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World Music CD Reviews Middle East & North Africa

BAZAAR ISTANBUL: THE MUSIC OF TURKEY

By Tom Orr

ARC Music

You can't sum up the music of Turkey on one album, and despite the title this disc makes no such attempt. Rather, it is a solid exploration of the country's Gypsy music. Most of it is unfailingly lovely and joyful, tailor-made for the celebratory occasions it's created to accompany. Plentiful percussion instruments (darbouka, davul, bendir, etc.) form the foundation as string and wind textures provided by the likes of the baglama, kanun, oud, ney and zurna complete a musical picture rooted in Central Asia, along the Silk Road and in the Arabic World. There are both instrumental and vocal pieces here, brimming with the itinerant passion and ingrained musical aesthetic that have come to be associated with what we know and assume about those elusive folks known as Gypsies. There's nothing groundbreaking here, just plenty of great sounds. Highly recommended for fans of raks shaki and variant forms of Middle Eastern music, as well as those who don't use the term "exotic" too loosely.