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Kayhan Kalhor & Erdal Erzincan — Kula Kulluk Yakışır Mi (2013)

 Kayhan Kalhor & Erdal Erzincan — Kula Kulluk Yakışır Mi (2013)

Kayhan Kalhor & Erdal Erzincan — Kula Kulluk Yakışır Mi (Aug. 27, 2013)
→  Iranian kamancheh player Kayan Kalhor’s ‘East meets East’ projects have brought some tantalizing cultural hybrids to full flower. The ongoing collaboration with Anatolian bağlama master Erdal Erzincan is one of the most striking of them. The source material for their improvisations in this intense and fascinating performance – recorded in Bursa, to the south of Istanbul – includes music from all over Turkey and music of traditional Persian provenance. These two master musicians from Teheran and Erzurum intertwine melodies, revisit “The Wind” (title piece of their 2004 recording), and create instrumental music which acknowledges tradition but declines to be restricted by it.
Location: Teheran, Iran ~ Rome, Italy ~ Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada ~ Karaj, Iran / Erzumrum ~ Arif Sağ music school, Istanbul, Turkey // Bursa, Turkey
KK born: 24 November 1963, Kermanshah, Iran
EE born: 1971, Erzurum, Turkey
Album release: August 27, 2013
Recording date: February, 2011
Record Label: ECM
Genre: Avant-Garde, International, Jazz
Styles: Iran-Classical, Iranian, Middle Eastern Traditions, Neo-Traditional, Structured Improvisation, Turkish
Duration:     59:56
01. Improvisation I      (5:29)
02. Alli Turnam      (5:44)
03. Improvisation II      (3:24)
04. Deli Derviş      (4:12)
05. Daldalan Bari      (6:18)
06. Improvisation III      (3:01)
07. Kula Kulluk Yakişir Mi      (8:58)
08. Improvisation IV      (3:45)
09. Improvisation V      (2:15)
10. The Wind      (7:31)
11. Intertwining Melodies:
— Sivas Halayı
— Mevlam Birçok Dert Vermiş
— Erik Dalı Gevrektir
— Gol Nishan          (9:19)
Notes: Kula Kulluk Yakışır Mi was recorded live in Bursa, Turkey, in February 2011
→  Kayhan Kalhor: Kamancheh (Persian spiked fiddle))
→  Erdal Erzincan: Bağlama
→  Muhlis Akarsu  Composer
→  Manfred Eicher  Producer
→  Erdal Erzincan  Arranger, Bağlama, Composer, Primary Artist
→  Ara Güler  Cover Photo
→  Kayhan Kalhor  Arranger, Composer, Primary Artist
→  Sascha Kleis  Design
→  Todd Rosenberg  Photography
→  Emre Teke  Engineer
→  Traditional  Composer
Label: http://www.ecmrecords.com/
Website: http://www.kayhankalhor.net/
Erdal: http://www.erdalerzincan.com.tr/
EE Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ErdalErzincanResmiSayfasi
KK MySpace: https://myspace.com/kayhankalhor
Album Moods: Airy Ambitious Atmospheric Complex Confident Dark Delicate Devotional Dramatic Dreamy Earthy Ecstatic Eerie Elaborate Elegant Ethereal Exciting Flowing Hypnotic Improvisatory Intense Kinetic Languid Literate Lively Lonely Lyrical Melancholy Narrative Organic Poignant Powerful Refined Searching Sophisticated Spiritual Tender Warm Yearning
Review by Thom JurekScore: ****½
→  It has been nearly a decade since Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan recorded The Wind for ECM. During that long interval, the pair have played together so often, they appear to have perfected a musical language that walks not only between various musical traditions but through them simultaneously, coming through the other side with something timeless. Kalhor is an Iranian master of the kamancheh (spike fiddle). →  He has a relentlessly mercurial musical mind. It's been displayed not only in his work as a solo artist, with the duo Ghazal, and the ensemble Dastan, but also in Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble. Erzincan is regarded as the greatest living practitioner of the Anatolian bağlama tradition (it is also called a saz, a long-necked lute type of instrument), and like his partner here, possesses a wildly adventurous spirit, not only in moving from Turkish folk and Western classical traditions with seamless ease, but also as an improviser. Kula Kulluk Yakışır Mi was recorded live in 2011. Its title is taken from the folk song by the late prolific Turkish