sun 26/05/2019

CD: Cüneyt Sepetçi and Orchestra Dolapdere- Bahriye Çiftetellisi | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Cüneyt Sepetçi and Orchestra Dolapdere- Bahriye Çiftetellisi

CD: Cüneyt Sepetçi and Orchestra Dolapdere- Bahriye Çiftetellisi

Dionysiac challenge to nightclub blandness

Rom clarinet virtuoso Cüneyt Sepetçi

The Roma have always existed on the margins: by choice, as they are nomads, but also through prejudice, as they and their outsider status evokes the threat of the unfamiliar. The brilliant gypsy clarinet players of Istanbul, cousins of the virtuosi of klezmer and Balkan wedding music, have entertained at parties for centuries. The best known, Selim Sesler, Barbaros Erköse and Mustafa Kandarili, may be admirable musicians, but, anxious to please the bourgeoisie, they have tailored their native fury to the needs of the Turkish nightclub.

The Turkish clarinet player Cüneyt Sepetçi is something else. His roots are still firmly in the street. Rarely recorded, he plays at weddings, circumcisions and other festive events in the Rom districts of Istanbul. He has preserved the rough edges that speak of suffering and precarious living. His runs of wailing notes, driven by a fierceness that is barely tempered by his extraordinary technical prowess, are reminiscent of John Coltrane’s "sheets of sound". He can also play softly, mostly in a sultry lower register, close in tone to the Armenian duduk, but he relishes most of all the fierceness of those Middle Eastern dances – the zebeyk, çiftetelli, hasapiko and karsilama (all of them familiar to anyone who knows Greek music), which trade on uneven and halting time signatures that keep the dancer from falling into deadening routines.

His Orchestra Dolapdere (named after the district of Istanbul in which he resides) are fully up to the task of driving him to ecstatic heights: peels of delicate kanun, fast-picked ud and a flawlessly energetic percussion duo of lightly-fingered darbuka and martial tapan. A toast is due to the adventurous guys from the Albuquerque band A Hawk and a Hacksaw who came across Çüneyt and his gang in the streets of Dolapdere, and enticed him into the studio where they have produced an extremely well recorded and balanced selection of dances and laments. It’s good to hear this kind of music rescued from the smoothness of the belly-dance circuit and plunged deep into the fire of Dionysiac revelry.

He has preserved the rough edges that speak of suffering and precarious living

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5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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