Selim Sesler, troubadour songs and an Alevi ceremony

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Istanbul is a European Capital of Culture for 2010 and in the first of two programmes Moshe Morad goes in search of traditional music in this melting-pot of peoples and cultures. Including a live session at Badehane's bar with gypsy clarinettist Selim Sesler, troubadour songs recorded in one of the city's oldest hamams, and a rare recording of an Alevi ceremony. A minority branch of Shia Islam, the Alevis controversially believe in equality between men and women, and meet once a week for music and mass-wailing.
Istanbul is a rich and diverse meeting point for musicians in Turkey, and it's a city where you can find every type of Turkish traditional music represented. It's also a cross-roads between Europe and Asia, East and West. Moshe Morad explores this rich mix and records sessions with many of Turkey's top musicians – including one of the best clarinettists in the world (Selim Sesler), and Saz player Cengiz Ozkan. The music and the city are brought to life in a number of atmospheric settings such as the 15th Century bath-house Cemberlitas, an Alebi ceremony and the tiny bar called Badehane - in a quiet street away from the hustle and bustle of Taksim, it's where Selim Sesler has played every Wednesday night for nearly a decade. Moshe learns about some of Turkey's best-loved traditional instruments such as the kamanche and the saz, hears the stories behind the music, and finds out from the people who live there what Istanbul means to them. Is this vibrant city an island in Turkey, is it in Europe or Asia, and is it secular or religious?

Presented by Moshe Morad
Produced by James Parkin

Tel. 020 7765 4661
Fax. 020 7765 5052
e-mail world.routes@bbc.co.uk

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1 hour

Last on

Sat 13 Feb 2010 15:00

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