Tag Archives: Kurdish music

The Fantastical Musical Journey of Ozan

Ozan Aksoy – Ozan (2018)

The prodigious talents of Alevi Kurdish musician, singer and composer Ozan Aksoy is apparent from the opening strains of his upcoming November 2nd release of Ozan. Earning his chops early with saz lessons from father and later on with a spot in the group Kardeş Türküler, Mr. Aksoy soon found himself in New York pursuing a degree in ethnomusicology and whole new set of musical collaborators. On this lushly elegant recording charms out the riches of Kurdish, Turkish and Armenian musical traditions by way of folk tunes, love songs, laments and lullabies, carefully snagging western influences, Turkish Anatolian pop tunes and even flamenco riffs.

Mr. Aksoy remarks, “As an Alevi Kurdish musician playing the saz, and as an immigrant musician in the US, I was surrounded by many constraints including my cultural baggage. That burden is why I couldn’t make a solo album until now. But the time came. I wanted to share what I’ve been doing the past few years with the public. But I didn’t want to limit the sound of the album to a traditional box. I wanted to have collaborations with musicians from different parts of the world, who play jazz or other styles. It’s my way of being a Kurdish musician in New York.”

Luring listeners with vocals, bass guitar, ukulele, lavta (lute), saz (long-necked lute), kaval (flute), frame drums, percussion and keyboard, Mr. Aksoy furthers his sound on Ozan with guest musicians violinist Jeremy Brown, teff and claps by Ramzi El-Edlibi, pianist Tamara Kacheimeier, cellist Ani Kalayjian, classical guitarist Richard Miller, sarangi Shyam Nepali, vocalist Leah Shaw, drummer Jonathan Vergara and electric guitarist Luke Vichnis. Ozam is where Mr. Aksoy and company conjure up a musical landscape that bridges east and west, the traditional and the modern and where one music speaks to another.

 

Ozan Aksoy

 

This is a snapshot of where I am as an artist. I’m putting all these traditions together in an era of hatred and separation. I didn’t want to shy away from that. Ultimately, these songs speak to our political climate, in the U.S. and in Turkey. They are about immigration, human experience, universal sensations,” Aksoy notes. “This is my current mood. As I grow older, I want to turn attention to those essential emotions that are overlooked in modern life, the nostalgia, pain, suffering. And the hope; there is hope in there, too.”

Opening with “Rhythms of Loneliness,” Ozan takes off on a fantastical journey that is steeped in exotic strings and piano laced with ethereal vocals before giving way to the smooth and easy “Hope” laced with bold dashes of sarangi.

Equally delicious are tracks like the Mediterranean flavored and framed drum edged “Rinde,” the richly worked “Kanchum Em Ari Ari” with its soulful vocals and cello lines and the love song “Leyla.” Additionally, there are goodies like the Armeno-Turkish lament “Derzor Colleri” and the darkly plummy closing track “Dandini.”

Ozan is a remarkably rich musicscape and we can’t wait to find out what Mr. Aksoy has in store for us in the future.

Buy the Ozan digital version

Share

Artist Profiles: Ozan Aksoy

Ozan Aksoy

 

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, vocalist, author and ethnomusicologist Ozan Aksoy was born in Turkey and currently lives in New York. As a young boy, growing up in Turkey, he first learned to play the saz (lute) from his father, and soon established an extraordinary scope as a multi-instrumentalist. He became proficient in many of the string, woodwind, and percussive instruments of the region, including saz, oud, ney, and various drums.

Ozan acquired a passion for the music of ethnic and religious minorities in his country including the Kurds, Armenians, Laz, and Alevi, among others.

Afterwards, in college, as an early member of the critically-acclaimed ensemble Kardeş Türküler (meaning Ballads of Solidarity), Ozan and his colleagues performed the songs of these unrecognized and suppressed peoples, pushing the boundaries of inclusion in Turkey.

 

Ozan Aksoy

 

During his time with Kardeş Türküler, the group released four albums and toured extensively throughout Europe, spreading their message of diversity and acceptance.

Ozan subsequently relocated to the United States to complete a doctorate in ethnomusicology and further develop his multicultural repertoire.

In 2018 he released his long-awaited first solo album, Ozan, with lyrics in Turkish, Kurdish, and Armenian. Ozan performed most of the instruments and vocals on the album himself, although Ozan also features collaborations with acclaimed musicians, including Jeremy Brown, Ani Kalayjian, Richard Miller, and Shyam Nepali among others.

Ozan Aksoy has performed with various ensembles, including Columbia Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, CUNY Middle Eastern Music Ensemble, Ozan Aksoy Trio, Nour and Kardeş Türküler.

Discography:

With Kardeş Türküler:

Kardeş Türküler (Kalan Müzik, 1997)
Doğu – The East (Kalan Müzik, 1999)
Roj û Heyv (Kalan Müzik, 2000)
Hemâvâz (Kalan Müzik, 2002)

Solo:

Ozan (2018)

Share

Celebrated Vocalist Aynur to Perform in Manhattan

Aynur

Aynur, one of the leading musicians from Turkey and a prominent representative of the Kurdish people, is set to perform on Sunday, September 30, 2018 at the The New School – John L. Tishman Auditorium in Manhattan.

