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Best of Omar Faruk Tekbilek Compilation Album
Best of Omar Faruk Tekbilek — Longing, released in Turkey on Nov. 5, is a compilation that brings together 13 of Tekbilek’s best loved songs from his seven previous albums released in the US by the record company Celestial Harmonies. The album, the fruit of a five-year effort, includes all the elements Tekbilek uses in all of his studio album releases — or the “four corners of his creativity,” as he puts it: mysticism, folklore, romance and imagination.
Apart from Tekbilek’s original compositions “Hasret,” “Mystical Garden” and “Al Fatiha,” the album also features such songs as “Last Moments of Love” and “Long Wait,” composed by Hasan Işakkut; “Imaginary Traveler” by Brian Keane; and folksongs Tekbilek regularly performs during his live appearances.
“Longing,” billed by its producers as a must-have for Tekbilek’s fans and new listeners alike, is dedicated to the late US-based Turkish music producer Arif Mardin, who played a great role in Tekbilek’s international recognition.
The reason behind the long production process for the album is that “Longing” is actually “not a typical best of compilation,” its producers say. Despite Tekbilek’s humble description of his music, all of the songs he includes in his studio albums carry traces of a huge wealth of musical knowledge and a delicate spiritual world. So, selecting a set number of songs from among his entire catalog was an extremely tough task for the artist.
Another reason was that the songs on the track list were not just copied into the new album, but were re-interpreted and re-recorded specifically for this release. Tekbilek gathered his first ensemble — a legendary collective made up of Brian Keane, Hasan Işakkut, Arto Tunçboyacıyan, Ara Dinkjian, Dinçer Dalkılıç and Emin Gündüz — for the recording sessions of “Longing.”