North American Tour / March 2000
The nature of the Gypsy is to travel and Gypsy
(or Rom) music, with it’s diverse range of influences, reflects
these journeys through the cultures of many nations. As our world
shrinks, our music and we become increasingly touched and influenced
through our travels through the rhythms and melodies of the world.
Our ears become open to new sounds as jazz, reggae, world beat,
hip-hop and all the many, many old and new musics of the world intermingle.
The most open and innovative musicians create new languages out
of traditional forms of expression. New vernaculars mingle with
ancient idioms crossing cultural boundaries while retaining their
original passion and flavor to create some of the most interesting
and vibrant music of our times.
Turkish born clarinet virtuoso Barbaros Erköse
is among the many skilled performers who are collaborating with
other musicians from all over the world to explore new ways to nurture
the growth of a world music rooted in many soils. Not content to
rest upon his laurels as a respected classical Turkish and Rom musician,
Erköse seeks out projects that dissolve the boundaries of nations
and genres. His collaboration with New York born and bred jazz trombonist
Craig Harris, Istanbul/Craig Harris & The Nation of Imagination
featuring Barbaros Erköse (Pozitif Imaj 1998), is his latest
journey into a land inhabited by jazz, hip hop, reggae, African
and Turkish music (among others).
Erköse, aware of the power of the past, has
not abandoned his roots or his love of Gypsy music in his quest
for new idioms. He still performs the traditional Turkish folk music
(Gypsy or Rom music) that first made him famous. With the Barbaros
Erköse Ensemble he has brought the passionate sounds of Gypsy
music beyond the borders of Turkey to Europe and North America.
Live, whether sharing the stage with American jazz
or traditional Turkish musicians, Erköse embraces and incites
the audience with the vitality and passion of Turkish and Gypsy
music. He balances out the great celebratory joy of Gypsy music
with the melancholy of jazz, euphoria with a touch of the blues.
While his passion makes his performances more than energetic enough
to keep hips swaying in bacchanalian celebration, his finesse and
subtlety makes him capable of holding a concert hall enthralled.
Though his roots are Turkish and Rom, Erköse is a citizen of
the world and his music speaks a language that captivates people
of all cultures.
Gypsy clarinetist Barbaros Erköse grew up
steeped in the sounds of Turkish popular and traditional Rom (or
Gypsy) music. Born in 1938 into a family of accomplished musicians
- his father was the family’s music teacher, his brother Ali played
violin and Selahattin played oud - Barbaros found his voice in the
clarinet. One of his early teachers was the legendary Saffet Gündeger.
Though his first professional performance was at the age of fourteen,
it wasn't (according to Barbaros) until he reached the age of twenty-two
that his father was truly satisfied with his son’s clarinet playing.
In 1961, after hearing a performance of Gypsy tunes
by the three Erköse brothers, the government owned Istanbul
Radio offered them jobs. (In Turkey it is common practice for radio
stations to hire musicians to play in studio.) The Erköse brothers
fast became the favorite musicians of Turkish stars of the time
such as Zeki Müren and Gönül Yazar. They recorded
for several European and Turkish labels and their tours took them
to the US, Europe and the Middle East. Erköse had become, and
still is, recognized as a virtuoso Gypsy musician who plays with
passion as well as refined technique.
An inquisitive musician intrigued and excited by
all forms of music, Erköse became involved in projects that
took him on a journey into different styles in the early 1990s.
He played with Tunisian oud player Anouar Brahem on Brahem’s 1992
recording Conte de l'incroyable amour (ECM) and became a
frequent member of Brahem’s trio, which includes percussionist Lassad
Hosni. While performing in Europe, Erköse met German musician
Peter Pannke which led to their collaboration on a project related
to Heinrich Von Morungen, a German traveler from the 13th Century.
This project, which involved seven musicians including Erköse's
long-time percussion accompanist Güngör Hosses, resulted
in an album called Morungen/Songs from Visionary Musical.
Erköse toured with the project, performing in Europe, India,
Pakistan and Tunisia.
Last year Erköse’s interest in fusing different
forms of music resulted in a recorded collaboration with American
jazz trombonist Craig Harris and his Nation of Imagination project.
Turkish, Rom, jazz, reggae, funk, hip hop and many more genres fuse
in this project which melds old and new musical dialects into a
music truly of the world. A world music where the sound of the soul
is more important than the tongue in which it speaks. Though Erköse
is a highly accomplished musician, he views technical abilities
as mere vehicles to carry emotions and that the ability to play
soulful music must come from one’s own experiences. Erköse's
clarinet speaks volumes as it wraps itself around the emotive tongues
of Gypsy music, jazz and the many new musical territories and their
languages into which his insatiable musical curiosity leads him.
March 17, 2000
New York, NY
World Music Institute
Symphony Space, Broadway at 95th St., New York
March 18, 2000
55 Davis Sq., Somerville
Telephone: (617) 876-4275
Fax: (617) 876-9170
March 19, 2000
Cedar Cultural Center
March 21, 2000
University of Wisconsin
Memorial Union, Great Hall
The Village Dance House
Info: (608) 233-5322
March 22, 2000
Chicago Cultural Center
Claudia Cassidy Theatre
78 E. Washington St
Chicago, IL 60602
March 24, 2000
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Canadian Museum of Civilization
100 Laurier Street
P. O. Box 3100, Station B
Hull, Quebec J8X 4H2
Telephone: (819) 776-7181
Fax: (819) 776-8279
Presented in cooperation the Embassy of the Republic of Turkey.
March 26, 2000
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
du Maurier Theatre Centre
231 Queens Quay West
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Small World Music
Telephone: (416) 536-4769