Turkey`s popular music band Taksim Trio will perform in a special concert in Istanbul, along with Spanish flamenco pianist Dorantes; legendary flamenco bassist Carles Benavent, and the Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu on Friday.
By Burcu Arik Ozer / Nilay Kar
ISTANBUL - Bonded to their instruments, and committed to their friendship, Turkish band Taksim Trio are three like-minded souls, that have come together through music.
Featuring three of Turkey’s most in-demand master instrumentalists, Taksim Trio is made up of Husnu Senlendirici on the clarinet, Ismail Tuncbilek on the baglama, and Aytac Dogan on the kanun.
Dancing between different musical styles, such as traditional, arabesque, jazz and classical, the musicians have come up with their unique style based on their experiences. Their musical approach is greatly influenced by Istanbul`s position as the bridge to the East and the West, the trio said.
In an exclusive interview with Anadolu Agency (AA) before their performance on February 28 at Zorlu Center for Performing Arts Center in Istanbul, the band spoke about their songs, instruments, and friendship.
- When was the Taksim Trio formed?
Husnu Senlendirici: "We are actually old friends. Ismail and Aytac were born in Bursa [northwest Turkey] and grew up together. As with any band, the connection and relationships between each member is essential to the execution of the music. We decided to come together in 2007. We launched our first album `Taksim Trio` in the same year, we started to give concerts at European festivals and halls."
Aytac Dogan: "We met many years ago and we are good at music as well as in friendship. None of us is mere opponent for another. We are all engaged in Taksim, where the magic enters."
-The band combine different musical styles such as traditional, arabesque, jazz and classical. How would you describe your music?
Husnu Senlendirici: "I started to travel around the world when I was 14. I met so many different musicians from all around the world. Through the years, I have gained valuable experience. Comprising of clarinet, baglama [instrument with three double strings] and kanun [zither], the Taksim Trio give an absolutely absorbing and different portrayal of contemporary musical styles played within a traditional Turkish sound scape."
Ismail Tuncbilek: Music of Taksim Trio is like rainbow. It is colourful. It has like every language and every color. Kanun and baglama are the instruments that people in abroad don`t know generally. Those, who listen to our music for the first time, get surprised at first and then like."
-Where the name of the band Taksim Trio comes from?
Husnu Senlendirici: "We travel a lot and we pick up on our journeys to reflect our own musical identities. We mix music with the dynamic and cosmopolitan soul of Istanbul. This is why we are called Taksim Trio. Istanbul is the heart of Turkey as Taksim is the heart of Istanbul. Our music reflects Istanbul."
Aytac Dogan: "Istanbul has been the point where East meets West, and it is with this idea that Taksim Trio lays its music. Obviously rooted in our own musical heritage of traditionally styled Turkish music, we incorporate such styles as classical and jazz into this traditional mold, allowing the direction of our playing to represent Istanbul both historically and musically."
- Your first album Taksim Trio consists of your own compositions and the second one "Taksim Trio 2" generally has cover songs. Are you working on a new album, how do you plan to shape the 3rd album?
Husnu Senlendirici: "The trio is open to surprises. We might play with other musicians for our third album."
- You will also be accompanied by Spanish flamenco and jazz bassist Carles Benavent, Spanish flamenco pianist Dorantes and Indian percussionist Trilok Gurtu in your "Istanbul Experience" performance. What surprises do you have for the audience?
Husnu Senlendirici: "It will be a spectacular concert. We`ve worked with such groups before, especially abroad. For example, we`ve given a joint concert with Zakir Hussain [Indian tabla player and composer] at the Istanbul Jazz Festival."
Carles Benavent: "The surprise is that we play together for the first time with acoustic piano. Audiences know Taksim Trio but they don`t know what kind of music will come out during the concert."
- You have many fans in the Middle East and Arab countries. How about Europe and America?
Husnu Senlendirici: "Yes, when I go to Tunisia and Syria, I think I am Michael Jackson. They love us so much. They listen to us very much. The ethnic side of our music draws many people, especially in Europe. There is an interest in ethnic music. Because it is a style that they [Europeans] have not listened to much.
It`s a very different experience for them. The emotional part of our music also affects people. They get surprised and shocked when a song finishes. There is a silence for a while. The applaud come a few seconds later.
Our concert, especially abroad go really well. The energy of Taksim Trio is very different and very special. We also plan to visit America in September for 20 days soon."
- Do you like Taksim Trio’s music? How do you evaluate their style?
Carles Benavent: "I`ve been here in Turkey four or five times before but it is the first time that I will play with the band. Their music is very nice. I love their instruments and style."
-You`ve been in Turkey before. How did you find the Turkish audience`s reactions to your music?
Carles Benavent: "I love their reactions. They are very positive and communicative."
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