folk musician Muhlis Akarsu. It translates loosely as "How unseemly it is to follow anyone slavishly." Other than this duo's glorious version of that song and a thematic reprise of "The Wind," everything here is either built upon — but never stays chained to — traditional folk songs or consists of outright improvisations that come from nothing, engage both Persian and Turkish folk traditions, and emerge as a deeply emotional music that is unclassifiable. While everything here feels like it is of a piece — the performance never seems to stop — it doesn't necessarily sound like it. There are poignant silences within these arrangements, where the individual or paired instruments resonate as if to underscore meaning, either directly intended by a piece or intuited from it — check the two-minute mark of the traditional "Alli Turnam," where the theme trails off, is followed by a naturally echoing space, and then turns back on itself to speak of the troublesome historical present even as it addresses a more innocent past. None of the five improvisations here reaches four minutes. The degree of intuitive interplay is so high, it is almost impossible not to regard these as formal works. They are informed by the traditional songs that precede them and foreshadow those that follow, as they shift and transform songs into sounds that are both beguilingly strange and ancient — familiar in the body's cellular memory and in the heart's present moment. The final nine minutes, entitled "Intertwining Melodies," weave four traditional songs and become an extended improvisation upon them all, even as they are united in one flowing river of sound, history, and mystery. Kula Kulluk Yakışır Mi is outstanding for its depth and truly masterful execution, but more than this, it is revelatory in the way it connects players to one another inside the music, and listeners to both musicians and sound, as it evokes emotions that are far beyond the reach of words. (http://www.allmusic.com/)
In french:
→  "Toujours prompt a croiser son archet persan avec les instrumentistes d'autres musiques savantes orientales, Kayhan Kalhor, l'orfevre iranien de la viele kamantché, entretient avec Erdal Erzincan, le maître anatolien du baglama, le luth turc, une collaboration au long cours. Sept ans apres The Wind, dont ils revisitent au passage l'un des titres, ce second album en commun, captation d'un concert donné a Bursa, au sud d'Istanbul, en révele une autre facette. Toujours articulées sur des mélodies turques et les arabesques sinueuses du répertoire mystique persan, leurs improvisations de haut vol vibrent en effet d'une impétuosité nouvelle. Au total, onze pieces, courtes, nerveuses, incroyablement denses, tendues non plus par les envolées méditatives et les soupirs extatiques, mais par de brusques emballements de cordes, ou résonnent les tourments et les passions avec la meme intensité." (source: www.telerama.fr )
By JOHN KELMAN, Published: September 8, 2013
→  When Kayhan Kalhor and Erdal Erzincan released The Wind (ECM, 2004), it was often shockingly beautiful evidence that jazz doesn't own the concept of improvisation — already a millennial concept when jazz first emerged in recognizable form at the turn of the 20th century. There are academics who now assert that "America's classical music" actually dates farther back, its roots easily found in older cultures. Does that mean, then, that the music played by Kalhor — Iranian-born child prodigy and virtuoso of the kamencheh (spike fiddle), steeped in his country's tradition but also studying western classical music in Canada and a collaborator with cellist Yo-Yo Ma in the Grammy-nominated Silk Road Ensemble for more than a decade — and the similarly virtuosic, Anatolian-born Erzincan (exemplary proponent of the oud-like baglama/saz) is jazz? Hardly, but at a time when cross-pollination — not just of genres but of cultures — creates an infinite number of hybrid permutations, there's little doubt that the music this duo makes speaks of the same transcendental spirit to which so many jazz musicians aspire.
