Cihat Askin
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Cihat Askin
Ege'nin Türküsü
Kalan Music (www.kalan.com)

cd cover After living for a couple of weeks with this CD and not being able to stop listening to it, I ask myself why this musician doesn't have a much sharper profile on the international scene and on the Istanbul music festival scene. If you search about him on the net you're bound to find the usual information for a classical music virtuoso, and they don't prepare you for what's in this record, namely: a child's rhyme with political overtones, recited in Greek and Turkish over the sweet sound of the Aegean sea; a duet with guitar virtuoso Erkan Ogur, a folk song collected by Kemal Atatürk, who was originally from Thessaloniki; an Izmir song with definite Central European/klezmer overtones; an intense rendition of a zeybek (slow dance) from Mugla, with the rich voice of Hadass Pal-Yarden deftly negotiating the quarter-tone melody and the cello of Reyent Bölükbasi leading the ensemble; three pieces for piano and violin by Ulvi Cemal Erkin that in their (apparent) simplicity are among the most successful examples of classical music inspired by Anatolian folk-song, as good as any Bartók ever wrote; 4 arrangements of folk tunes with the classical ensemble augmented by the timbres of gourd fiddle, bagpipe and bouzouki (a gorgeous solo by Orhan Osman); one song and a classical Sonatina by Mikis Theodorakis, rounding the program aimed to culturally bridge the opposite shores of the Aegean sea.

There's hardly any other CD that I'd put in my player to show a guest how rich and diverse are Turkey's musical traditions (I'd of course point out that this is strictly limited to one geographical region, and that there's much more in Anatolia). Askin shows the instrumental ability which his to be expected from someone with his qualifications, but not many of his classical music colleagues show a comparable openness to different musics, and such an emotional involvement with "folk" music, the only comparable contemporary example being Giora Feidman. Klezmer, classical, jazz music fans who hear this want all to know where to get it, and I do hope that something along these lines will be presented in concert soon. - Francesco Martinelli

Listen to two MPs samples:
"Ferahi Zeybegi"
"Selanik Turkusu"

CD available by special order from cdRoots (orders@cdroots.com)


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