Istanbul Breeze performs at Southern


submitted photo

Istanbul Breeze, members Dena El Saffar (left), Ozan Cemali, and Tim Moore (right),perform the traditional and classic music of Turkey in two performances in Corley Auditorium. Sept. 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Sept. 19 at noon.

Robin Fjelstad/Web Editor

The exploration of Turkey continues at Missouri Southern with an introduction to the world of Turkish music provided by the group Istanbul Breeze, a traditional performing group from Bloomington, Ind.

“We are really looking forward to the performance in Joplin next week,” said Dena El Saffar, member of Istanbul Breeze. She is a composer who plays viola and violin.

“People always enjoy hearing the music of the themed semester country,” said Dr. Chad Stebbins, director of the Institute of International Studies.

The group will be on campus for two live performances in Corley Auditorium on Thursday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m., and Friday, Sept. 19, at noon.

Friday’s performance will be preceded by a lecture, “History and Traditions of Turkish Music,” at 10 a.m. in Corley Auditorium.

Members of the band will discuss the history and traditions of the instruments they use. Ozan Cemali, a native of Turkey, will discuss Turkish folk music and the traditions of the music among “troubadours” in Turkey,” according to the themed semester booklet.

“Istanbul Breeze wants to share the beautiful culture and music of Turkey with the rest of the world,” said Cemali. “As a ‘troubadour’ or ‘ozan’ this is my mission.” He said ozan is the Turkish word for poet, bard or troubadour.

Cemali, in addition to singing, plays the baglama, a Turkish folk instrument that looks a little bit like a medieval lute with a round back like a gourd.

The remaining band members, Saffar, percussionist Tim Moore and Tomás Lozano, who plays the guitar and hurdy gurdy, each began learning and performing music in childhood. Members have been in a wide variety of groups and, as individuals, have explored many different musical genres, including blues, salsa and traditional Sephardic music from Spain.

The music of Turkey will be revisited by students, faculty and guest performers later this fall.

“There’s a couple other occasions to hear the music from Turkey with our own Southern Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 7, and the Southern Jazz Orchestra on Dec. 2, but [Istanbul Breeze is] the only really authentic Turkish musicians that you would hear during the Turkey semester,” said Stebbins.