From Saz to Jazz

“Folksongs the like the Spanish Flamenco, the Argentinian Tango, the Neapolitan songs, the Portuguese Fado or the French Chansons, despite their national orientation, have established themselves as international cultural assets that bring joy to listeners and audiences around the world.

Just like the aforementioned types of folk music, the Anatolian folk songs, called Türkü, constitute a rich musical tradition that has established itself beyond national borders and they are well-liked by audiences everywhere. The mystical poems of Dadaloğlu, Yunus Emre, Mevlana, Köroğlu, Karacaoğlan or Hacı Bektaş Veli have universal appeal and constitute a fertile ground fort the manifold expressions of the Türkü, which draws its vitality from being firmly rooted in its original traditions. The Türkü describes Anatolia. It constitutes the language of love and the suffering of this region, whose history, cultural heritage, geography and social environment constitute the basic themes of the Anatolian folk songs, which mirror the Turkish way of life. Still steeped entirely in their ethnic traditions, these songs deal with the universal human spirit. This is why the traditional Turkish folk songs can also be interpreted in and for every culture.

Jazz is the language of freedom. Improvisation is an indispensable characteristic of jazz. In particular the dialogues that one frequently encounters in the Blues are based entirely on improvisation. The dialogues of our bards in the Anatolian folk songs are also improvised. Anatolian music carries a melancholy, sadness and longing in it. Seen in this way, we are not so far away from the Blues…

In 2008, the the project “From Saz to Jazz” was premiered in Nurnberg in cooperation with well-known jazz soloists from Europe and America. The album Yel (Wind) “From Saz to Jazz” which was realized using the music and musical instruments of Anatolia, is the result of this project that started seven years ago.

We firmly believe, through this project, to make a major contribution to the significance of Anatolian folk music for the cultural patrimony of world music.” Hasan Yükselir


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