[JPL] Blending Jazz and Religion in Istanbul
drjazz at drjazz.com
Sat Aug 7 11:51:01 EDT 2010
In Transit - A Guide to Intelligent Travel
August 6, 2010, 6:00 am
Blending Jazz and Religion in Istanbul
By SUSANNE FOWLER
Jessica Chaney & Vincent Knapp A press photo of Dhafer Youssef, one of
the artists scheduled to perform in the Jazz in Ramadan series in Istanbul.
Posts <http://intransit.blogs.nytimes.com/category/istanbul/> | City
A series of eight concerts will be held at two open-air venues: a
courtyard of Topkapi Palace and the garden of the Istanbul Archaeology
Museum, both in the Sultanahmet neighborhood. But the most interesting
element linking the shows is that they are taking place during the
Islamic holy month of Ramadan, as part of a series called --- what else?
--- Jazz in Ramadan.
"I wanted to bring in well-known musicians who also happen to be Muslim
to play jazz,'' said the promoter Hakan Erdogan, who organized the
series <http://www.jazzinramadan.com/index.html>, which runs from Aug.
14 to 31. "Entertainment has always been part of the Ramazan tradition
in Istanbul and I'm just adding jazz to this tradition," he said, using
the Turkish word for the month.
Mr. Erdogan is a concert promoter who likes themes: He has arranged jazz
programs in places like the ancient Hippodrome, a prison, an art museum
and on a boat afloat on the Bosporus.
"All of the artists are Muslim this time, in part to attract
attention,'' he acknowledged, "but also to tell everyone, within the
umbrella of the 2010 European Capital of Culture celebrations, that
Turkey is a secular Muslim country where there is the freedom to combine
jazz and Ramazan.''
The festival offerings will span musical cultures as well as centuries.
Munip Utandi, who is Turkish, will sing the Sufi-inspired music of Dede
Efendi, a Turkish composer who was a contemporary of Beethoven. And the
contemporary electronic fusion composer Aydin Esen will be playing with
a Swedish bassist and an Indian percussionist.
The quartet led by the Tunisian-born singer and oud player Dhafer
Youssef will blend near-Eastern themes with strands of more avant-garde
world music beats. Kudsi Erguner, a resident of France who plays the
ney, a Turkish flute, will lead his ensemble in a work called "Islam Blues."
Other performers include the Pittsburgh-born pianist Ahmad Jamal, whose
work influenced Miles Davis, and the South African keyboardist Abdullah
Ibrahim, whose music inspired the people of the Soweto townships.
The shows begin at 9 p.m. and are expected to last about 90 minutes.
Because Muslims traditionally break their daylong fast at sundown with a
meal known as the iftar, "a creative selection of Ottoman cuisine'' will
be available at each site about an hour before each concert begins,
Tickets can be purchased at www.biletix.com <http://www.biletix.com> and
at the gates on the evening of each concert. Prices are 60, 40 and, for
students, 20 Turkish lira, or about $40, $27 and $13. Seating includes
chairs, and large pillows strewn on the lawn.
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