Sinan Cem Eroğlu and Muhlis Berberoğlu – Hemdem (Ahenk Müzik, 2018)
Hemdem is a remarkable album by two extraordinary Turkish multi-instrumentalists. The two virtuoso artists play a wide range of string instruments from Turkey and the West. Musically, Hemdem combines Turkish and Middle Eastern modes with western influences.
Throughout the album, Sinan Cem Eroğlu and Muhlis Berberoğlu tastefully interweave acoustic instruments and modern devices like the electric guitar and the mesmerizing electric baglama.
The lineup on the album includes Sinan Cem Eroğlu on fretless guitar, electric guitar, kaval, e-bow, and vocals and Muhlis Berberoğlu on electric baglama, tambura, and vocals.
Hemdem is an exquisite, masterfully-crafted album by two talented Turkish music innovators.
Ross Daly and Kelly Thoma – Lunar (Labyrinth, 2017)
Lunar is a superb 2-CD album by influential musician, composer and Crete-based world traveler Ross Daly and one of his most distinguished students, Cretan artist Kelly Thoma.
Most of the music on Lunar consists of mesmerizing and circular original compositions by Daly, who is deeply inspired by the musics of the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily Greece and Turkey, and Central and South Asia.
Ross Daly is a multi-instrumentalists who plays a wide range of musical instruments from Greece, Turkey, Afghanistan and other parts of the globe. One of his specialties is the lyra and Afghan rabab. On Lunar, Daly is joined by Kelly Thoma on soprano lyra and percussionists Saam Schlamminger, Marija Katsouna and Zohar Fresco on bendir frame drums. The fascinating sound of the bendir is a perfect fit for Daly’s music, creating an overall spellbinding effect.
Omar Faruk Tekbilek, one of the greatest artists in the world music scene is set to perform on Saturday, April 14, 2018, at 8.30pm at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Omar Faruk Tekbilek will perform his remarkable combination of traditional Sufi, traditional folk and contemporary music from Turkey and the Middle East.
The lineup includes Omar Faruk Tekbilek on ney, vocals, baglama, zurna and percussion; Hasan Isakkut on kanun; Itamar Erez on guitar and piano; River Guerguerian on drums and percussion; and Murat Tekbilek on percussion. Special Guests: Brian Keane on guitar and Ara Dinkjian on ud.
Omar Faruk Tekbilek’s most recent CD is “Love Is My Religion.”
57th Street & 7Th Ave,
New York City, New York
Minor Empire – Uprooted (World Trip Records, 2017)
Minor Empire’s impressive new album Uprooted is hard to categorize as it straddles various musical genres. It’s been described as Turkish psychedelia and world music as well.
Based in Canada, Minor Empire brings together Turkish traditional music and progressive, trance-like guitar sounds that take the listener to other realms.
The group’s sound is characterized by the graceful, otherworldly vocals of lyricist Özgü Özman and the spellbinding guitars and electronics of music composer Ozan Boz. Tradition meets cutting edge technology.
The lineup on Uprooted includes Özgü Özman on vocals; Ozan Boz on electric guitar, percussion and electronics; Michael Occhipinti on electric guitar; Chris Gartner on electric bass; Ben Riley on drums; and Patrick Graham on global percussion.
The CD booklet includes the lyrics in Turkish and English-language translations.
Uprooted is a finely crafted, deeply mesmerizing album rooted in Turkish traditions.
Born in Istanbul, Senem Diyici was well known in Turkey as a classical and traditional singer. She later moved to Germany and then in France in 1982. In 1987 she met the jazz guitarist and composer Alain Blesing and in 1989 she recorded on his arrangements on her first album in Europe Takalar in a sextet with the famous Turkish drummer Okay Temiz and some of the best musicians of the new European jazz scene.
In 1991 she wanted to explore new musical directions and created her main band the Senem Diyici 4tet. After fourteen years Senem has performed in more than 1 concerts clubs or festivals all around the world and has recorded 7 albums all awarded by the professional milieu.
Senem has also made guest appearances on many other projects for theater movie or other albums. In 2002 she founded the brass orchestra OctoBando dedicated to the meetings between jazz improvisation and Balkan music.
Each year she performs in many concerts with the 4tet OctoBando or in duet with Alain Blesing and since 2003 she has started to work with the Turkish percussionist Lari Dilmen.
Her album Live!, released on Buda Musique came out in 2005 and a new live DVD in January 2007.
