Tag Archives: Turkey

Sınırın ötesinden sesler / Sounds beyond the border

sounds-beyond-the-border

As Syrian refugees’ migration experience in Turkey sways between transience and permanence, the culture of coexistence can only occur with the refugees and the locals getting to know one another. Like any cultural/artistic production, music provides a fertile ground for this interaction.

Sınırın ötesinden sesler/Sounds beyond the border is an open-access resource presenting interviews that strive to understand Syrian musicians’ experience of migration through music. As a response to homogenizing and exclusionary perspectives, the series aims to draw attention to the refugees’ talents and practices, the diversity they bring to Turkish geography, and the possibilities of a common cultural world.

The interviews are conducted by Evrim Hikmet Öğüt; the project is sponsored by Friedrich Naumann Vakfı Türkiye Ofisi.

Below, Sadim Al Zafari, one of the musicians interviewed in the series.

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Soundscape of a coup d’état

f16-jet-istanbul-7-15-2016

The attempted Turkish coup d’état on 15 July 2016 brought some unfamiliar sounds to Istanbul–including low-flying F-16 jets and sonic booms–in addition to mosques broadcasting the sala, which serves to notify the community of an all-concerning event in an Islamic context; recordings and performances of Ottoman military music; and the sounds of chanting demonstrators.

Conversations, which incessantly continued in both public and private spheres, constituted another auditory aspect of the attempted coup and its aftermath.

This according to “Soundscape of a coup d’état” by Evrim Hikmet Öğüt (Sound matters 6 September 2016).

Today is the two-month anniversary of this historic event! Above, an F-16 jet flying low over Istanbul; below, the sala that night, with the sounds of bombs.

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The Sultan’s pipe organ

In 1599 the English organ builder Thomas Dallam personally accompanied to Istanbul an instrument he had built for the Ottoman Sultan Mehmed III at the behest of Queen Elizabeth. The gift was intended to smooth relations in the hope of gaining access to Ottoman caravan routes.

The instrument, which could sound a fanfare, chime the hours, and play several pieces by itself due to controlled wind release, delighted the Sultan, who declared a festive occasion with amnesty for over 300 prisoners.

Dallam himself made a highly favorable impression, and was offered many luxuries in exchange for staying in Istanbul. He respectfully declined, however, citing his responsibilities toward his family. Dallam’s success assured his prosperity back home, and soon the trade routes to India were opened to the British.

This according to “A gift for the Sultan” by Peter English (Saudi Aramco world XXXIV/6 [November–December 1983]).

Related article: The Nawāb’s musical bed

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Filed under Curiosities, Instruments, Renaissance

Gazino aesthetics

The Turkish musical scene may be viewed in terms of three categories: alatürka, which refers to Turkish sociocultural practices; alafranga, which refers to Western ones; and arabesk, which denotes the culture of peripheral urban immigrants. The gazino, a type of nightclub, provides a common denominator for alatürka and arabesk music in an alafranga space.

While the gazino owner holds direct power over the content of the show, he may make changes on the basis of audience reaction. The performers also try to supply what the audience wants, and their aesthetics are further shaped among themselves when they perform backstage for each other. Vocal audience reactions also influence performers’ aesthetic decisions. The visual aesthetics of the gazino—the decor and the clothing of performers and audience members—provide the most significant alafranga elements.

This according to “Aesthetics and artistic criticism at the Turkish gazino” by Münir Nurettin Beken (Music & anthropology VII [2003]). Below, musicians and dancers perform at an urban gazino.

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Filed under Asia, Dance, Popular music