→  For this impressive live performance, Kalhor and Erzinan appear as a duo, without The Wind's Ulaş Özdemir, whose divan bağlama (or Turkish bass saz) provided a harmonic foundation. It would, perhaps, be unfair to say that it's not missed, but the truth is that, left to their own devices, exploring a repertoire that mixes completely free improvisations with traditional Iranian and Turkish music, as well as The Wind's central theme, Kalhor and Erzinan manage just fine on their own.
→  Being unfamiliar with the source material doesn't in any way spoil enjoyment of Kula Kulluk Yakişir Mi's hour-long, continuous performance, but it does make capturing the cues that must clearly exist amongst the two musicians that signal the shift from utter spontaneity to explorations of extant, often centuries-old themes less instantly obvious. Still, if conventional western forms are out the window here, it's not hard to hear the duo's shift from the fiery, pedal tone-based "Improvisation II" — impressive enough to garner a large round of applause, midpoint, from the Bursa, Turkey audience at this winter, 2011 performance—into the clearer form of "Deli Derviş," with Kalhor joining Erzincan in a whirling dervish of a melody, though it's the baglama that remains the dominant instrument. Kalhor assumes a more prominent role on the following "Daldalan Ban," demonstrating the timbral breadth of his bowed instrument as he moves from softer terrain to more aggressive, upper register explorations, the duo shifting dynamics from a near-whisper — where Kalhor's instrument begins to sound almost flute-like at times — to more energetic passages where Kalhor's kamancheh soars over Erzincan's pulsating rhythms, sometimes arpegiatted, sometimes heavily strummed.
→  Kula Kulluk Yakişir Mi closes with The Wind's core melody and a nine-minute medley of "Intertwining Melodies," Kalhor using the back of his instrument's resonating chamber as a percussion instrument before the duo engages in a whirlwind of Mid-Eastern themes, Kalhor moving effortlessly from bow to pizzicato as the two build to a fever pitch and climactic conclusion met with a final, thunderous round of applause. It's a fitting conclusion to a transcendent performance of stellar virtuosity and relentless spirituality.
→  The album title, from the folk song of the same name by the great baglama player Muhlis Akarsu (1948-1993), translates as “How unseemly it is to follow anyone slavishly” — a motto of some pertinence to all the spheres of life, from the personal to the political to the spiritual. Interpreted artistically — as on this exciting album by two master-musicians from Iran and Anatolia — it could allude to the creative freedoms implied by traditional music. Important as it is to study them, traditions can’t be extended by unreflective repetition: both due respect and an adventurous spirit are needed.
→  Much of Kayhan Kalhor’s music has explored the nexus of the traditional and the innovative. When the collaboration with Erdal Erzincan began, Kalhor sketched out his blueprint for the meeting: “I’m looking for something that departs from nothing and then goes into developing material, and then goes into something else really improvised....” This was the ground plan for The Wind, the first of the Kalhor/Erzincan albums, recorded in 2004. A great deal of shared work since then has intensified the concept, and this live album, which Kalhor considers one of his strongest recorded statements, shows how the music has moved to the next level in terms of the improvised content and the nature of the relationship between the two instruments. →  The central theme of The Wind is revisited, there are five pure improvisations and music derived from both Persian and Turkish tradition. Kalhor and Erzincan come from different cultural backgrounds yet seem to be playing with one mind. The album concludes with the stunning “Intertwining Melodies” in which themes from both cultures are braided into a transcendent medley. Kalhor has said that for him the goal is to disappear into the music, to access a world of feeling not available in everyday life. →  In the cascading melodies here, Kalhor and Erzincan give the listener glimpses of that other world.
→  Kayhan Kalhor, born in 1963, grew up in Teheran. At the age of seven he began his music studies under Master Ahmad Mohajer. A child prodigy on the kamancheh (the spike fiddle), he was invited at the age of thirteen to work in the Iranian National Radio and Television Orchestra, where he performed for five years, and began working with the Shayda Ensemble of the Chavosh Cultural Centre at seventeen while continuing to study the Iranian classical repertoire (radif) with different masters. He also absorbed regional repertoires and styles in the course of his travels in Iran, including those of Khorasan in the northeast and Kurdistan in the west.
