While delving a bit deeper into Kayhan Kalhor‘s repertoir following a Mudd Up tip-off, I came across bağlama player Erdal Erzincan, who he collaborated with on the album The Wind. I can’t really tell you too much about him, except that the following video is amazing and that you should watch it in its entirety.
It’s mostly a showcase for his jaw-dropping technical prowess (the guy actually makes the tapping technique popularized by Eddie Van Halen sound cool), which goes beyond the virtuoso habit of playing a ton of notes and actually tells a story. There are a ton of subtle structural and sonic details (rhythmic shifts, open spaces, buzzing strings) that keep me coming back to this clip, which now that I think about it, has been pretty time-consuming…Anyway! Kalhor has this to say about him (via):
“I appreciated at once that Erdal is a very good musician, a very serious baglama player – but he is still, normally, working within the demands of Turkish music today,” says Kalhor. “Ihis means songs and maybe a minute of playing in free time, and then another song. In Turkey, if you have a CD the market says you need 14 tracks and you have to have singing. I didn’t ask Erdal to sing. I explained to him, ‘I’m looking for something that departs from nothing and then goes into developing material and then goes into something else really improvised. Maybe we’ll go for a climax in terms of melody and energy and keep it there…And I’m looking at this for a form for maybe an hour of music.’ And he said, ‘I haven’t done that before, but I would like to do this.’ And he showed that he was indeed very much able to do this, and many of the things he played surprised and delighted me. What I’m trying to do in these kind of projects – whether with Shujaat or, now, with Erdal is to learn the music and experience the world through their eyes. And I am not trying to change what they do so much as offer them another vision of it. Musical Turkey, for instance, is very much based on composed songs. Improvisation of the kind that Erdal and I undertake, developing material, is something that has been forgotten…”
And here’s a video of them playing a beautiful piece together live, with Ulas Ozdemir and Ali Akbar Moradi: