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İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey | INDIE

İstanbul, Istanbul, Turkey | INDIE
Band Folk World


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"Songs Of Fraternity"

It is not always easy to reconcile the different facets countries present to the world. Take the United States, where a strong legal system protects individual freedoms at home yet hard-line politicians wage war and promote illegal detentions abroad.

Turkey, too, often reveals aspects that appear contradictory, but despite the setbacks experienced during periods of political turmoil, the promise of change and better days is always lurking under the surface.

A World Public Opinion poll released to mark the International Day for Victims of Torture revealed one of the country's darker sides, suggesting that only 36 percent of Turks unequivocally condemn torture. This is a strikingly low figure for a country where, according to the Human Rights Association (IHD), 1 million people have experienced torture since 1980. In France, Spain and the UK, more than 80 percent of people are against torture in all circumstances. Among the 19 countries surveyed, only 9 percent expressed broad acceptance of torture in general while 26 percent condoned it if innocent lives were at stake. Particularly disturbing in Turkey's case was the spectacular rise from 24 percent supporting torture in 2006 to 51 percent this year, seemingly fueled by strong reactions to Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attacks.

In sharp contrast, there are moments when the other Turkey, the one that is proud of its multi-cultural heritage, tolerant, open-minded and does not just see "the other" as a threat, shines through with absolute clarity. We then get a tantalizing glimpse of the richness the country has to offer when it overcomes its fears and approach differences from a different angle. The concert organized on Tuesday by Kardes Türküler to mark the band's 15th anniversary was one of these magical moments -- a midsummer night's dream on a politically cloudless night. The setting, by the Bosporus, undoubtedly contributed to the atmosphere but it was the music performed by the band, whose name translates as Songs of Fraternity, and several famous guest artists such as Aynur, Birol Topaloglu and Neset Ertas, that kept the audience enthralled long past midnight. Beautifully choreographed folk dances completed a well-balanced performance.

Kardes Türküler initially came together in 1993 for a concert organized by the Bogazici University Folklore Club with the aim of exploring Anatolia's rich musical heritage. Fifteen years later, the group is still going strong. Over the years they have expanded their range and borrowed songs from Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Laz, Roma and Georgian cultures and put their own musical mark on them. From the start, the group stood in favor of peace, gender equality and tolerance. Throughout the ####, poems and a video #### underlined the group's support for dialogue, civilian rule and multiculturalism. It is perhaps a symbol of Turkey's current travails that a message as universal and simple as the promotion of fraternity and diversity should have such resonance and be perceived as intensely political. In the current circumstances, hearing a crowd of 6,000 applauding with equal enthusiasm a türkü performed in Armenian by Leman Sam, dedicated to murdered newspaper editor Hrant Dink, a Kurdish song by Aynur or a gypsy tune belted out by the colorful Esma Redzepova from Macedonia was particularly heart warming. People got up and frantically danced the halay in the aisles. The performers and the spectators displayed a side of Turkey that is not reflected much in the media headlines these days, but which offers real hope for the future. - Today's Zaman


Kardes Türküler performed the musical direction and arrangement of the famous Kurdish singer Sivan Perwer's album 'Roj û Heyv' (Sun and Moon) (Ses, 2000). It then prepared the music for the eastern-themed film 'Vizontele', directed by Yilmaz Erdogan and Ömer F. Sorak. This work, also published as a soundtrack (Kalan, 2001), received the award for 'Best Film Music' at the 38th Annual Antalya Golden Orange Film Festival in October 2001. It received the same award from the Cinema Writer's Association.

Their first album was released in 1997 by Kalan Müzik . This album, called “Kardes Türküler,” presented examples from the musical cultures of Anatolia and Mesopotamia . Composed of pieces selected from concerts performed over nearly four years, the album emphasized the ideals of multiculturalism and the brotherhood of peoples.

The “Dogu ” album, which was featured in the July 2000 issue of Folk Roots magazine, also came in fourth on the playlist England 's Radio Not-Wonderful. in February 2000, two songs from the album were included in a CD supplement to the book, “Musiques de Turquie,” prepared by Jérôme Cler and published in France by Cité de la Musiques / Actes Sud.

Another song from “Dogu ” was included in a compilation album which accompanied Songlines magazine's September album, devoted to the music of Anatolia . And Folk Roots magazine once again included two songs from “Dogu ” in a compilation CD supplement to its January-February 2001 issue.

The August-September 2002 issue of the same magazine featured an interview with Kardes Türküler, and the German magazine Folker! included an interview with the group in its May-June 2002 issue.

In September 2000, the core group of Kardes Türküler directed and arranged the music for the album “Roj û Heyv,” by the famous Kurdish musician Sivan Perwer, who now resides in Europe . Following this they went on to prepare the music for Yilmaz Erdogan and Ömer F. Sorak's film “Vizontele,” and Erdogan' “Vizontele Tuba.” The sountrack for “Vizontele” was released by the Kalan Müzik label in 2001, followed by that of “Vizontele Tuuba” in 2004.

In 2002, the album “Hemâvâz” (Kalan, 2002), also conceived within the concept of multiculturalism, reached an international audience with its European edition (Connecting Cultures, 2003). The Project's most recent album, “Bahar,” was also released under the Kalan label in 2005. “Bahar” was devoted to the spring festivals which, for the peoples of Anatolia , Thrace and Mesopotamia , symbolize rebirth, and stressed the hope of living together.
Concerts / Performances

Since 1994, Kardes Türküler has performed over 130 concerts in Istanbul, Kocaeli, Düzce, Samsun , Ankara , Izmir, Mersin , Bursa , Altinoluk, Denizli, Adana , Antakya , Urfa , Mardin, Antep, Diyarbakir , Eskisehir , Izmit, Van, Hakkari, Varto, Çanakkale, Batman, Tunceli and Cyprus. The ensemble has also taken part in many festivals. In addition to tours of Anatolia , Kardes Türküler has also participated in culture and arts festivals throughout Turkey as well as various university activities, and at times shares the stage with other artists as well. Among such collaborations was a concert in Istanbul with Armenian duduk master Djivan Gasparian.

In Kardes Türküler's dance and music performances, given each year since 2000 in the Cemil Topuzlu Harbiye Open -Air Theatre , it has shared the stage with students from the Bogaziçi University Folklore Club as well as several other artists. Among these artists who have joined the Ensemble at Cem il Topuzlu are Aynur and Hakkari Dengb êjleri.

Since 1998, the Kardes Türküler Project has also taken part in a variety of tours, festivals and other activities in Europe. The ensemble has given sixty concerts in the Netherlands ( Rotterdam , Amsterdam , Utrecht , Den Hag), Switzerland (Zürich, Münchenstein), Belgium ( Gent , Roeselare , Leopoldsburg, Dendermonde, Genk , Brussels ), England ( London ), Germany ( Leverkusen , Kemnade-Bochum, Stuttgart , Munich , Berlin , Köln , Hamburg , Frankfurt , Dortmund , Rudolstadt, Essen ), France ( Paris , Strasbourg , Lyon ), Spane (Cartegena) and Austria ( Vienna ). Kardes Türküler has also performed in the Turks Muziekfestival (The Netherlands), Intercultureel Torrepoort (Belgium), Culturele Week Turkije (The Netherlands), Kemnade International (Germany), Köprü (Bridge) Turkije Festival (The Netherlands), 3e Strasbourg-Mediterranee (France), Rudolstadt (Germany), Cartegena (Spain), Simdi-Now (Belgium, Germany) and Stimmen (Switzerland) festivals, sometimes in a concert, and other times in a dance-music performance format.




Kardes Türküler came into being in 1993, as a concert project by the Bogaziçi University Folklore Club. The concert, which aimed to interpret Anatolian folksongs based on their own cultural structure and in their original languages, was comprised of four sections: Turkish, Kurdish, Azerbaijani and Armenian.

The project, based on the ideal of living together in fraternity, also took a stand against the polarization and tensions which had been created among different peoples in a multicultural land. Later on, the Kardes Türküler project began broadening its repertoire, performing songs from such cultures as Laz, Georgian, Circassian, Roma, Macedonian and Alevi among others. These were arranged in accordance with the philosophy of the ensemble.

In 2002, being prepared again with the concept of multiculturalism, the 'Hemâvâz' album (Kalan, 2002) also reached the international audience with its release (Connecting Cultures, 2003) in Europe. The last album, which was made up of the musics of the movie 'Vizontele Tuuba', directed by Yilmaz Erdogan, was released by Kalan Music in January 2004.The project took its place within the musical division of Bogaziçi Performing Arts Ensemble (BGST), formed in 1995, and went on to be performed at a variety of arts events, cultural evenings, festivals and celebrations. In June of 1997, 'Kardes Türküler'-an album with various examples from the musical traditions of the Anatolian/Mesopotamian landscape- was released by Kalan Music. In 1998, Kardes Türküler was voted 'Group of the Year' in a survey by a private radio station broadcasting in Turkey.

The second album was based on a project with a more local and specific focus:'Dogu' (East) (Kalan,1999) The 'Dogu' album was reviewed in the July 2000 issue of Folk Roots, and during the same period, came in fourth on the playlist of the English station Radio Not-Wonderful. In February 2000, two of the songs interpreted by the ensemble were included in the CD accompanying Jerome Cler's book 'Musiques de Turquie' (Cité de la Musiques, Actes Sud, France).

One piece from 'Dogu' was also included in a miscellaneous album accompanying the October issue of Songlines, which was devoted to Anatolian music. Folk Roots, in its January-February 2001 issue, included another of the ensemble's songs. The same magazine published an interview with Kardes Türküler in its August-September 2002 issue. The German magazine Folker! made an interview with the ensemble and it was published in its May-June 2002 issue.

The ensemble also undertook to bring the multiculturalism and multi-ethnic makeup of its own land in a music video, in Turkish and Kurdish, as an example of cultural give-and-take in the musical realm. Though the video, as a 'first', was reported in the main news programs, it did not receive wide coverage by the self-censoring national channels. Still, it received positive feedback from circles devoted to fraternity and peace.

In1998, the Kardes Türküler was chosen “Group of the Year” in a survey performed by a private radio station. Shortly thereafter the core members produced a second album with a more local and specific focus: “Do gu” (The East - Kalan, 1999). Encompassing the Eastern Anatolian and Mesopotamian regions, and emphasizing the multiculturalism and exchange between those cultures, the “ Dogu ” project included one of the project's first compositions.

The Kardes Türküler Project strove to bring their country's multicultural, multiethnic structure into the public eye with the first-ever Turkish-Kurdish video ( Kara Üzüm Habbesi ). Although the video of this song, considered to be a musical example of intercultural exchange, became the subject of a news bulletin, the clip was not much shown on the self-censoring Turkish national channels. Still, it received positive reactions from those circles which cared about brotherhood and peace. The Project's second video featured a Kurdish work song, “ Mîrkut.” This video also included the dance that was choreographed for the dance-music performances of the song.

Voices United

In a Kardes Türküler performance at the Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theatre in June 2006, they shared the stage with amateur choruses and musicians of Istanbul and Diyarbakir , and presented a dance-music show with 140 people onstage. The show was a more concrete expression onstage of the desire for different languages, religions and cultures to be able to live together.

In the show, along with the BGST and the Bogaziçi University Folklore Club (BÜFK) were performances by the Sayat Nova Chorus, the Laz Women's Chorus, Dalepe Nena, Rom musicians Sariköyl ü Tevfik and Friends, the Diyarbakir Municipal Children's Chorus and the Gêdén Bajer Rhythm Ensemble, which is made of Mitrib children and works under the auspices of the Diyarbakir Municipality. With this “Voices United” event, Kardes Türküler's aim was to organize a joint performance based on solidarity; and make