MARDİN - Anatolia News Agency
Mardin boasts a choir that reflects the city’s rich culture. The 40-person choir will sing songs in Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, Syriac and Armenian
The Mardin choir has already begun practicing for future performances and will be able to perform publicly in three months. AA photo
The Mardin Choir of Languages and Religions has been formed in order to reflect the soul of the southeastern province of Mardin, which has been home to various religions and languages for centuries. The 40-person choir includes imams, priests, housewives and teachers and will sing songs and chants in Turkish, Arabic, Kurdish, Syriac and Armenian.
The choir has already begun practicing for future performances and will be able to perform publicly in three months, the choir’s chief, Seçkin Mataracı said. At the moment, the choir is composed of 40 people, but new participations are expected to grow the already diverse choir even more. Singers of different languages, religions and professions add to the choir’s colorful diversity.
The choir is very important for Mardin’s promotion and tourism, Mataracı said. “We want to show our city to the world. We want everyone know the richness of this city. We have many things on our hands for promotion. We discover talented people every day in Mardin. People continue to join the choir. The choir will perform Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic, Syriac and Armenian folk songs and Turkish, Arabic ad Syriac chants. We also have a Spanish member, who is working for the Mardin Artuklu University as a research assistant,” he said.
A one-year working program is currently in the works for the choir with the aim of unearthing Mardin’s existing cultural and folk songs in various languages throughout the year. “Unfortunately, there are not too many folk songs originating from Mardin. The existing ones have been given to Diyarbakır
and Şanlıurfa provinces. Now we want to create an archive and repertoire. Another team of us will work on their history. All friends in the choir participate voluntarily. We want to give a message of tolerance to the world,” he said.
‘We are doing a good job’
Spanish research assistant Sara Island, said she was very impressed by the city’s multiculturalism, which inspired her to join the choir. “While living in Berlin, I had Turkish and Kurdish friends there. I began to know about this music through them and fell in love. There are very different ethnic structures here; this is richness. I learned when I came here that I love languages. I am currently learning Kurdish and will learn Arabic too,” she said.
The muezzin of the Fuat Yağcı Mosque, Eray Gülbay, said he had been working in Mardin for 10 years and had long been involved with music. “Mardin did not have such a choir before and it was necessary for such a rich city,” he said.
Another member of the choir, music teacher Alin Sarı said she had been signing Arabic songs in the past. “They asked me to join the choir and I accepted. Now I am singing Arabic and Syriac songs. Other friends are singing Turkish and Kurdish songs. I believe that we are doing a good job,” she said.
Another music teacher, Ruken Kaplan said she had been playing the zither for much of her life. “It is enjoyable to work with the choir regardless of our language, religion or lifestyles,” Kaplan said.