Following his unmissable collaboration with Mahsa Vahdat, Endless Path, Turkish baglama virtuoso Coşkun Karademir resurfaces as if from deep meditation with a newly fashioned quartet. Joined by Cem Ekmen (duduk), Uğurcan Sesler (cello), and Ömer Arslan (percussion), he journeys through a landscape of traditional music modernly reimagined, modern music anciently reimagined, and original pieces.
Much of the program is by composer Levent Güneş and Karademir himself. That both have written for films is immediately obvious, as one can visualize entire storylines, characters, and dramas within each tune. In “Çiçekler” (Flowers), we might feel the explosive power of creation radiating through sun-kissed fields. Or, in “Ayaz Kokusu” (The Scent Of Frost), sense the veil of winter unfurling over spotted grasslands. In “Yayla” (Mountain Meadow), lovers reunite after years of separation, and in that moment bring mountains and rivers together over insurmountable distances. “Ars” (Throne Of God) dips us into a shaded, reverent mood as the cello weeps in duet with Karademir, and by that combination offers the album’s most prayerful turns. And then there is the magic of Iranian vocalist Sepideh Raissadat, whose rendition of “Devridaim” (Eternal Cycle) laps at the ears like an ocean wave in search of truth. As one of a few vocal tracks, including “Be Hey Derviş” (O Dervish) and “Akıl Gel Beri” (Sense, Come Back To Me), it reveals objects of worship by moonlight.
Karademir’s own “Rüzgâr” (Wind) and “Abyaneh” seed epic tales in arpeggiated soil, nurturing their wordless songs as a way of life. The latter tune welcomes guest musicians Özer Özel (yaylı tanbur) and Mehdi Teimoori (ney), who open the night as a doorway into dawn. The seeming outlier of the album would be “Santa Maria Amar” from the Cantigas de Santa Maria by Alfonso X of Castile, but this well-known medieval melody, reimagined here on the duduk, manifests some of the ensemble’s most border-melting congruence and throws a spotlight on each member’s individual merits. From Sesler’s ability to stop time with a single double stop to Arslan’s solid grounding, beauty abounds, and hopes only that we might stay awhile, close our eyes, and surrender our self-importance to the divinity of its flow. - Tyran Grillo
Mahsa Vahdat / Coskun Karademir
Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan