One of my favorite musicians is the Bulgarian/Turkish accordionist called ‘Ciguli.’ Unfortunately, he passed away in 2014. After he died, the Istanbul based Roll Magazin re-published an extensive interview with him. Getting to understand Ciguli’s life and point of view only made me appreciate him more. He talks about his love of Bollywood, the situation of the  turkish ethnic minority ...

Erol Ünal, a young German Turk from Esslingen, near Stuttgart, has come out with a scathing anti-Muslim exposé entitled, Der Abtrünnige – 15 Jahre in Moscheegemeinden. Meine Einblicke in eine Welt von Fundamenalisten und Rechtsextreme, über Radikale bis zu Sufis.  First off, let me say although I disagree with Ünal right from the get-go; taking issue with his tenets, precepts and conclusions, ...

The first I had heard of Taner Akyol was in connection with Derya Yıldırım, the young saz player and vocalist fronting Grup Şimşek, an international band, which have made some waves both here in Berlin and abroad for their groove-laden arrangements of Turkish songs from the seventies.  Derya Yıldırım is a fine example of the neo-Anatolian sound whose other main ...

At five in the morning a wailing comes up from the valley below as one mosque after another broadcasts the call to prayer, a coagulating chorus joining up together in one unified lament – Allāhu akbar,  Allah, Ash-hadu an-lā ilāha illā allāh, Ash-hadu anna Mohamadan-Rasul ullāh……  It is weird and unearthly, and as I lay in my bed,  listening to this otherworldly ululation coming ...

“A soundtrack of freaks, gangsters, pimps and punks of the era.” So Uzelli Kaset bills their newly  released compilation of Turkish electric saz music, called Uzelli Elektro Saz (1976-1984), curated by Murat Ertel – the lead singer and saz player of Istanbul psych band BaBa Zula – with his wife, Esma Ertel. And as the blurb suggests, the LP is being ...

Martin Scorsese, Keith Richards, Johnny Depp and Robert De Niro are impressed by her voice.Aynur Doğan — or Aynur, as she is popularly known -  is probably one of the most famous Kurdish singers today.  Many will remember Aynur’s appearance in Fatih Akin’s 2005 Istanbul music documentary, Crossing the Bridge, in which she sings a haunting Kurdish lament in an old Istanbul hamam. ...