Bilal Karaman, one of the most prominent guitarists in Turkey, presents the second instalment in his series in which he combines Ottoman and Anatolian music with Manouche traditions. The album has been released as an EP through LU Records on the 27th of September. The album contains well-known pieces like Ağlama Değmez Hayat and Sultan-ı Yegah Sirto reinterpreted in manouche and swing-jazz styles, made famous by French musician Django Reinhardt. Monouche music came to being through a fusion of French Romani-Gypsy music during an era when American jazz had influenced Europe in the 1930s. Bilal Karaman takes this music to Anatolia in this album. The album cover is done by comedian-film maker Cem Yılmaz.
01. Sultan-ı Yegah Giriş
Composer: Sadi Işılay
02. Sultan-ı Yegah Sirto
Composer: Sadi Işılay
03. Ağlama Değmez Hayat
Composer: Mehmet Ilgın
All arrangements are done by Bilal Karaman.
Acoustic guitar: Bilal Karaman
Double bass: Baran Say
Violin (01,02): Hüseyin Kemancı
Violin (03): Semih Çelikel
Mix & Mastering: Mike Nielsen
Recording: Mert Aksuna – Ahmet Kenan Bilgiç
Cover illustration: Cem Yılmaz
Cover design: Hop İstanbul
Manouche a La Turca’s Story
People used to find my solos and style similar to Django Reinhardt when I was first introduced to jazz in 1997 in Istanbul. That’s how I first heard of Django. I hadn’t yet realized what an accomplished guitarist I was to become just yet. And it didn’t feel like a good idea to base my music on this style back then. That was until when a jazz club in Istanbul asked me to give a special concert to commemorate Django’s 100th birthday. I wanted to play pieces from our geography in addition to well-known Manouche standards and I wrote a composition for our repertoire. “Manouche a La Turca” project was thus born in 2010. I spent a long time trying to understand this style because there was nobody else playing manouche in Turkey other than me back then. I was also trying to strengthen my repertoire by studying all ‘longa’ and ‘sirto’s. I wanted to achieve the perfect harmony between Gypsy Swing (Manouche) and Anatolian musics.
Finally I felt ready in 2014 and started to record the first demos. We started to record the album in the summer of 2016 and were able to finish it in 2017 due to the hardships my country was suffering at the time. I thought a lot about the accompanying musicians since there was no other example of the music I had in my mind and ultimately worked with Göksun Çavdar on the clarinet, Pierre Blanchard and Hüseyin Kemancı on the violins. Baran Say played the double bass and I played all the guitars. The repertoire included classic examples of the works of Tanburi Cemil Bey and Kemani Kevser Hanım, who excelled both in Western and Turkish music in the Ottoman era. I wrote arrangements for the works of esteemed composers Mehmet Ilgın and Sadi Işılay for “Manouche a La Turca Vol II”. In this album, Semih Çelikel and Hüseyin Kemancı play the violin and Baran Say plays the double bass once again.
Bilal Karaman is one of the most prominent jazz musicians in Turkey who started playing the guitar when he was eleven years old. He has worked with well-known musicians such as Marcus Miller, Ricky Ford, Aydın Esen, Fernando Paiva, Leon Parker, Jack Gregg, Gustav Lundgren, Jarrod Cagwin and Dianne Reeves.
He was named one of the four rising guitarists of the year in an interview he has given to Barry Cleveland for American Guitar Player magazine in 2012. Karaman never stopped pursuing what is new in the essence of jazz and presented a new musical world in every one of his projects. One of his talents is to bring the energy level to an all-time high during his live performances. One can hear this pursuit of his in his unique guitar tone as can be heard in his four albums. Bilak Karaman released the first instalment of the album series Manouche a La Turca” in the previous years, focusing on the combination of French gypsy-swing and Manouche music as lead by the famous musician Django Reinhardt. The second instalment of this series was released on the 27th of September by LU Records. The album is the musician’s fifth.
Bahane (2011 BBS Music)
Patika (2013 Baykuş Music)
Hayyam Sessions (2014 Baykuş Music)
Manouche a La Turca (2018 CD Baby)