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Turkish master Omar Faruk Tekbilek (with Steve Shahen and a host of talented musicians from Iran, Greece, Israel, Bulgaria, Spain and Turkey) really goes beyond limitations here, creating some of the most beautiful, ephemeral music I have ever heard. Despite the obvious Turkish influences, this music incorporates a wide range of styles from across the Middle East; Anatolian folk, Rromani (Gypsy), Greek, Bulgarian, Sufi, Egyptian, Azeri and classical influences can all be felt here, amongst others. Spanish guitar mixes with the Turkish ney. Its so amazing. This really is pan-Middle Eastern music, worthy of the name “Alif”. It represents the whole of Middle/Near Eastern culture. Mere words alone cannot describe the beauty and elegence of this music.
From the very beginning, “Dulger” calls to mind images from the heyday of the Ottoman Empire, and you will be moved by songs like “Laundry Girl” and “Dark Eyes”. “Alif”, the title track, is absolutely haunting, and “Dadash” is simply filled with splendor and wonder. And from there it goes to the lively and exotic “Ya Bouy”. If you appreciate Middle Eastern or Mediterranean music, then there isn’t a single song on this CD that will disappoint you. A note on the songs, by the way, is that they come from various sources.
“Dulger” and “Alif” were originally Sufi devotional pieces, “Take a Flight” and “Forbidden Love” are contemporary arrangements in traditional styles, “Ya Bouy” was composed by the legendary Farid al-Atrache, “Don’t Cry My Love” and “Lachin” are both based off folk songs, and “Dadash” is a medley of Anatolian styles. The sheer scope and range of these pieces, and the fact that they mix and match elements of different cultures and styles, means that it will likely appeal to any fan of Middle Eastern music. Even those who have never listened to Turkish classical music or any other music from that region will likely find this to be a wonderful buy. I strongly recommend this CD.