Gest / Jest (Wad 1992)
Divan (Artalent 1995)
Images du Desert, with Alain Blesing (Artalent 1995) Tell me Trabizon (Buda Musique 1998) Takalar (la Lichere 1989 / Kalan Muzik 2000)
Morceaux Choisis (Buda Musique 2000)
Zip Cikti with Lari Dilmen (Ada Muzik 2003)
Live! (Buda Musique 2005)
Salih Bilgin is one of the leading ney virtuosos in Turkey today. Bilgin is the primary student of Niyazi Sayin, the greatest living ney player and an expert on Mevlevi Sufimusic with whom he still studies ney making ebru (marbling) and tesbih (prayer beads).
He has performed internationally with the Romeiko Ensemble, the Istanbul Tasavvuf Music and Semah Ensemble and the Istanbul Government Classical Music Chorus.
His extensive recording work brought him into collaboration with Melihat Gulses, Derya Turkan and Huseyin Tuncel. He performs with the Cantemir Ensemble.
Omer Erdoğdular started studying music while still a child. He was born in Konya and grew up in Istanbul, initially learning ney from his father. In 1965 he began studying with Umit Gurelman and soon after started lessons with Niyazi Sayin which continued for many years. In the following two decades he participated in many radio and TV programs orchestras and concerts in a period when ney just began to be rediscovered in Turkey.
In 1980 he first appeared in concert with the famous soloist Bekir Sitki Sezgin and from then on played in most of his concerts. From 1984 to 1987 Omer Erdoğdular was a neyzen in Ministry of Culture’s Classical Turkish Music Chorus. He made several recordings among them with tanburi Necdet Yaşar and kemence player Ihsan Ezgen.
In 1987 he became a member of the Ministry of Culture’s State Classical Turkish Music Ensemble founded by Necdet Yaşar of which he is still an active member. As a soloist a member of the State Classical Turkish Music Ensemble and also the Necdet Yaşar Ensemble, Omer Erdoğdular performed around Turkey and in Europe, United States, Japan and the Middle East, participating in various festivals concerts and recitals.
He devotes a significant amount of his time to teaching both in Istanbul Turkey and in seminars abroad such as the annual Labyrinth Musical Workshop in Greece, Makamhane in Austria and the Sufi Music Retreat in the United States of America.
Omar Faruk Tekbilek was born in 1951 in Adana, Turkey to a musical family who nurtured his precocious talents. At the age of eight he began his musical career by developing proficiency on the kaval a small diatonic flute. “My brother was a born musician,” Faruk recalls. “He was really my guru my inspiration.” His brother Hadji played the flute but as he grew up Faruk found himself drawn to other instruments as well.
At the same time, Omar studied religion with thoughts of becoming a cleric or Imam. His musical interests were being nurtured by his older brother and by a sympathetic uncle who owned a music store and who provided lessons. “He had a music store and he also had another job during the day. So he told me to come after school open the store and – in exchange – he gave me lessons.”
While working in the store Omar Faruk learned the intricate rhythms of Turkish music how to read scales and other rudiments. He was trained on and eventually mastered several instruments: ney (bamboo flute), zurna (double-reed oboe like instrument with buzzing tone), the baglama (long-necked lute), the ud (the Middle Eastern lute), as well as percussion. By the age of twelve he began performing professionally at local hot spots.
“Because it was a border town,” Faruk recalls, “Philosophers artists actors and all other members of the cultural intelligentsia were attracted there. This explains why so many great musicians have come from my town. My city was rich with cultural opportunities so I was very lucky.”
In 1967, upon turning sixteen he moved to Istanbul where he and his brother spent the following decade as in-demand session musicians. Omar Faruk stayed true to his folkloric roots but during this period of frenetic session work in the metropolitan music scene he explored Arabesque, Turkish and Western styles and the compositional potential of the recording studio. In Istanbul he also met the Mevlevi Dervishes, the ancient Sufi order of Turkey. He did not join the order but the head Neyzen (ney player) Aka Gunduz Kutbay became another source of inspiration. Omar Faruk was profoundly influenced by their mystical approach and fusion of sound and spirit. During that time he was introduced to Hatha Yoga and eventually to Tai Chi and Chi Qong which he continues to practice daily.
Omar Faruk’s skills in the studio blossomed in Istanbul playing with some of the leading Turkish musicians of the day including Orhan Gencebay flute and saxophone player Ismet Siral percussionist Burhan Tonguc and singers Ahmet Sezgin, Nuri Sesiguzel, Mine Kosan and Huri Sapan to name a few.
