Çagri had started from the point where I am today.” - Giora
If you've ever watched Serkan Cagri perform with any of the numerous projects
he's been associated with through the years, the first word that might
occur to you is "effortless." His body swings lightly from side
to side, he gives subtle winks to the orchestra to indicate rhythmic breaks
and tempo changes, his knees bend as if he's floating in water and his
shoulders keep time as if he’s dancing from the top down.
Visuals aside, Serkan's musical diversity is well known to anyone who
has watched his popular show on the Turkish TRT television channel, where
he writes and performs with the top musicians of the day, including his
own Rumeli band, which performs Gypsy Balkan music with such energy that
you feel like dancing and clapping even if you're just sitting in your
Serkan's collaborations are extensive, reaching into the western classical
world (his ethereal modern orchestration of the Concierto de Aranjuez
makes you think it was written for clarinet and not guitar). Even in his
modern renditions, Serkan never lets you forget his roots as a deeply
trained classical musician who is able to cross the boundaries within
sections of a piece, uniting Greek, Turkish, Bulgarian and Gypsy styles
as if they were born in the same crib.
Jazz and Blues don't phase him either. Playing a Krivo Hora, you'll hear
the music slide from Bulgarian rhythmic asymmetries into blues piano then
into a solo clarinet taxim without losing a beat. No stranger to Greek
music, Serkan can be heard taking a Greek Zeybek and underlaying it with
Jazz and Funk harmonies in his “Zeybek-Jazz”, which features
breathtaking Balkan breaks peppered with harmonies that remind the listener
of Miles Davis’ Water Babies or the earlier work of Weather Report.
Audiences and musicians alike, love Serkan. Following his reception of
the “Best Clarinet Performer” Contest when he was only thirteen,
he joined the Grup Laçin, and was featured as a guest artist in
Mercan Dede & Secret Tribe, Kardes Türküler and Yarkin Ensemble
and many others. The popular icon of Klezmer clarinet, Giora Feidman was
quoted as saying, “Serkan Çagr¦ had started from the point
where I am today”.
In spite of his mastery of the clarinet, Serkan is equally comfortable
accompanying vocalists such as the wonderful Yildiz Ibrahimova. Listen
also to his work with Melihat Gülses Yildizlarin Altinda and Mavi
Ada, where the music seethes with a warm sensuality, transporting the
listener into a world of deep thought before oozing into a light, danceable
Longa at the same time playful and melancholy.
Serkan Cagri is dedicated to the clarinet and its development, both musically
and technically. He has written extensively about it and has even published
a teaching manual on the techniques of performing on the G-clarinet, as
well as been commissioned to redesign the instrument, leading to a model
named after him by the Amatu-Denak company.
If you have the chance to experience Serkan
Cagri, you should not miss out. His concerts and recordings will leave