Building Bridges: Cross-Cultural Music Projects

In some German cities, artists from different ethnic groups have come together for musical projects.They benefit from the variety of cultures in Germany and make world music.In the ongoing issue of "integration" the society has taken a significant step forward. Orientation, Cazyapjazz: The names of the bands definitely resemble their music. The leap from the niche into the limelight is an accomplishment. Their compositions reflect diverse cultural influences.The view into music and culture shows that musicians with a migratory background have
crossed musical boundaries for many years. The same goes for German artists. Good examples are songs from Turkey, ever popular sounds from the Mediterranean and the East combined with modern Western influences. Even the unusual band, 9/8-Takt, to Western ears brazenly fuses reggae with funk. Seemingly contradictory styles of music come together.

Accents from Berlin and Munich

"We are the Orientation, we make music and hail from Berlin."In order to understand the statement from the band leader, Andreas Advocado, one must understand where their base is.The city is characterized by different little scenes and an unmistakably diverse immigrant culture. In
Kreuzberg at a Turkish wedding Advocado met singer and composer Bekir Karaoğlan. In 1997 they founded Orientation - represented in the band are also musicians from Iran and Azerbaijan. Our

Turkish, also Arabesk - a Middle Eastern version of heart-break music - inspired songs combining jazz and funk."We want to show first of all that the music of the East and the West is ideal for a symbiosis.The West, because of its temperament may have preceded the Orient harmony, and the East makes its endless variety of melodies and rhythms.When one combines the two, it results in the most diverse set of possibilities. "Advocado has no objection, if Orientation's style is called New Oriental soul or Arabesk soul."We want to reach the hearts of all people through our music: young and old, regardless of color, creed or origin. Our music is in the best sense, popular music, or Pop. " Cazyapjazz doesn't have lyrics, their instruments speak for themselves.In 2003, Semih Yanyali, an Istanbullu born in Munich, met an experimental musician and created Cazyapjazz (loosely translated: do jazz, do jazz).They were impressed by the musical diversity of Istanbul, combining instrumental music with modern jazz influences and oriental elements. 9/8-Takt uses club beats to play old nostalgic Turkish art music (Sanat infusing) to create new and improved music.Matthias Kaiser, as a Roman musician, fascinates with his clarinet and fills the club with the special atmosphere of traditional sounds and dances of the Balkans. Dawn at the Rhine

Behind Kent Coda, a Turkish-Austrian-German trio from Cologne, are the musicians Ögünç Kardelen, Christoph Guschlbauer and Timo Ehrler. In addition, it is hard to hear the Turkish influence in the

lyrics.With their mix of rock, pop and punk, Kent Coda, as well as the Germans, are steadily growing an ethnic Turkish indie rock community.

The music of Tan (Turkish for dawn) sounds soft from Dusseldorf. On their CD, Yar diye diye Longing for you, jazz harmony with titles like Beri gel, depict the yearnings and tribulations of a village in eastern Anatolia, or Ben yana, a poem by Pir Sultan Abdal, the Turkish-Alevi poet from the 16th Century, is now known as a mystical song.The entire virtuosic musicians accompany
each other on their instruments - saxophone, double bass, electric piano, the Turkish goblet drum and the short-necked lute and the result: ethnic jazz of legendary folk songs. The songs must come from your entire heart, sings Ergün Aktoprak. Their German notwithstanding, Jürgen Dahmen and Reiner Witzel fulfill their tasks with flying colors. Integration from a reverse viewpoint."Our music is a

communications platform as well.Just as sophisticated poetry isn’t translated verbatim, but by a
form of poetic license, we want to do a ‘free rendering’ of Turkish or Anatolian music and put it across in a more modern rendition so it will be understood at a cultural level, beyond bellydancing clichés, corresponding to our concept and the discriminating views of our audience," says Ergün Aktoprak.

Music for a Cosmopolitan Community
What began as an experiment, can be seen in a globalized world. Outside the mainstream, these artists operate their music professionally. With three albums of their own and represented on many compilations and soundtracks, Orientation epitomizes the multicultural melting pot of Berlin. Cazyapjazz play between Isar and the Bosporus at big festivals.Two of them - Kaiser & Semih tour the Munich and Istanbul jazz scene. Tan also does live DJ performances.

Hudey, a song that for centuries has been accompanied only by a saz, surpasses, mixed with scratches on the turntables, all expectations.They all want to reach a cosmopolitan people who are curious about what German and Turkish musicians together express. Music without prejudice. "We don't bother with daily political issues" says Advocado."Our language is music, our lyrics are about love of family and liness."Ergün Aktoprak and Jürgen Dahmen are also of project Jazzpool NRW, which brings together the best improvising musicians in the country, with the band Yan Yana (Turkish for side-by-side) there. Immigrant art can build bridges of mutual understanding, and horizons open when Germans participate.The concept of integration is different, but if it is understood as a process in which all move together, these intercultural music projects are on the right track.

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