Aynur’s music is based on traditional Kurdish folk songs, many of them going back 300 years, which she combines with Western music. Her lyrics often describe the life and sufferings of Kurdish people, in particular women. The show is produced by World Music Institute.

Aynur has collaborated with artists such as Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Kayhan Kalhor, Javier Limón, Kinan Azmeh, and has appeared in the documentary film “The Music of Strangers” about Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble and in Fatih Akın’s documentary “İstanbul Hatırası / Köprüyü Geçmek-Crossing the bridges” as a singer.

Her discography includes Hawniyaz, Hevra (Together), Rewend and Keçe Kurdan.

For this concert, Aynur will be joined by clarinet virtuoso and composer Kinan Azmeh, who was trained in his native Damascus and is a graduate of New York’s Juilliard School and the City University of New York.

Tenbûr performer Cemîl Qoçgîrî and pianist Salman Gambarov also take the stage with Aynur and Kinan.

The New School – John L. Tishman Auditorium
63 Fifth Avenue, Room U100, Manhattan
Tickets

Share

Artist Profiles: Aynur

Aynur

Aynur Doğan, better known as Aynur, was born in 1975 in Çemisgezek, in the province of Tunceli. She attended ASM Music School in Istanbul, where she studied singing with Begüm Erdem and Askin Metiner. In 2002, her first album, Seyir was released.

Besides taking part in concerts and albums of artists and groups such as Metin-Kemal Kahraman, Grup Yorum, Anjelika Akbar and Orient Expressions, she also performed vocals for television and cinema.

She performed at home and abroad in both Kurdish and Turkish. Her album Keçe Kurdan – Kurdish Girl was released by Kalan Music in 2004.

The product of nearly a year’s effort, with arrangements by such master musicians as Aykut Gurel, Serdar Ataser, Kemal Sahir Gurel and Burhan Bayar, Aynur’s Keça Kurdan presented a combination of Turkish and Kurdish folk songs, as well as new compositions. Accompanied by a host of fine musicians, the album was notable for its original arrangements.

With her broad vocal range, Aynur performs both folk songs and improvisations, and her album has proved capable of deeply moving audiences.

Rising quickly to the top of Kurdish music albums, Keça Kurdan received a significant amount of attention, both in the Turkish and world press.

Attaining great success through the song she sang in Kurdish in Yavuz Turgul’s film Gönül Yarasi, Aynur became the first to sing a Kurdish song live in a film shot in Turkey. She was also featured in Fatih Akin’s 2005 documentary film Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul.

In May 2005, Aynur received great interest when she performed in various cities of Holland with the Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, considered the finest wind ensemble in the country. Later, she gave three concerts in the Festival of Turkey held in Spain in July 2005, alongside such artists as Aksu, Erkan Ogur, Kardeş Türküler, Mercan Dede and Burhan Ocal.

Aynur

Aynur also performed one song in Kardeş Türküler’s album Bahar (Kalan Muzik, 2005), and two songs in Mikail Aslan’s album, Miraz (Kalan Muzik, 2005). Her album Nûpel was released from Kalan Music at the end of 2005.

Aynur appeared in the 2015 documentary film “The Music of Strangers” about Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.

On March 16, 2017, Berklee College of Music’s Berklee Mediterranean Music Institute awarded Aynur with the Master of Mediterranean Music 2017 in recognition of her contribution to the preservation of Kurdish folk oral traditions, performing the traditional repertoire and combining it with other modern western styles, opening a new path to this Mediterranean style. Aynur’s faithfulness to traditional Kurdish music, and her perseverance in overcoming big challenges to follow her artistic path, make her an important example for other female artists seeking a creative voice in the Mediterranean music scene.

To hear Aynur’s voice is to hear the transformation of all the layers of human joy and suffering into one sound. It reaches so deep into our soul, tears into our hearts, and then we are for one moment, joined as one. It is unforgettable!” — Yo-Yo Ma

Discography:

Seyir (Türküola Müzik, 2001)
Keçe Kurdan – Kurdish Girl (Kalan Music, 2004)
Nûpel (Kalan Music, 2005)
Rewend (Sony Music, 2010)
Hevra – Together (Sony Music Classical, 2013)
Hawniyaz (Harmonia Mundi Latitudes, 2016)

Share

Acclaimed Vocalist Aynur Announces September 2018 North American Tour

Aynur in Hasanfeyf October 2009

Aynur, one of the great voices of the eastern Mediterranean, will be touring the United States and Canada in September 2018. Her ensemble includes Salman Gambarov on piano and Cemil Qoçgîrî on tenbur. Clarinetist Kinan Azmeh will be a special guest at New York concert.

