It is interesting to see and hear how Turkish wedding dances have changed over the years – from slow and decorous, to high-octane “turbo folk”. These 20 tracks offer a rare glimpse of – mainly – wedding music from Anatolia before it became infused with techno and Western disco influences. The old halays, for instance – represented here by two shoulder to shoulder line dances – one from Van in the south-east and the other from Kirsehir, in central Anatolia – are intricate, delicate affairs, a far cry from the pumped-up, hyperactive halays, which are nevertheless so fun at modern Turkish and Kurdish weddings.
The Zeybek of western Anatolia and the Aegean is represented here by nine very different tracks, also wraiths of what they would later become. Usually only men perform this Greek influenced dance, with arms held high, in a Zorba the Greek manner, and feet kicking outwards. Some of these tracks are dead ringers for more mature and elaborated tunes. Like for instance, “Oduncular Dağdan Odun İndirir”, a fine and melancholy love song with some impossibly wistful ney playing trailing off at the end.
On the CD cover it says “Turkish Musical traditions – remembering the past, dreaming of the future.” That is all well and good, but this reviewer doesn’t see Turkish wedding music returning to its roots any time soon. While these tracks have their undeniable charm, they would be dead boring on the dancefloor for young Turkish wedding guests avid for any form of kicks.