Imagine: A tough week is over, maybe one of the busiest weeks of your life. Troubles, stress, and then the anger you bottled up inside… You have had enough.
What do you do? You probably think about your home first, right? You lie down on your comfortable couch, turn on the TV and start watching a movie or a TV show in the evening. Let’s assume you don’t want to watch anything on the TV, and instead would prefer a calmer Friday evening: you make yourself a nice hot tea or coffee, grab your favourite book and maybe listen to some music, your favourites, in soft volume in the background. You chat with your family, call a friend, have a conversation and joyfully get ready for the weekend.
Or you forget all these, push them aside and go to the newly sprouting and exciting “The Badau” in Yeldeğirmeni. I admit, “maybe you won’t be able to watch the TV”, but you will be able to enjoy yourself by reading the book you brought from home, or one you grab from one of the shelves in the venue. You can have a really high quality dinner, or if you aren’t feeling hungry, you can inhale the beautiful aroma of the coffee specifically brewed for you, and enjoy the happiest moments of your day.
I like adding new people to my life. Meeting new people, learning about their feelings, thoughts, their perspectives on life… I also greatly enjoy keeping my friendships on a solid foundation, and to progress and improve them. I think the last name “Noyan” is known by most of the members of the generation that was born at the end of the 80s, but another generation might come and pass before I got to meet Eren! I had the opportunity to meet Eren after listening to his trio with my dear friends guitarist Bahadır Bulut and pianist Umut Ünleyen, and I realised how lucky I was to have met someone with whom I could talk to about jazz, things beyond jazz, things about life, and exchange ideas and have conversations.
Eren reminded us of the Noyan last name when he entered the 5th Nardis Young Jazz Vocal Competition, and he improved himself in many different areas in addition to jazz in the years passed since then. He got us excited with his cooking recipes he shared on the social media, and he opened the small and cute jazz club The Badau with his wife Güliz in the June of 2016 in Kadıköy, Yeldeğirmeni and welcomed all jazz lovers.
We interviewed Eren Noyan, the admiral of The Badau, where successful and enjoyable performances take place every month:
Hi! “The Badau” opened in the beginning of June, yes, but I think its story goes back a little further? When did you start forming the idea of The Badau?
The Badau actually is a product of a dream that I started forming and nourishing 10 years ago. We just needed to find the right time and geography to make this dream come true. We waited for the right conditions to mature for these past years so that we could create an atmosphere we could stand behind. Because I fundamentally wanted to create a jazz house. It is a risky move to try to create a venue just like in the countries where these kinds of places are cultural phenomena. It shouldn’t be “As if”, it should be ours. Our biggest aims were to create a place with diligent details, sincere music and dining spaces without imitating anybody else. I did a lot of attempts in this stage, and none of them gave the results I wanted. Because being in the right location is important. Yeldeğirmeni turned out to be a great opportunity for The Badau.
We named The Badau as a ‘caz lokali’ (roughly meaning ‘jazz club’) during our previous conversations, and I looked the meaning of the word ‘lokal’ in TDK’s (Turkish Language Association) Turkish Dictionary. The etymology of the word comes from French roots, and means ‘Venue for musical entertainment, night club’. Let’s hear the meaning of ‘caz lokali’ from you!
I adamantly try to emphasize that this place is a ‘lokal’ and not a ‘night club’ in every conversation. Aside from the dictionary meaning, I see the meaning of the word in a more nostalgic light as it befits The Badau. This is a local place, in a neighbourhood, not on a main street, and is small. It has no sign on its door; the name is written on the canopy. It is almost impossible to spot it without turning the corner into the street. My wife and I specifically wanted it to be like this. Initially we had our doubts about how the local people would react, but we now see that our neighbours became our regulars. The Badau is ‘lokal’ (meaning ‘local’) in this sense. Aside from that, the management does the cooking and servicing for the venue. There used to be places like this, fish or liver restaurants, where the customer could chat with the manager of the place. The fact that many jazz musicians from different generations stop by and chat with us while we are getting ready in the kitchen makes this place a ‘lokal’ for the musicians as well. Ultimately, The Badau is too much like a house to be a club.
How can we place The Badau among the jazz venues and performance halls in Istanbul, even in Turkey? What makes The Badau special?
There are many places in İstanbul where jazz music is (or where jazz music is “also”) performed. They are all successful in their own fields. I have been in most of these as a musician. It was an important experience to get to observe them, This allowed me to evaluate the relationship between the musician and the venue, the habits of the audience, the expectations of the musicians and their needs. People who come here with expectations might be disappointed, because we try to create an experience in itself instead of meeting expectations. Best Turkish jazz musicians perform onstage, there are musicians coming from overseas; we plan to increase the number of international concerts. We try to do our best as much as our means allow. Here I try to present people with what I personally expect from other businesses. We don’t bend accourding to the trends. Our focus is on the musicians and jazz music as a genre. What makes The Badau special? Unfortunately I cannot answer this question. The most realistic answer would come from musicians first, and then from the beautiful people we call our guests.
And the main question: What does ‘Badau’ mean? I think it might be a French word due to the way it is pronounced?
My wife Güliz came up with the name. We actually spell it wrong so that its pronunciation doesn’t get even harder. ‘Badaud’ is a sociologic term that emerged in the 19th century France in the midst of industrialization. Two kind of people emerge in this period when the cities are getting bigger and taller, people migrate into the cities; electricity becomes common and the functions of the buildings and the streets change. One of these people care the ‘Badaud’s. They come from the rural areas into the city, fail to find jobs and wander aimlessly in the streets without any intellectual care, looking at the shop windows, buildings and street lights with amazement. There isn’t a Turkish version of this word since it is a term. We thought this term would be very appropriate in a changing area like Yeldeğirmeni. The way this word interconnects watching and being watched influences me. I also like it phonetically, so we wrote it on our canopy. When its pronunciation is concerned; everybody pronounces it differently and I believe everybody should pronounce it freely as they like.
You chased after your dream and gifted this lovely and beautiful jazz ‘lokal’ to us, do you foresee having The Badau elsewhere in the future?
The Badau can remain what it is as long as it remains in its current place, as it currently is. If we get bigger, it could affect the quality of the service here negatively. Because we try put so much effort to every single detail here from the music to the food, to human interaction… Every time we prepare for a concert, we do so like a watch master paying attention to the smallest details of his craft. We have some deficiencies that result from the human nature. I believe these add their own beauty to the place. I am afraid getting bigger in size or number might cause these details to disappear. Maybe The Badau might become a 50 seat venue instead of the 30 seats we have now, and that’s all.
Both Güliz and Eren know that they are doing what they love, and it is their goal in life, and they cheerfully explain the mezze plates they prepared like pieces of art to the customers. The contents of the same mezze plates are presented to all the guests who visit their open kitchen, and they don’t repeat the same dishes, so everything is always fresh, which is something admirable… Zeynepgül, Melis and Melisa are like the right and left arms of Güliz and Eren; they work like honeybees in order to make the jazz lovers gathered at The Badau happy and comfortable. Even without doing anything else, you can read the happiness of doing what they love from these young peoples’ eyes while you sip your tea or coffee.