Yeni Nostalji
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Yeni Nostalji

Richmond, Virginia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | INDIE

Richmond, Virginia, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2015
Band World Pop





Yeni Nostalji is a pop band made up of local Turkish and American musicians whose unique pop sound has been entertaining all of us for quite some time. They’ve collaborated with big staples like the Richmond Symphony, Richmond brass sensations NO BS! Brass Band, and even local salsa band, Bio Ritmo. And now the five-piece, which is fronted by Christina Marie Gleixner who sings all of their songs in Turkish, will release their self-titled debut album at Gallery5 tonight.

Taking inspiration from European and Turkish pop and modern indie pop ballads, the band has crafted a symphonic experience and the songs feel as if you’re being taken through the soundtrack of a love story. Yeni Nostalji officially released the album May 4 via Ropeadope Records after recording it with Lance Koehler of Minimum Wage Recording, and the album is a splendid collaboration between the band, 15 different artists including Reggie Chapman (No BS! Brass Band,) and Andrew Randazzo (Butcher Brown) incorporating 20 instruments throughout.

Rounding out Yeni Nostalji is Turkish drummer Emre Kartari, along with his wife Ayça Kartari on bass, guitarist and arranger Gary Kalar, and Moldovan-born Vlad Cuiujuclu, fellow guitarist, and composer. Kalar is responsible for many of the string and horn arrangements on the album.

Emre and his wife were not on the album, but joined shortly after. “She’s a classical musician by nature, so we would rarely play together before then,” said Kartari. “It is actually nice having a separate job that we can both work together at. It is not really even considered work for us, we just play for fun, there is no stress,” Emre added.

Gleixner isn’t actually Turkish and is in fact from Roanoke, but her love for the music and her story of how she became initially introduced to the culture is one of a kind and has transcended to her own unique interpretation of what the language and music.

“Well, it’s kind of a strange story,” she said, laughing. “I heard the song “Öyle Sarhoş Olsam Ki” by Tanju Okan, and was very taken by it. I instantly wanted to learn how to sing it in Turkish. At the time I didn’t know what the lyrics were saying so I learned phonetically by stopping and starting it over and over again.”

She then decided to bring her vision to the only Turkish Richmonders she knew, Evrim Doğu, who owns Church Hill’s Sub Rosa Bakery. “I knew he would be interested in joining forces, at least for a moment in time, so we decided to collaborate. He played on a few songs in the album, two of which he wrote,” she said.

I thought it may be a little tough gauging interest for a band that is slightly out of the ordinary given its roots. Not being able to understand lyrics are often a deterrent for some listeners, but a means of personal interpretation for others.

“If they don’t understand the lyrics, I am hoping new listeners appreciate this kind of music like I originally did, like an abstract painting,” Gleixner said of her music. “That is definitely what sparked my interest to learn the language, and I am now writing my own songs in Turkish which I am very proud of.”

While the music and genre may have been inspired by 60s and 70s Turkish and European pop radio, the singer credits her songwriting influences to Leonard Cohen, Morrissey, and Dolly Parton, making for a genre-breaking album breaking all boundaries and rules when it comes to sound.

That’s exactly what I like about it, I listened to the entire debut album that she gave me at our interview from start to finish without knowing what the names of the songs were or any of the lyrics at that. I liked the fact the listening experience has the potential to be different for everyone depending on how you interpret it for yourself given the melody and feeling that the music evokes for you specifically.

Yeni Nostalji’s debut song on the 10-track album, “Ölümsüz,” is a hauntingly beautiful ballad, which according to Gleixner, is about wanting to cheat death so you can be in love forever.

As for their album release show at Gallery5, expect fellow performances by local songwriter Keilan Creech will be opening the show and DJ OlNuBi, or Armando Muñoz, best known from his involvement with KINGS and The Flavor Project, will be running the DJ table all night. - RVA Magazine

"Yeni Nostalji Has A New Album Out"

Finding your voice is the essential personal quest for a musician. But what if you find your truest, most honest voice in a foreign language?

One answer is Yeni Nostalji, the Richmond band whose eclectic, eponymous debut CD was released by Ropeadope Records on May 4.

Fittingly for a band whose name translates to “new nostalgia,” the music is a magpie mélange of decades of international influences, including bossa nova, country, folk, German electronica, French, Turkish and Arabic pop. The mix is melded by appealing melodies, sophisticated arrangements, and the polished charisma of Roanoke-born singer Christina Marie [Gleixner]. All the lyrics are in Turkish.

