Aldama, who is deeply influenced by Nigerian Afrobeat maestro Fela Kuti. The eight musicians delivered a superb set of Afrobeat, jazz and funk. Their albums include Kif Kif, Froots (2006) and Sounds from Outer Space.

More about the festival at www.montrealjazzfest.com

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