BaBa ZuLa: Gecekondu
Cat. No.: AY CD 29 (EAN: 4250536400058)
Release date: 24th June 2011
Good news: the return of psychedelic rockers BaBa ZuLa! For their latest masterpiece they have brought on board some truly inspirational artists such as Asian Dub Foundation co-founder Dr. Das, Nu Jazz mastermind Bugge Wesseltoft and other magnificent guest musicians including Titi Robin, Alcalica, Serra Yilma and Cem Yildiz. On Gecekondu, BaBa ZuLa founder Murat Ertel (saz and other stringed instruments, vocals, oscillator, theremin) and Levent Akmann (wooden spoons, percussion, machines and toys) are accompanied by members of their touring band Cosar Kamci (percussion, darbuka) and Elene Hristova (vocals).
But first of all, let's remember this: Fatih Akin's 2005 award-winning documentary "Crossing the Bridge - The Sound of Istanbul" revealed to all just how rich and complex the music scene is in this great European city: BaBa ZuLa jamming on a boat with singer Brenna MacCrimmon and Einstürzende Neubauten bassist Alexander Hacke. At that time, the Istanbul-based band had already been in existence for nine years. The film firmly established them as the face of modern Turkish music. BaBa ZuLa take the oriental sounds of electric saz, wooden spoons, percussion, and ancient shamanistic tradition, and mix them up with 60s psychedelia, electronica and dub. The result is a contemporary, urban psychedelic folk sound that is both rooted in tradition and yet a uniquely contemporary Turkish underground sound.
Their latest album Gecekondu takes its name from the Turkish word for a neighbourhood constructed without planning permission, a kind of squatters' district that has become part and parcel of Istanbul's urban fabric. Millions of people now live semi-legally in such areas on the outskirts of the city, with the authorities turning a blind eye. They built their gecekondus - literally "overnight constructions" - under cover of darkness and, by the break of dawn, they had become part of the city map. These little-regarded neighbourhoods, which have grown successively, are often seen as lacking all aesthetic beauty. For the most part, they are left to their own devices, and have their own specific problems and unique form of chaos.
It was this barely tolerated way of life on the margins of legality in a major city that inspired the masters of psychedelic folk to create their trance-like masterpiece in which they address the fragmentation of urban existence. Their approach is reflected in their choice of instruments: traditional instruments, both archaic and electric, are coupled with electronic sampling. The result is an emotionally charged journey into the very specific world of the gecekondu - a world supposedly void of any intrinsic culture...
In their distinctive live performances, BaBa ZuLa often combine their music with other art forms such as belly-dance, brightly coloured costumes, poetry, theatre and live painting to create an audio-visual spectacle that appeals to all the senses. So it is hardly surprising that BaBa ZuLa have always enjoyed working with other interesting musicians: Brenna MacCrimmon (singer and authority on traditional Balkan music), Alexander Hacke (Einstürzende Neubauten), Fred Frith (Henry Cow, John Zorn), Jaki Liebezeit (Can) and many more. Due to their close collaboration with Mad Professor they are widely regarded as pioneers of Oriental Dub. Fatih Akin's Crossing the Bridge is not the only film soundtrack to feature their music. BaBa ZuLa's many awards include Best Music Award for the soundtrack of Donduram Gaymak and the Küntay Award for best film music in 2008.
BaBa ZuLa are a unique and eye-opening experience - and afar remove from stereotypical notions of Turkish music.
02. Kelebekler Kuşlar
03. Efkarli Yaprak
04. Hopçe Açış
06. Le Furet Dans La Foret En Feu
08. Hayde Hayde
09. Komşu Açış
11. Temptation (Enstrumantal)