Going a little over the charm for a music that is fresh and beautiful in its melancholic cry and that results fresh and rich even after many spins, one thinks about how much it is difficult in 2012 to give a proper context and meaning to a record of ethnic music, even if the purposes of people directly involved - in this case Emin Yagci, one of the finest Anatolia tulum players, Francesco Martinelli, music journalist, record producer, committed in music teaching in Pisa (Italy) and Ankara (Turkey), and musicologist and musician Cenk Guray - is indisputably beyond suspicions.
We all have passed through Peter Gabriel producing and presenting to the world the marvels of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, we all are aware of his controversial productions for musicians like E' Zezi/Spaccanapoli, we all have passed through the post-modern attitude thanks to whom even an object as Les Baxter's The Ritual of the Savages, beyond the projections of desire, show himself as a fascinating, but obiquitous, construction.
In more recent times, bands like the Masters Musicians of Bukakke showed with a subtly provocative attitude that philology isn't necessary the way to presentify the past obtaining, as only reaction, the kind of sufficiency that betrays a paternalism - said that I'm coming back from a six-months residency in London, and one thing I can tell for sure is that colonial mentality is still alive and well, and it is something you can cut with a knife through the air even at a Seun Kuti concert, if you are aware of how people lives near East Ham - perfectly pertaining to the music business.
|Francesco Martinelli during a seminar dedicated to Django Reinhardt|
Not by chance I think, Francesco Martinelli himself told me, via mail last October, a short and fun local story about how it is difficult to really understand an 'outer world' without the correct, personal I would underline, approach - yes, it is a matter of study, method, seriousness, soul, I would add. Someone would say 'attitude', and we get near, but attitude is also a label, and business use it, don't forget about it. Moreover, digging the past is an activity fatally related to memory, identity, desire. Selection.
That said, Tulum A Sound from the Black Sea (Felmay, 2011) is a record of wonderful music, whose realisation costed two years of hard work to the subjects involved in the project. Said that Turkish folk music, as Turkis culture in general, is the result of continuous and fertile cross pollinations, but that is difficult nowadays to reach the music of the past - but the present is nonetheless rich, it would be really fascinating to have the possibility to ask directly to the protagonists of this beautiful adventure to tell directly their own story.
For the curious listener, the music in this record was mainly conceived at the tulum, a bagpipe appeared for the first time in Istanbul in the XVI century, in the notes of a French traveler, whose animal skin is used as a continuous air supply. Tulum's double reed is crossed on this record with kemence, a bowed instrument with three strings popular through the central-western part of the region (Trabzon, Rize, Giresun, Ordu).
The music coming from western Anatolia is mostly a group dance, for duo, for women or man only, for the two genders, but the region is also rich in music with a free rhythmic character. A praise is due to this fullfulment, since music coming from the eastern part of the Mediterranean area is still far from being rediscovered in the Western world in all its richness, values and history.