Turkish music group performing dual role in US
NEW YORK – Anadolu AgencyA Turkish music project in New York is not only helping introduce classical Turkish music to Americans and others, but also helping Turks keep in touch with their own past.
“Our other goal is to make Turkish people here remember their own culture because they come here and forget their culture. We try to boost their culture here,” said musician Ahmet Erdoğdular about his project, Makam New York.
As well various events and concerts, the organization holds seminars on classical Turkish music. The fifth of the seminars was held between April 1 and 5.
Speaking about ahead of a concert, Erdoğdular said they founded the band in 2007. “Our concerts have drawn a lot of interest. We’ve played to a full house and tickets have been sold out. Our Turkish music classes are full, too. We have students from Colombia and Canada as well as Brazil and Australia.”
The concert “Mediterranean Crossing” at Manhattan’s Kaufman Music Center featured Göksel Baktagir on kanun, Yurdal Tokcan on oud, Ömer Erdoğdular on reed flute, Pedram Khavarzamini on tombak, Ross Daily and Kelly Thoma on kemancha and Ahmet Erdoğdular on vocals.
Students from all around the world attend the seminars.
Baktagir, a famous kanun virtuoso and composer, said Makam New York was a significant undertaking for Turkish music.
“We have a very nice team under the leadership of Erdoğdular. We’re organizing this event for the fifth time in the U.S. We show the beauties of our culture to foreigners during these seminars. We’ve received more interest this year. In my opinion, it is very important for Turkish music,” he said.
Baktagir said Makam New York was a very important organization not only for Turks but also for foreigners interested about learning Turkish culture.
“But such works require big support and sponsors. I hope they will continue. Seminars are mostly attended by foreigners, and we see that they enjoy them. We believe that long-awaited peace is possible with such cultural events,” Baktagir said.
‘We are a stranger to our culture’
Tokcan said they were ambassadors of a very important cultural heritage. “It is a very important responsibility for us to bring together our culture with the people of the world in this project and many other projects. Why? Because we still choose to be a stranger to our own culture. But in the world, people are more open to foreign music since they know their own music well. Our music addresses people’s souls. We see its reflection here.”