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Published by Gokhan Mahnov

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Published by: Gokhan Mahnov on Nov 07, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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BAJAR / The City
By Gökhan Birdal / 27_October_2010The success of their musical fusion is hid in their motto: The Euphrates’ waterfused into Marmara. This line might create a cool background image whenlistening their music as it implies lots of different accentuations; on one hand, “thecradle” character of great Istanbul, a feature that can merely be found in greatmetropolises, allowing to ease racial / ethnical / religious tensionssimultaneously; on the other, the great Euphrates is there - a river that fed manycivilizations, flows behind our eardrums.Nowadays, in Istanbul, kitschy, “tourist fusion” type of productions are quiteprevalent around. People are pouring over from different countries and theirgrowing interest, both from East and West, provide a good customer basis foreasy cultural consumption. Quite contrary to this fact, Bajar’s music establishes adefensive point against the “over-ethnicization” of the Kurdish culture, especiallymodern Kurdish music.The project follows a path, on which identity needs of modern subjects in urbanlife are explored, intermingling urban popular forms with the mideastern musicalheritage, whilst avoiding naïve interpretations that could provoke nostalghia. Notonly Kurdish, but also Turkish language, or bilingual forms are used in Bajar’smusic echoing the multicultural aspects of Türkiye. Their works, which areinformed by punk and black musical traditions, address several important issuescreated by the discrimination culminated in cultural hierarchy, gettofication;emphasising the need for new cultural norms in the daily societal relations.Transformation is always a key word when you look at a society, especially whenyou look at a society forced to be existing under capitalism, a system whichconstantly revolutionizes the productive relations within it, in order to survive. Not
surprisingly, possible cultural articulations attached to this colossal productivesystem are changing in line with it, too.This transformative power of capitalism was portrayed before by Yilmaz Guney,the legendary Kurdish film director, in one of the sequences in Yol. The metaphoris built upon a plough, which shatters the soil, to describe how moderntechniques break societal relations simultaneously, from a Marxian point of view:Anything that changes the productive relations, changes the society at all levels.This école of reflexive attitude finds an echo in Bajar’s music, discarding thereactionary, foolish descriptive interpretation that usually accompanies modernKurdish reality with feudal dark ages. Urbanization & modernization are growingtrends in both Turkish and Kurdish societies, and Bajar quite successful toaccomplish the goal of expressing the effects of these trends, whilst staying loyalto the Kurdish sonic context.The tonal qualities of their music is successfully reflecting the idea behind theirmusic, fusing 2 great waters! Highly interwoven harmonical structures, timbralelements, which could be a risk to experiment in other settings, become a normin their music. Electronic textures blend eloquently with authentic grooves.Sample loops are in harmony with repetitive bass lines and jazzy drums. Back-vocals adjust the tension between different elements and supply the necessaryethnical ingredient. Lyrics enable them to express new realities, empower themto push the limits of old thematic frames. Their voicing, choir style is sometimesreminiscent of black gospel traditions. - Argument can be expanded to the pointthat the vocal singing tradition is developed dominantly as a result of the lack ofwritten form. - Same applies to Turkish folk music.Notwithstanding their musical style is the manufacture of all group members,Wedat Yildirim’s leadership is crucial, who is also one of the creative mindsbehind the highly acclaimed, multi-lingual Karde
Türküler project.

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