Aynur is one of the leading musicians in Turkey. Her music is based on traditional Kurdish folk music, which she combines with Western music. Her lyrics often describe the life and struggles of Kurdish people, specially women. Her recordings include Hawniyaz, Hevra (Together), Rewend and Keçe Kurdan.

Aynur has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Kayhan Kalhor, Javier Limón, Kinan Azmeh, and appeared in the documentary film “The Music of Strangers” about Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.

Read more about Aynur.

Tour Dates

September 14, 2018 Cedar Rapids, IA,

September 15, 2018 Madison, WI

September 17, 2018 Minneapolis, MN
Cedar Cultural Center, 7:30PM

September 20 & 21, 2018 Toronto ON, CA
Aga Khan Museum, 8:00PM

September 22, 2018 Albuquerque, NM
National Hispanic Cultural Center, 7:00PM

September 23, 2018 San Francisco, CA
Marines’ Memorial Theatre, 7:00PM

September 26, 2018 Greencastle, IN
DePauw University

September 28, 2018 Bloomington, IN

September 29, 2018 Bloomington, IN

September 30, 2018 New York, NY
The John L. Tishman Auditorium

Share

Artist Profiles: Ali Akbar Moradi

Ali Akbar Moradi

Ali Akbar Moradi, from Kermanshah is the extraordinary tanbur player from Kurdistan of Iran. He has a unique style that sets him apart from other players of this ancient instrument. He’s a leading composer, teacher and a consummate performer of the sacred Kurdish music of Iran.

He has won many awards including two honorary diplomas at major music festivals in Iran. Moradi has performed as a soloist and with ensembles in festivals throughout the world.

Discography:

Fire of Passion, Kurdish Tanbur Music of Iran (1999)
Kurdaneh (2001)
Whisper (Kereshme, 2001)
Kurdish Music from Iran (Naive, 2002)
In The Mirror Of The Sky, with Kayhan Kalhor (World Village, 2004)
Goblet of Eternal Light (Traditional Crossroads, 2012)

Share

Artist Profiles: Kayhan Kalhor

Kayhan Kalhor

Kamancheh virtuoso and composer Kayhan Kalhor was born in Tehran (Iran). He began his musical studies at the age of seven. Kayhan Kalhor performed with the prestigious National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Iran and the Shayda Ensemble of the Chavosh Cultural Center while still a teenager.

Deeply devoted to the Iranian classical repertoire (radif), Kayhan Kalhor was further inspired to study regional folkloric traditions, which added additional dimensions to his improvisations and acted as springboards for cross-cultural explorations.

Since then, Kalhor has performed and recorded with Iran’s greatest instrumentalists and singers, including Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri, and toured the world as a soloist.

He co-founded the Dastan, Ghazal: Persian & Indian Improvisations, and Masters of Persian Music ensembles and has appeared with the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de Lyon.

He was the featured soloist on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth, a score on which he collaborated with Osvaldo Golijov.

Kayhan Kalhor is an original member of Yo-Yo Ma’s acclaimed Silk Road Ensemble and his works are heard on all of the ensemble’s albums.

The Shanghai Isaac Stern International Violin Competition, in Shanghai, China, awarded Kayhor the 2018 Isaac Stern Human Spirit award. The award celebrates individuals and groups, from any part of the world, who have made an outstanding contribution to our understanding of humanity through music.

Discography

* Eastern Apertures (1995)
* Lost Songs of the Silk Road, Ghazal (Shanachie, 1997)
* Scattering Stars Like Dust (Traditional Crossroads, 1998)
* As Night Falls on the Silk Road, with Ghazal (Shanachie, 1998)
* Through Eternity, with Dastan (Sounds True, 1999)
* Moon Rise over the Silk Road, with Ghazal (Shanachie, 2000)
* Night Silence Desert, with Mohammed Reza Shajarian (Traditional Crossroads, 2000)
* Caravan, with Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch Records, 2000)
* Silk Road Journeys, with Yo-Yo Ma and Silk Road Ensemble (Sony Classical, 2001)
* Without You, with Masters of Persian Music (World Village, 2002)
* The Rain, with Ghazal(ECM, 2003)
* Beyond the Horizon, Silk Road Ensemble (Sony Classical, 2004)
* In the Mirror of the Sky, with Ali Akbar Moradi (World Village, 2004)
* Faryad, with Masters of Persian Music (World Village, 2005)
* The Wind, with Erdal Erzincan (ECM, 2006)
* New Impossibilities, with Silk Road Ensemble (Sony Classical, 2007)
* Silent City (World Village, 2008)
* Off the Map, with Silk Road Ensemble (2009)
* Voices of the Shades, Madjid Khaladj (2011)
* I Will Not Stand Alone, with Ali Bahrami Fard (World Village, 2012)
* Kula Kulluk Yakişir Mi, with Erdal Erzincan (2013)
* Sing me home, with Silk Road Ensemble (Sony Masterworks, 2016)
* Hawiniyaz (Harmonia mundi, 2016)

Video

The Music of Strangers, with Silk Road Ensemble (2016)

Web site: www.kayhankalhor.net

Share