After establishing himself as one of the top session musicians in Turkey he began touring Europe and Australia. By 1971 at the age of 20 he made his first tour of the United States as a member of a Turkish classical/folk ensemble. It was while touring in the USA that he met his future wife Suzan and in 1976 he relocated to upstate New York to marry her.
Omar Faruk found very few options for a Turkish musician in the USA so he formed a band called the Sultans with an Egyptian keyboardist, a Greek bouzouki player and his brother-in-law on percussion. It started as a pop band but very quickly turned into a sort of Pan-Near Eastern ensemble. They began to attract some attention within the circle of Middle Eastern dance fans. They managed to record five albums during this time but Omar Faruk was still unknown outside his local musical community.
This was all about to change with the fateful meeting with Brian Keane in 1988. Keane released an album in 1988, Suleyman the Magnificent. A film was being made about the Ottoman emperor Suleyman to coincide with the opening of an exhibition at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Brian Keane was hired to do the soundtrack. “I knew I wanted to incorporate Turkish instruments and players,” he recalls, “but the Met saddled me with a bunch of professors; all intellect and no emotion.”
Desperate to move the recording along, Keane called Arif Mardin, the legendary Turkish producer of the Bee Gees, Aretha Franklin and so many others and asked if he knew any Turkish musicians. Mardin didn’t. “But two or three days later he called and said his cooks went to Fazil’s, a belly dance club in Manhattan. So I went for five nights and suffered through really bad belly dance music. Then one night Faruk shows up looking like he was right off the boat. (In fact he had just driven down from Rochester, New York, over 33 miles away.) You could tell immediately that he was different. His playing was so emotional; he really stood out.”
Keane had already seen the opening of the film and knew what he wanted, the mystical sound of the Sufi flute or ney added to his own synthesizer. As far as he knew, this combination hadn’t been done before, but Keane invited Tekbilek to his studio to try it. “When Faruk started playing,” he said, “the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. It was magic from the start.” Their very first take became the opening of the movie and the recording. Faruk brought in some of his friends and the soundtrack was soon finished. In the following years, he and Keane would produce another six recordings, together launching Omar Faruk boldly into the world music scene.
Omar Faruk Tekbilek has since established himself as one of the world’s foremost exponents of Middle Eastern music. A multi-instrumentalist par excellence, he has collaborated with a number of leading musicians of international repute such as jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, keyboard player Karl Berger, former Cream rock drummer Ginger Baker, Ofra Haza, Simon Shaheen, Hossam Ramzy, Glen Velez, Bill Laswell, Mike Mainieri, Peter Erskine, Trilok Gurtu, Jai Uttal and Steve Shehan among others. He has contributed to numerous film and TV scores and to many recordings, including world sacred music albums and has been touring extensively throughout the Middle East, Europe, Australia, North and South America.
Alif (2001) was produced by Steve Shehan. Alif is the first letter of the Arabic alphabet and it also signifies the first letter for Allah. The seventh song and title track is a Sufi masterpiece of devotional love in all its forms – divine love romantic love and love of life. This is the theme running through the album’s 12 songs. The album includes Hadji Atmet Tekbilek, Mamak Khadem and Flamenco guitarist Jose Antonio Rodriguez Muñoz.
In 2005 he released The Tree of Patience which features Flamenco legend Enrique Morente, percussion master Arto Tuncboyaciyan, Ara Dinkjian, ambient music innovator Steve Roach and Hansan Isakkut. “I have a picture I carry in my mind,” Omar Faruk Tekbilek revealed. “I call it The Tree of Patience.”
Omar Faruk is the recipient of the Best Artist of the Turkish Music Award 2003 from the Turkish Writers Association. He is also the recipient of the US Golden Belly Musician-Of-The-Year-Award for 1998 and again for 1999.
