Jazz between Two Cultures, American and Turkish

Posted March 12th, 2011 at 12:00 am (UTC+0)

Emre Kartari

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC – Emre Kartari is a young jazz musician with a mission. He wants to musically bridge two cultures.  The 35-year-old drummer feels there’s a shortage of information on Jazz in Turkey. He sought and got help from his music teachers in New York and Virginia, in the United States, to start teaching jazz at a Turkish university.


With the support of the American Embassy in Ankara and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), Kartari invited his former jazz teachers to Turkey to join him in a special performance.  He says it sounded like a dream.

The jazz group included an all star cast featuring: Saxophonist Skip Gailes, Rex Richardson on trumpet, pianist Bob Hallahan, guitarist Adam Larrabee, bassist Mike Richmond, percussionist Tim Collins, and drummer Howard Curtis.

Teacher, and former director of the jazz studies at VCU, Doug Richards, arranged the Turkish folk song “Ben seni sevdigimi dunyalara bildirdim” for the Hacettepe Ankara State Conservatory Orchestra, and Kanun soloist Ahmet Baran.

Kartari, who released three personal albums and working on a fourth CD, is adding orient-influenced beats and musical styles to jazz music, thus bridging the gap between the American and Turkish cultures.

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Diaa Bekheet

Diaa Bekheet | Washington, DC –
Diaa Bekheet
Diaa Bekheet has worked for a host of media outlets, including Radio Cairo in English, ETV News, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) and the Associated Press. He joined VOA in Feb. 1989 as an International Broadcaster, hosting a variety of popular news and entertainment shows such as Newshour, Radio Ride Across America, Business Week, and Jazz Club USA. He has interviewed a number of Jazz celebrities, including the legendary Dizzy Gillespie, Ramsey Lewis, Wayne Shorter, and George Benson. Diaa is currently an editor for our main English site, VOAnews.com.

6 responses to “Jazz between Two Cultures, American and Turkish”

  1. Bill says:

    Good news. I’m glad to hear this.

  2. yasin says:

    if he is trying to build a bridge between two culture he is wasting his power and time because jazz music is not popular in Turkey. He had better try to sing “Arabesk” which is one of most popular kind of music in turkey.

  3. azer bülbül says:

    yasin is absolutely right

  4. Hulya Polat says:

    Good to hear that Hacettepe University has a jazz department now with young talents who promote cooperation with American musicians. Good job Emre Kartari, great music!

  5. Tarkan says:

    Bravo Kartari ! Absolutely unprecedented such kind of study haven’t been performed in Turkey before, i guess. I think Kartari must be from north of the Turkey – black sea region because this song belongs and sounds from black sea region’s culture of Turkey which has so extensive and joyful structure by itself.

    The formation of orchestra is so high-standardized,academic and well organized, Actually there is no doubt, this work needs to be praised due to firstly as it is unique and secondly at least trying as a venture new concept which purport to bridge two culture intrinsically aimed to create new way. Clearly i would like to express my support and praise for this initiative and hope it will be perpetuated whatever obstacles show up.

    Besides my best will, i would like to mention some points which is important to me those first; must be praised study should be supported and continued if it is not demanded as it deserve, this is normal, as every novel venture needs time to be loved at their first terms. Second; i would like to underline the taste of people those belong to different culture. I mean , from born Two culture are different so the sound taste is different too.

    Therefore i don’t think the Jazz’s gonna be loved in Turkey. Especially two base instrument one is “Saz” and second “Kemence” are kind of flag of Turkish Culture for thousands of years. and i dont know these two will be wellcomed by Americans either. Third and last point of my view is that the purpose should be to please of audience’s ears rather than preparing so highly academic standardized rhythm.

    Nevertheless, i think, All of this endevours are wellcomed. Congratulations Kartari.

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