Turkey is a land where Europe meets Asia, and where the music and culture are shaped by influences from virtually every direction. In the cities, discos, and record stores blast the latest pop hits from the likes of Ebru Gundes, while evocative belly-dance music is ready to captivate the innocent passerby. If you turn the corner, you might find a trendy saz club or religious music, or you might run into a Rom (Gypsy) neighborhood and its famous all-night musical taverns. This album provides an insight into the vast array of music within Turkey, encompassing some of the country's most talented and celebrated artists.
eview by Chris Nickson
There's been very little exploration of Turkish music in the West, and on the basis of this you have to hope there'll be a lot more in the future. This disc covers the waterfront, from the pop sounds of Sezen Aksu and Ebru Gundes to the tortuous (yet playful) time signatures of Laco Tayfa & Husnu Senlendirici and the brooding sound of the Barbaros Erkose Ensemble, with Erkose, one of the country's leading musicians and a stunning clarinetist, at the helm. It's a carefully sequenced disc, moving slowly from straightforward Turkish pop -- which is no copy of Western sounds -- through gypsy music to Sufi sounds. The pivotal point is the very political Grup Yorum, whose "Haydi Kolkola" is ready accessible, but has a distinct roots edge. And from there, it moves to a rawer sound, such as Kemani Cemal Cinarli's "Mavisim," with its remarkable solos on hammered dulcimer and violin. Truth to tell, there's not a bad track on here, and compiler Dan Rosenberg has done an excellent job of illustrating how the different styles of music in Turkey have influenced and bled into each other, and the way both the Middle East and Europe have shaped it. A fascinating journey through an underexposed culture.