The project started around the kitchen table at Church Hill’s Sub Rosa Bakery, with Christina Marie finding her way into the music with Turkey-born owner Evrim Doğu. “It is my first exploration into another language. I first heard it in watching some films. It almost sounded Eastern, and when sung traditionally more Arabesque.”

It was anything but an obvious choice for someone cites Leonard Cohen, Dolly Parton, and John Denver as key inspirations.

“I never thought about how much of a challenge it was going to be,” says Marie Gleixner, “or that it would get this far. People latch onto words. I cannot blame anyone who cannot connect, all my influences write in English. If there is not a big audience in America, I hope to find one in Europe.”

At once sweeping and intimate, the new CD features players from the Richmond Symphony, NoBS! Brass, and Bio Ritmo- notably the piano and string arrangements of Marlysse Simmons. It is a record that can be enjoyed either drifting across the polished surface, or diving into lovely sonic depths.

“She does not have a big vocabulary,” says Emre Kartari, a native Turkish speaker and the drummer in her performing band. “But what she says with it is huge.”

For Christina Marie, the limitations are liberating. “It is so easy to mask things in English,” she says. “Turkish forces me to be straightforward, dramatic and intense.”

The songs are nakedly honest, treating love as a storm, a battle, at one moment immortal and eternal, at another slipping through fingers like water. For a non-Turkish speaker, the phonetics have the sibilant charm of Brazilian samba. The soulful, gently hook-laden melodies effortlessly bridge the gap of verbal comprehension.

The album was recorded in chunks over several years, with every session at Lance Koehler’s Minimum Wage studio. It took a while to find the right label before the genre-spanning Ropeadope enthusiastically snapped it up. People liked the sound, but the US market for pop records in Turkish is untested.

Moreover, even in Turkey, Yeni Nostalji is unique.

“Nobody plays music like this,” says Katari. “The records there are all conservative and traditional.”

Christina Marie said she once heard Katari describe it as “country music for Turkish people.” There are times when it sounds a bit like alt-country. “Başka Bir Sey Şöyleme” evokes “Fox Confessor”-era Neko Case.

However, Yeni Nostalji’s singular combination of styles and influences defies easy categorization. That is both its biggest strength and its greatest challenge as the group continues to evolve its sound while trying to reach audiences through tours, grants, and opportunities to play in international festivals.

“I know it is not for everyone,” Christina Marie admits.

Then again, what is that is worthwhile? - Style Weekly

"Yeni Nostalji brings Turkish pop into the Richmond music scene"

The cool thing about Richmond is that it constantly surprises. This is a city rich with imaginative people who invariably push new ideas into the realm of artistic creation.

And now ... young local musicians playing Turkish pop music? That’s right.

Yeni Nostalji, a five-member group assembled by founding vocalist Christina Marie Gleixner and guitarist and arranger Vlad Cuiujuclu, aren’t just playing contemporary Turkish pop. They are re-creating vintage popular music from the 1960s and 1970s, hence their name, which translates to “new nostalgia.”

On Thursday, March 23, they will perform at Vagabond on East Broad Street.

But neither of the group’s founders is actually Turkish. Gleixner, 30, is an American of Lebanese and European descent. Cuiujuclu, 23, moved to Richmond seven years ago from Moldova, a small republic in Eastern Europe, bordered by Romania and Ukraine.

Gleixner became interested in Turkish pop when studying her Middle Eastern lineage and the region’s music.

“I was exposed to Turkish pop music from the 1960s and 1970s and fell in love with it,” she said. “I kind of have a romance with this music.”

About five years ago, Gleixner began making regular trips to Turkey, absorbing culture, customs and language.

“Turkey is somewhere that I have spent a lot of time with the people; it’s a beautiful country and very rich culturally,” she said. “It’s not what you see and hear in the media all the time.”

Eventually, Gleixner set out to master the Turkish language well enough to apply it to her music.

“It took me years,” she said. “Initially I started phonetically learning to sing songs in Turkish, and then I started having my own songs translated into Turkish. Now I am at the point where I am writing my own songs from scratch. It’s something that doesn’t happen overnight, but I really needed a challenge musically and I was so drawn to the language, and I sort of had this out-of-body experience by singing in another language. It kind of opened my mind.”