Suleyman The Magnificent (Celestial Harmonies, 1988) Fire Dance (Celestial Harmonies, 1990) Whirling (Celestial Harmonies, 1994)
Gypsy Fire, with Hagopian (Traditional Crossroads 1995) Mystical Garden (Celestial Harmonies 1996) Crescent Moon (Celestial Harmonies 1998)
One Truth (Hearts of Space 1999)
Dance into Eternity (Celestial Harmonies 2000)
One with Yuval Ron Yair Dalal (Magda 2003)
Alif – Love Supreme (Narada World Select 1198 2002) The Tree of Patience (White Swan, 2005)
Rare Elements (Remixes) (5 Points Records 2009)
Kelebek – Butterfly soundtrack (Celestial Harmonies 2009)Love Is My Religion (Alif Records, 2017)
Okay Temiz was born in 1939 near Istanbul, Turkey. His family moved to Ankara, where he grew up. Temiz studied drumms and percussion at the Ankara conservatory. He began his professional career as a member of show groups with which he toured North Africa, the Near East and all of Turkey. In Europe, Okay Temiz felt especially at ease in Scandinavia and adopted both Sweden and Finland as second homes. At an early stage he regarded himself as an ‘international’ – what today would be called a world musician – and succeeded in bringing together widely differing musical influences.
In the late 1960s, American trumpet player Don Cherry – who took great interest in African and Asian cultures – heard the Okay Temiz play in Stockholm. The incident sparked a collaboration which would last many years. In the mid-1970s, Temiz founded the Ensemble Oriental Wind, a regular and successful guest on the concert stages of Europe throughout the years of its existence. Oriental Wind is described as ethno jazz or world jazz.
Just as he has often invited European musicians to make guest performances in Turkey, Temiz has repeatedly introduced Eastern musicians to Europe primarily people whose musical roots are in the folklore of their country.
The zurna has accompanied Temiz throughout his life; its sounds being associated with the most exciting incidents of his childhood – celebrations dances and holidays. In the 1970s Temiz frequently performed in Scandinavia with Binali Selman, a renowned zurna player from Eastern Turkey. In the 1980s he worked with another zurna player in Stockholm – Ziya Aytekin from the northeastern part of their homeland. In 1996/7 following his return to Turkey, Temiz met a young zurna player from the country’s west Ahmet Özden whom he regards as one of the greatest living masters of this difficult instrument.
In 1998, Temiz he recorded the album Karsilama with davul drums and zurnas. He carried out a similar project in Finland in 1995 with his Magnetic Band, a Scandinavian-Turkish ensemble.
Okay Temiz regularly presents percussion workshops for both adults and children.
Drummer of two worlds (Finnadar Records, 1975)
Yonca (YCS, 1976)
Oriental Wind (Sonet, 1977)
Live in der Balver Höhle, with Oriental Wind (JG Records, 1978) Zikir, with Oriental Wind (Sun Records, 1979)
Chila-Chila, with Oriental Wind (Sonet, 1979) Bazaar, with Oriental Wind (Sonet, 1981) Live in Bremen, with Oriental Wind (JA&RO Records, 1981)
Life road, with Oriental Wind (JA&RO Records, 1983)
Sankirna, with Oriental Wind (Sonet, 1984)
Derviş (Ada Müzik, 1989)
Misket (Sonet, 1989)
Istanbul da Eylül (La Lichere, 1989)
Fis fis tziganes (La Lichere, 1989)
Magnetic dance (Bayar Müzik Üretim, 1990) Green wave (Uzelli, 1992)
In Finland 1995 (Ano Kato Records, 1995)
Karsilama (Ada Müzik, 1998)
Black spot (Kala, 1998)
Black Sea Art Project (Ada Müzik, 2001)
Darbukas & Zurnas (Ada Müzik, 2002)
Mehteran (Ada Müzik, 2002)
Kuzeyden Güneye Yansımalar “Senfoni” (Ada Müzik, 2002)
Okay Temiz ve Ritim Atölyesi (Ada Müzik, 2002)
Kemenche player Neva Ozgen made history with the first solo instrumental recording by a female artist in the Turkish classical music world. On her debut CD Legacy, Neva Ozgen played the kemenche accompanied by her father Ihsan Ozgen on the tanbur and rebab. Though all three instruments are traditional to Turkish classical music this album once more breaks ground as there exist only a very few previous recordings of the Turkish rebab.
On Legacy, Neva and Ihsan Ozgen performed the taksim, the traditional Turkish art of improvisation with the classical works of composers such as Nai Osman Dede, Neyzen Salih Dede and Ismail Dede Efendi among others.
As the daughter of the highly-respected Turkish classical musician Ihsan Ozgen, Neva Ozgen grew up surrounded by music. Though she began her musical studies in the Western classical traditions Neva Ozgen soon became drawn towards the Turkish classical world of her famous father and began the study of the kemenche, immersing herself in the traditional compositions of Tanburi Cemil Bey.