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- Published on Saturday, 24 September 2011 05:45
- Category: Artist Profile
In this Aslan Media exclusive interview, contributor Flying Dutchslim sat down with flautist Ömer Faruk Tekbilek to discuss his music, inspiration, and Turkish roots. Born in 1951, Tekbilek is known for his performances on the ney, an ancient Middle Eastern cane flute. He also plays the Oud, Saz, Zurna and sings on many of his recordings.
Tekbilek is the recipient of the 2003 "Best Artist” award from the Turkish Writers Association and was a nominee for the 2003 BBC World Music Award in the Middle East category. He has become a beloved icon in Turkey, connecting his many fans with historical and religious influences that were once suppressed.
Aslan Media: How did you start playing music?
Ömer Faruk: I was born in southern Turkey, Adana. At 11 years old, I started playing the Baglama [long neck lute-like instrument] and the Kaval [Turkish flute]. Then, I lived in Istanbul for 10 years where I worked as as a studio musician. I also worked with many singers before I moved to the United States in 1976. In 1988, I met Brian Keane and since then, we recorded 9 albums together.
AM: What kind of music is your work based on?
OF: My music is ethnic in style, rooted in Anatolia but covering all Arab and Mediterranean countries.
AM: And who and what inspired your music?
OF: My Tree of Patience album, the ninth one, was dedicated to those who contributed to my life and music. I draw a tree and engrave these master’s name there.
AM: In your view, is it spirituality that gets you closer to music, or music that gets you closer to spirituality?
OF: For me the best definition of music is that it is the science and art of vibrations. Music is the essence of the universe since everything vibrates, and according to their rates they appear to us in different manifestations. I feel that the more we evolve spiritually the greater our awareness becomes to the vibrations.
AM: Some people call you one of the greatest Sufi music composers of the 21st century. How do you feel about this?
OF: I don’t have any intention of imposing something on the people — I only want to share my sincere feelings and the joys that come to me as a player or composer. The rest belongs to the people. But, of course, I am thankful and appreciate all those beautiful heartfelt responses that people write on my web site.
AM: How do you get new ideas for composing your music?
OF: They come by themselves as inspirations, sometimes with the words, other times as a melody. Then I just make myself empty to receive and develop the rest.
AM: Is there a message in your music? Perhaps a social, historical or interfaith-based message?
OF: In my music, I say that I have four corners trying to express three kinds of love and imagination. Love for our creator [Sufi songs], love for each other [romantic songs], love for life [folk songs], and then on the fourth corner, which I call imagination, I invite other musicians to use our commonality as human beings to create something contemporary that make sense to all of us.
AM: And finally, would you like to say anything to our American and European readers?
OF: I believe that our best and strongest frontiers are music and dance. This brings people together heart to heart regardless of their origin. I hope that in this global age we can encourage and support more festivals to celebrate this opportunity and enjoy our commonness through our diversity. Just like celebrating the essential light which goes through the prism and appears in different colors like a rainbow.
By Flying Dutchslim, Aslan Media Contributor -