Posts Tagged ‘sezen aksu’
We are very excited to announce the launch of our latest venture – the Songlines iPad edition. We are now offering a free trial of issue #79 (October 2011) available for download at the iTunes App Store here.
We’ve had a lot of interest in an iPad edition from subscribers and we are glad to respond with this free trial. Subsequent issues will be available to download as individual purchases or as part of an annual subscription through the Newsstand platform in the iTunes App store.
Interactive features including audio samples of the Top of the World and bonus CDs and links to websites and videos will make this edition of the magazine a wonderful resource. For the first time, photography, features, interviews and reviews spanning music from across the globe will become available at fingertip proximity.
Visit the iTunes App Store to download the complimentary trial issue, featuring the Touareg rockers Tinariwen, Turkish pop diva Sezen Aksu, the guitar ans ritti duo JuJu, young folk star Jackie Oates, and Malian songbird Fatoumata Diawara.
Yesterday Editor-in-chief Simon Broughton reviewed the London performances of two of the biggest music stars from the Middle East, which you can read here. We hope you enjoy our photo gallery from the two performances courtesy of photographers Borna Izadpanah (Shajarian) and Rii Schroer (Sezen Aksu).
Photos of Mohammad Reza Shajarian courtesy of Borna Izadpanah.
Photos of Sezen Aksu courtesy of Rii Schoroer (www.riischroer.com).
Mohammad Reza Shajarian – Royal Festival Hall, London, October 18
Sezen Aksu – Royal Albert Hall, London, October 20
In an extraordinary coincidence, London saw performances of two of the biggest music stars from the Middle East just two days apart. The great Iranian singer Shajarian performed to a packed out Festival Hall – over 90% Iranian I reckon – that gave a standing ovation the moment he walked on. He was with a 16-piece orchestra unlike anything I’ve seen – with traditional Persian instruments but also new inventions by Shajarian himself. He’s become a hugely significant figure, particularly for the exile community, as he has spoken out against policies of the Iranian regime and no longer gives concerts there. However, he said absolutely nothing to the audience onstage in London, but just let the music speak. Discreetly in a box at the side was Googoosh, Iran’s pop diva of the 1970s, before the Islamic revolution.
Sezen Aksu is Turkey’s pop diva – a hugely successful artist who not only writes hugely popular songs, but is outspoken on many controversial issues at home. It was obviously unfortunate that her concert coincided with PKK attacks on Turkish soldiers in Turkey and the Turkish army responding with raids into northern Iraq. Much of Turkey was in mourning and it brought a subdued mood to the concert with a string of slow numbers. From her new album she did ‘Vay’ – a song of dark nights and separation, but one of the most beautiful. For her fans in the Albert Hall she could do no wrong. Her classic ‘Geri Don’ had the audience singing along early on and the lights of mobile phones filming were like shimmering candles round the hall. Aksu has a wonderful gravelly quality to her voice, but at times she was seriously out of tune. While Shajarian refused to say anything onstage, Aksu hardly stopped. She ended her speech about the Kurdish attacks saying “Whatever a person’s cause it will never be holier than an honourable peace.” She had a terrific band with each of them given a solo spot to shine – but most impressive was pianist Fahir Atakoğlu who opened the set with an amazing Bartók meets Keith Jarrett solo.
But it was Shajarian’s concert that had real musical class. He has a superb voice, but not speaking Farsi I find the excessive vibrato sounding mannered. The texts were classic poems by Hafez, Saadi and Mowlana (Rumi), as well as the contemporary poet Sayeh. For me it was the singing of his daughter, Mojgan (which wouldn’t be permitted at all in Iran, as women can’t sing solo to a mixed audience) and the instrumentalists that shone. The musical director was tar player Majid Derakhshani, who brought a muscularity to an instrument that can often sound a little feeble. Other memorable moments included a shimmering duet for hammer dulcimers santur and tondar (one of Shajarian’s creations) and the sound of a whole load of plucked and bowed string instruments I’ve never seen before. At the end there was an instant ovation and two popular encores – ‘Morgh-e Sahar’ and ‘Hamrah Sho Aziz’ – that people recognised immediately with a yelp of delight and applause. It brought a welcome feeling of contact between Shajarian and the audience. ‘Morgh-e Sahar’ can be interpreted as a lament for the situation at home and ‘Hamrah Sho Aziz’, a revolutionary song from 1979 by santur player Parviz Meshkatian in whose memory the concert was dedicated. It’s important to remember that many musicians were behind the revolution in 1979 with a hope to lessen American influence and revive Persian culture. During the final bow every member of the orchestra was given a white rose and finally Shajarian collected them all together and with great force threw out one by one to the four corners of the Festival Hall.
Photo of Sezen Aksu by Rii Schroer
Check back tomorrow for a gallery of images from the two concerts.
Now that you’ve had a chance to read about all the exciting music featured in the current issue of Songlines, don’t forget that you can watch it and listen to it too. Each issue, we create a YouTube playlist of featured videos to help give the full interactive experience. You can view the playlist here.
Some of the highlights of this issue’s videos include:
Deolinda ‘Que Parva Que Eu Sou’
Tinariwen featuring TV on the Radio ‘Tenere Taqhim Tossam’
Sezen Aksu ‘Unuttun Mu Beni’
JuJu ‘Miriama Trance’