Israeli saz player gives Jerusalem the sound of Turkey

Israeli saz player gives Jerusalem the sound of Turkey

JERUSALEM – Anadolu Agency
Israeli saz player gives Jerusalem the sound of Turkey

An Israeli musician, who plays Turkish folk songs on the streets of Jerusalem, dreams of playing with famed Turkish singer-songwriter Selda Bağcan one day.

Tom Kaplinsky, a member of the music group We Are Friends, also takes the stage at a Turkish restaurant in Jerusalem twice a week playing his saz, a Turkish string instrument. He says he learned to play the saz on his own without any training.

“From a young age I was attracted to the sounds of Middle Eastern music,” he told the state-run Anadolu Agency. “I played guitar from childhood, and later in life I discovered the oud and started playing it. Later on I discovered the saz and fell in love with it. Its magical sound is special to me; something that I found only in the Turkish folk music.”

Kaplinsky says that he has been listening to the famous Turkish arabesque singer İbrahim Tatlıses since his childhood.

Kaplinsky and his group also feature a wide range of Turkish songs.

 "I learned how to play saz by myself through hearing it a lot in recordings of traditional music and also from several musicians on the Internet,” Kaplinsky explained.

“After listening to Turkish folk music online for a long time, I just learned when I was 21that the instrument's name was saz. I bought one from a Middle Eastern music store and loved it.”

Asked what reactions he gets when he plays saz on the streets, he says: “Israeli people love it. Mainly, people here are really attracted to the sounds of authentic instruments from the Near East, because we are a mix of East and West, a little bit like Turkey. Most people in Israel don't know about the saz, although there are a lot of Israelis who grew up listening to Turkish Arabesque music, so some of them recognize the style and the sound of the saz from the old recordings they heard.”       

As for his favorite songs, Kaplinsky says: "I mostly play a mix traditional folk songs, and I think my favorite is ‘Selvi Boylum Al Yazmalım,’ the first tune I learned on the instrument.”       

Stating that he is a fan of Turkish folk singer Bağcan, Kaplinsky says he would love to play to her in Turkey one day.

“Music has no boundaries and it can bring us together, and I hope it can happen soon,” he adds.         

He says he did not have a chance to visit Turkey but plans to take his vacation with his girlfriend in Istanbul.