Haci Tekbilek: Turlu (2010)
Magically, however, at the best of times, Tekbilek's music needs no words to tell its story. Tekbilek evokes the apparition of "The Beautiful Girl" traipsing past, as his dusky flute imagines her swishing by, played across Saad Al Masri's adoring violin. But then, Tekbilek and his ensemble of lutes and strings waft into the imagination, searing with the sound of the Divine as Tekbilek sings that "Death is God's Command." Both the inevitable tragedy and ultimate pathos ensue as the end comes and life, it seems, goes quietly out like a candle. This is true also of "In Memory of Kazim Sanri," where the incredible Mats Öberg makes an important appearance on harmonica. The most surprising tracks, however, are "Elika's Spice," which features the roistering, tantalizing rhythm of an Irish square dance. In "Coffee Making" the great Swedish saxophonist Jonas Knutsson interjects the proceedings with an intricately wrought solo, full of undulations and a shivering glissando that glorifies the Middle Eastern sound so completely that he sounds practically native to the music.
The word "mysterious" is frequently used for music that comes from a road less traveledin this case Turkey, which brings much of this repertoire from its original forms in the Middle Ages. But the fact remains that this music has a hypnotic effect on the olfactory receptors. Nowhere is this more obvious than on "Misty Hamam," a song about a Turkish bath. The music was, in fact, recorded in a great hall, where the resonance is just as magical as it is mysterious. Perhaps the vapors in the air made the music hang just as heavily, as it was captured by the engineers. Whatever transpired, something spiritual occurred to put a giddying spin on the track that closes out one of the most beautiful albums of 2010.
Track Listing: Death is God's Command; Candied Apples; The Beautiful Girl; In Memory of Kazim Sanri; Ellika's Spice; Coffee Making; Taksim Evc-Ara Maqam; Devran Baba's Address; The Woman Everybody Loves; Small Street; Misty Hamam.
Personnel: Haci Tebilek: vocal (1, 2, 6), ney (1, 3, 4, 6-9, 11), bendir (1, 2, 11), saz (2, 5), mey (4), kabak (5), tenor saxophone (6, 7), zurna (10); Mustafa Onurbas: violin(1, 6, 11); Yasar Basozdes: violin, viola (1, 6, 11); Muhammer Basozdes: violin (1, 6, 11); Veysel Basozdes: violin (1, 6, 11); Sigge Krantz: double bass, bordun (1); Suat Basozdes: kanun (1, 6), vocal (6); Mustafa Tanman: tef (1); Saad Al Masri: violin (3, 9); Ziad Aslan: keyboard (3, 9); Robert Abda: darbuka (3, 9); Sinan Slewa: tef (3, 9); Mats Oberg: harmonica (4); Hakan Gedik: baglama (saz) (4); Eser Kurt: baglama (saz) (4); Bulent Ecevit Dulum: baglama (saz)( 4); Per Lennert: guitar (4); Ellika Frisell: violin(5); Rafael Sida: bendir (5); Fikret Sabirtasli: davul (5, 10); Olcan Kuscu: davul (5, 10); Jonas Knutsson: soprano saxophone (6); Erdal Kirtu: bass, darbukka (6, 11), vocal (6); Ramazan Besozdes: darbukka, vocal (6); Devran Baba: vocal, saz (7); Serkan Boyur: zurna (10); Zurnaci Deniz: zurna (10).
Record Label: Country & Eastern