As a nation straddling eastern Europe and western Asia — the Bosphorus Bridge in Istanbul connects both continents — Turkey is a melting pot of cultures and ethnic groups rooted in the Byzantine, Ottoman and Roman empires, Persia and ancient Greece.

“Turkey is a very multi-ethnic country; there is Roma music, there is Kurdish music, there is Turkish and Armenian music, but all of it is ethnic music or traditional world music,” said Cuiujuclu, Gleixner’s creative partner, who has distant family roots in Turkey and started listening to Turkish music when he was in high school in Moldova.

The worldwide musical nostalgia wave has not spared modern Turkey, where people revel in the sounds and memories of a different era. They dance to singers such as Ajda Pekkan and the late Tanju Okan and Ayten Alpman, who were stars in 1970s Turkey but rarely made it into the “obscure”-labeled record bins here in the United States.

“I kind of explored all kinds of Turkish music,” Cuiujuclu said. “Our take on Turkish pop doesn’t really have much to do with traditional music, but at the same time it draws from all those cultures. When you tell people that you play Turkish music, they often think of Middle Eastern melodies or Gypsy music. The perception often changes when they actually hear our music; they say, ‘Oh wow, that sounds just like 1960s music in America or Europe,’ but it has this flavor of Turkish language and maybe a little bit of the traditional side of things.”

While Yeni Nostalji taps into that traditional Turkish sound, the group blends it with a unique mix of French pop and music from the Americas, such as bossa nova, jazz and Motown soul. The group’s additional members weave in their own influences. Take Rei Alvarez, the percussionist and a member of Bio Ritmo. A native of Puerto Rico, he grew up with boleros and Caribbean music.

While the group’s members are aware that they may be seen as a novelty act by American audiences, they enjoy the responses they get from local Turks.

“At our last show there were several Turkish folks that came up to me after the show and they were so excited, and they were able to connect in a way that the English-speaking audience doesn’t, even though I think that music transcends language and (can) be almost like an abstract painting in the way you interpret and feel it,” Gleixner said.

The group has yet to release an album, but it has recorded enough material and is negotiating with an independent European label that knows how to market niche music like Turkish pop.

While aware that the group’s sound is unique and may not appeal to a mass audience, Yeni Nostalji members remain hopeful that they will be successful.

“I don’t believe in ceilings because it limits creativity,” Gleixner said. “But, sometimes having a ceiling presented to you pushes boundaries, because you can want so badly to break that ceiling for the love of your craft. Nobody asked for this music, but now that it’s been born into the world, we have to nurture and raise it like a child who will grow and change over time.” - Richmond Times Dispatch

"In Your Ear Episode 58: Yeni Nostalji"

A native of Roanoke of European and Lebanese descent, bandleader Christina Marie Gleixner, writes her songs in Turkish and considers Turkey to be her second home. She cites her songwriting influences as “Leonard Cohen, Morrissey, and Dolly Parton” but credits Sub Rosa bakery owner Evrim Dogu with opening her ears to the Turkish language and culture. It is heavily influenced by the vintage soundscape of Turkish and European pop radio from the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s. During this mesmerizing evening in Studio A, Christina Marie gathered her bandmates and some additional A-list Richmond musicians to take us on a sonic tour of this music which she’ll explain further during the program. Savor the intimate songs of Yeni Nostalji, recorded live in Studio A on January 26, 2018. - WCVE Community Idea Stations


"Yeni Nostalji"
self-titled original full-length released via Ropeadope Records on 5/4/18



Yeni Nostalji is a band currently based in Richmond, Virginia, USA with members from Turkey and America. The group writes original music sung in Turkish by bandleader and founder Christina Marie.

The band is currently signed to Ropeadope Records, and released their debut album in May of 2018 which features members of the Richmond Symphony, Bio Ritmo, and NO BS! Brass. Yeni Nostalji has shared the stage with acts such as Mdou Moctar, Banda Magda, Yonatan Gat, B.C.U.C., and Miramar throughout the East Coast of America at notable venues including DROM and The Broadberry. They have performed in major cities such as New York City and Washington D.C. and have played festivals, schools, art museums, radio stations, and music studios. The performing band features Christina Marie (composition, lyrics, vocals), Gary Kalar (guitar, arrangements) and Turkish rhythm section Ayça Kartari (bass) and Emre Kartari (drums). The band takes cues from a wide-range of vintage and contemporary influences, including the soundscape of Turkish, European, and American pop radio from the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s.

Band Members