Sunday, May 25, 2008

Turkish Troubador

My birthday was last week (and I'm still celebrating!) On Thursday we went to see Turkish musician and "troubador" Latif Bolat play and sing and recite poetry, as he was passing through Albuquerque. (He used to live in Santa Fe, but has moved back to Turkey. While in Santa Fe, he contributed to the book by Jennifer Farraro called Quarrelling with God, translations of mostly Bektashi Sufi poets, and those are the poems that he featured in last night's gathering.)

There are a couple of YouTube videos around if you want to see who I'm talking about, although last night's performance was like neither of them. In the first video below, he performs with a group of musicians while two dervishes turn, and in the second, he reads from Quarrelling with God before he plays.

Last night he performed by himself in a warm, casual setting, an intimate gathering in a long, narrow studio at 2nd and Coal, where most of us relaxed on pillows on the floor and Latif sat in front of a small couch, telling stories and illuminating the history of the troubador tradition in Turkey.

He would introduce a poem and pass the book around for visitors to read, and then he would play a looooong song in a single rhythm, usually two or three mystical poems strung together.
Lucky us -- the DH and I have some of his music already. Last night, 'cause it's my birthday week, I bought the book and another CD, which I'm listening to now as I type this post.

You can hear from the YouTube video his rich baritone and excellent musicianship. What you can't get is the experience of a long, relaxing evening listening to intricately woven stories, and gentle laughter. Ahhh, a nice way to spend a cool, rainy spring (semi-birthday) evening with friends.

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