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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Crossing the Bridge: The Sound of Istanbul
Directed by Fatih Akin
Strand Home Video 06/06 DVD/VHS Documentary
German-born Turkish director Fatih Akin is on a quest to discover the variety and vitality of music in Istanbul, a city that lies at the crossroads between East and West. "Music can tell you everything about a place," says Dutch bassist Alexander Hacke, the host of the documentary. Sounds of bands and groups inhabit every nook and cranny of the city as we are venture into underground clubs, hear street performers, and visit recording sessions. Ceza, a Turkish hip-hop artist, states that his music is conveying social and political messages and not just a gangsta pose. Erkin Koray, a pioneer of rock in the city, carries his countercultural rebellion to a new generation. Sufism in Istanbul is represented by Mercan Dede, who has merged the music of this spiritual tradition with modern club sounds. Selim Sesler, a very talented clarinetist, showcases the gypsy roots of his bohemian music.
One of the most interesting singers is Aynur, who performs her own brand of Kurdish gospel music shaped by Arabic, Mesopotamian, and even Jewish influences. Certainly the most melodic music comes from Orhan Gencebay, who has been called the Elvis of Arabesque music. The film convincingly presents the richness and diversity of music in contemporary Istanbul.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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