WHAT: Ferhat Tunç, Kurdish singer from Turkey
WHEN: TODAY, Saturday (3/21), 4 p.m. - ?
WHERE: Talullah's, W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill
COST: (unknown, if any)
I saw Ferhat Tunç last night at the Duke Performances show. (Ferhat is on a short artist residency at Duke.) He played the saz or bağlama, a narrow-necked, fretted instrument which has 3 pairs of double-coursed strings. An extra bass string on this particular saz, for added depth, made for a total of seven tuning pegs. He sings with a particular, rather rapid, full-throated vibrato; at times it helped to just close my eyes and listen. I don't know what kind of scales or modes this music employs, but in my "Western" terms it sounded like minor keys exclusively--nothing I would characterize as a major mode--and occasionally micotonal, but not as much as the Arab music we heard recently. I picked up some unusual meters (9/8, maybe? what was that?) and one of Tunç's original tunes I thought could be happily repurposed into prog rock. A few of us thought he looked like Billy Bragg up there on stage, in jeans and a flannel shirt.
Tunç (pronounced "Too-nch") had just one musician with him (which is a shame, listening to the videos, would have liked to hear a whole band to get a better feel for this music): Bulgarian/Turkish classical guitarist Nuray Ahmed. Nuray was the one who explained the saz' workings to me, with the help of a very kind UNC student who translated for us. The owner of Tallulah's was at the concert last night, and they set up this impromptu concert for this afternoon at 4. Not sure if they will charge admission or not, but this is a nice chance to hear him if you missed the Duke show. He performed a lot of Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian songs, and through translator Firat Oruc, provided some context for the political and cultural contest.
See also, panel discussion on Monday (3/23):
Roger Lucey performs Monday night at 7:30 pm in the Nelson Music Room, Duke East Campus in the East Duke Building. He is a South African musician whose career was suppressed by security police in the '70s and '80s. This concert is a fundraiser for Freemuse.org, a Danish organization promoting free speech and human rights for musicians.