This CD contains a large selection of zeybek music, which is a characteristic folk tune style from west Turkey, and here it is peformed on two baglamas (which are a type of Turkish lute).
The Zeybeks were a group of people with an identity both interesting and mysterious. We know that the Zeybeks first appeared in history as outlaw clans in the western region of Anatolia at the beginning of 16th century. After the Turkish Republic was founded in 1923, the Zeybeks, as a warrior clan, became obsolete, but aspects of Zeybek culture still prevail, and the songs and dances connected with them are performed frequently throughout the Aegean (western) region. When Zeybek dances are performed in large halls, or outdoors, they are more often accompanied by musicians playing the zurna (a type of loud double-reed oboe) and the davul (a fairly large double-sided drum hung over the shoulder and played with different width sticks which provide a treble and bass effect). Since the start of the 20th century alternative instruments such as the clarinet and even the trumpet have begun sometimes replaced the zurna in certain regions. In smaller or enclosed settings the baglama (a long-necked lute), the kaval (a shepherd’s flute) and the kabak kemane (a spiked fiddle) may be used, and there are also ince çalgi ensembles which consist of oud (ud), the western violin (keman) and an open-ended hand drum (the darbuka, found throughout Muslim countries). The baglama is considered to be the main folk musical instrument of Turkey as it is interpreted today. The baglama originally comes from the “long-necked lute” instrument family which almost certainly originated in Ancient Mesopotamia. The first examples of such instruments in Anatolia were shown on rock carvings dating from early Hittite period, about 17th century B.C. Since then, nearly all tribes and civilizations which have passed through Anatolia used similar kind of instruments, as a lead melodic instrument or as an accompaniment to singers, or for rhythmical accompaniment, using homophonic systems with various microtonal scales defined by the position of the frets on the intrument’s neck.
Ali Fuat AYDIN is a performer on the baglama, now a seminal musical instrument used in playing traditional Turkish folk music. His main area of expertise is in zeybek music. He was born in 1973 in a village called Ektirli which is in the Aydin region, close the to the west coast of Turkey. He graduated from the Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara (1998). After his graduation he continued to give baglama lessons, even whilst doing his military service. He has made significant contributions to the repertoire of Turkish folk music, collecting previously unknown melodies in several regions. He has mainly concentrated on agir zeybek which are slow zeybek tunes, especially as performed on the kaba zurna. His articles on musical subjects, mainly Turkish music, have been published in various journals and he has presented papers for various conferences abroad. Meanwhile, he has also made many studio recordings, given concerts, and contributed to radio and tv programs both as a musician and a researcher. Cenk GÜRAY, born in Ankara, obtained his engineering degree at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara, whilst simultaneously researching music. Recently he published a book comprehensively describing Turkish musical theory from both an historical and analytical perspective. He is a founding member of the DEM Trio band which fuses both classical and folk elements (check their CD The Fountain, on Felmay records, 2008). Cenk Guray is also very much involved in the jazz world, leading several bands playing ethno-jazz fusion, and has performed with them in various countries in Europe, as well as Turkey.