Postcards from Istanbul: The Galata Bridge

Burhan Oçal & The Trakya All Stars - Kirklareli Il Siniri (2003)

«Burhan Ocal's instruments are as diverse as his music. In addition to a wide variety of percussion, such as the darbuka (a vase-shaped drum played with the fingers), he is a highly skilled player on a number of stringed instruments, including the divan-saz, tanbur and oud. His expressive voice adds to the spectrum of musical elements at his command.

Since 1977, Burhan Ocal has divided his time between Istanbul and Zurich, Switzerland. He has become widely known for touring and recording with his Oriental Ensemble, which performs traditional gypsy and Turkish folk music. Seeking out a range of world-class collaborators, he has also performed with Maria, Joao Pires, keyboard specialist Joe Zawinul and, more recently, guitarist Eliot Fisk. He appears regularly with his own jazz band, the Burhan Ocal Group, and as a guest artist with George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band from Switzerland. His newest projects including the formation of the duo with the remarkable Australian pianist Peter Waters and his most unusual venture, the creation of a Oriental/Funk/Hip-Hop band with the American bass players Jamaladeen Tacuma.

Burhan aimed to include all his early influences in this project. He wandered through most of the musician cafes in Trakya (Thrace) and showed up at many local celebrations with the intention to form an orchestra made up of unknown musicians who were true masters of their instruments. The Balkans came in with the trumpet and accordion, which are actually hard-to-find instruments in Turkish music. In the end, he was able to form a band that he could confidently name The Trakya All Stars. All of the musicians involved in this project share a common heritage. Except for Burhan, all are of gypsy origin and all their ancestors including Burhan's migrated from Thessaloniki (Salonika) region in northern Greece at the beginning of the 1900s.» (National Geographic World Music, courtesy Calabash Music)

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