Mersin music lovers set to swoon for Imam Baildi
ISTANBULFor a band that is famous for mixing the various sounds from the Greek music of yesteryear to create a unique musical concoction, it is only fitting that the group chose the name of a dish that is prepared with ingredients that come from both sides of the Aegean and even further afield.
Imam Baildi, a Greek band formed in 2007, serves up a unique urban blend of old Greek Music with new orchestration, production and remixing techniques.
The band’s first two albums were the first alternative urban Greek musical projects to chart a path into Europe with two top positions on the European World Music Charts. After extensive club tours in Europe and appearances at major international festivals, the band has established its reputation with a uniquely engaging show that blends unique urban Greek flavors with intuitive production and orchestration.
Their recent release, “Imam Baildi III,” is a bold crossover ranging from the Morricone-inspired “Rider,” to the cha-cha meets mariachi flavor of “Argosvinis Moni” and the climactic shake-your-booty effect of “Baila Cifteteli.”
As part of the world tour of the recent release, Imam Baildi will be the guest of the 15th Mersin International Music Festival on May 23 at Yenişehir Municipality Atatürk Culture Center in the southern province of Mersin. The band spoke to the Hürriyet Daily News about the story of the band and their music ahead of the concert.
Can you tell us how Imam Baildi came together?
We started out as two producers, Orestis and Lysandros. Our idea was to remix the Greek music of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, and combine it with new styles using production techniques based on sampling. Our first album came out in 2007, and following its release, we started building a band that could present this project live. The band was finalized in 2011; it now includes five musicians and two singers, and with this lineup, we have performed in more than 20 countries around the world.
The band name comes from a meal that both Turkish and Greek people eat. How did you decide on this name?
Imam Baildi is a dish that is very common in Turkey, Greece and other countries of the Mediterranean. For us it symbolizes the process of mixing different ingredients into a new recipe, which is more or less what we do when we make music. It also reflects the fact that our music has a lot of Eastern elements, just like Imam Baildi.
You record old Balkans and Greek songs with the new sounds. Why are you inspired by old songs?
They have a unique sound, and their lyrics describe situations that we can connect to. They are our cultural identity and we want to bring this out in the world in a new way.
What was the reaction of the older generation that grew up with this music? When you started first, was it difficult to get your music style accepted by your audience?
Before we released our first album, we were concerned that there could be reactions by the older generation. Luckily, there were very few people that believed that what we are doing was something that should not be done. Most reactions were positive, and step-by-step, our style of remixing has reached a wide audience in Greece and many European countries.
What do you know about Turkish folk music? Do you want to cover a Turkish song?
We love Turkish folk music; it is something that we connect very much to. In our live concerts we used to include a song by Selim Sesler, and people all around the world would dance to it. We would like to know more about contemporary artists and collaborate with them; there are a lot of very creative people in Turkey.
You’ve been to Turkey before. How do you consider the audience in Turkey when you compare it with other audiences in the world?
It’s like playing at home. The audience gets in the mood directly and it’s always a great pleasure. We are truly very excited to come back.
We are two societies living on the two sides of the Aegean Sea. What do you think about Syrian immigrants, what is the world going through?
It is a very complex situation, which shows that there are still a lot of issues in global politics that have not been properly [addressed]. What is important is to try to help as much as you can. We need to be kind to people that are in need, no matter where they come from, just like we are kind to our neighbors, friends and family.
Could you tell us more about “Imam Baildi live?” What does this album bring to your career?
It is a collection of the most powerful moments from concerts in the past few years. The way we play our music live is very different to how it sounds in our studio albums. For that reason, our live album is very important for us because it is captures a performing style, which only occurs in concerts. Also, it includes a lot of new songs, which were not part of our previous albums, as they were only played live.