→  He went on to study Western classical music in Rome and at Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. He has composed works for Iran's most renowned vocalists, including Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri, and also performed with Iran's greatest masters, including Faramarz Payvar and Hossein Alizadeh. In 1991 he co-founded Dastan, the renowned Persian classical music ensemble, and in 1997 he and Shujaat Khan launched Ghazal (see the ECM album The Rain). He has collaborated with Yo-Yo Ma in the Silk Road Ensemble since 1999 and, thrice Grammy-nominated, has become one the most important cultural ambassadors for Persian music. He lives today in Karaj in the suburbs of Teheran and is regarded as a mentor for a new generation of kamancheh players. “Cultures and music change and develop with every upcoming generation, and I see this as a natural progression after mastering the traditional.”
→  Erdal Erzincan was born in Erzumrum in 1971, and at an early age became deeply interested in the region’s folk music. Introduced to the baglama, he moved to Istanbul in 1985 to take lessons at the Arif Sag Music School. While studying at the Istanbul Technical University in the late 1980s he began to research finger-picking approaches to playing the bağlama (as opposed to the more common plectrum style).
→  His solo album Tore was released in 1994, the first of many successful discs, opening the way also for international performances. Erzincan, like Kalhor, is a traditionalist with a taste for adventure. In 1996 he and bağlama master Arif Sag collaborated with the Köln Philharmonic, an experiment continued by Erzincan in 2004 with the Ambassade Orchester Wien, an ensemble of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. Erdal Erzincan teaches at a music school that carries his name and also leads a Bağlama Orchestra comprised of his students. In Turkey today he is widely regarded as the most outstanding exponent of the Anatolian bağlama tradition. (http://www.opus3artists.com/)
→  Kayhan Kalhor is an internationally acclaimed virtuoso on the kamancheh (Persian spiked fiddle). His performances of Persian music and his many collaborations have attracted audiences around the globe. Born in Tehran, Iran, he began his musical studies at the age of seven. At thirteen, he was invited to work with the National Orchestra of Radio and Television of Iran, where he performed for five years. When he was seventeen he began working with the Shayda Ensemble of the Chavosh Cultural Center, the most prestigious arts organization in Iran at the time.  He has traveled extensively throughout Iran, studying the music of its many regions, in particular those of Khorason and Kordestan.
→  Kayhan has toured the world as a soloist with various ensembles and orchestras including the New York Philharmonic and the Orchestre National de Lyon.  He is co-founder of the renowned ensembles Dastan, Ghazal: Persian & Indian Improvisations and Masters of Persian Music. Kayhan has composed works for Iran’s most renowned vocalists Mohammad Reza Shajarian and Shahram Nazeri and has also performed and recorded with Iran’s greatest instrumentalists. Kayhan has composed music for television and film and was most recently featured on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Copolla’s Youth Without Youth in a score that he collaborated on with Osvaldo Golijov. →  In 2004, Kayhan was invited by American composer John Adams to give a solo recital at Carnegie Hall as part of his Perspectives Series and in the same year he appeared on a double bill at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival, sharing the program with the Festival Orchestra performing the Mozart Requiem.
→  Kayhan is an original member of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project and his compositions Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur, Silent City and Mountains Are Far Away, appear on all three of the Ensemble’s albums. His most recent commission for the Kölner Philharmonic in Germany will be premiered in October 2009. Three of his recent recordings have been nominated for Grammys, Faryad, Without You and The Rain.  His new CD Silent City, with the innovative ensemble Brooklyn Rider, was released on the World Village label in September 2008 to critical acclaim. Compositions: Blue as the Turquoise Night of Neyshabur / Gallop of a Thousand Horses / I was There / The Silent City / Mountains Are Far Away // Contact: doostmusic@gmail.com

Kayhan Kalhor & Erdal Erzincan — Kula Kulluk Yakışır Mi (2013)



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