Kudsi Erguner – interview

The first time you played in Sarajevo in 2004. with your project Islam blues. What can audience expect this time considering that you come with other musicians and repertoire?
We will perform an instrumental music which is based mainly on preludes of Whirling Dervishes ceremonies, as well as on the improvisations on the makams corresponding to these pieces.  I will perform with a great, may be the greatest double-bass player Mr. Renaud Garcia-Fons. His capacity for improvisation and interpretation is spontaneously rich. Each concert I have the impression that I am going through the different experience.  My long collaboration with Bruno Caillat as a percussionist permits us to enter the realm of a unique complicity.  This concert, as any other, will be a surprise that we’ll share with the audience.

In your career, beside many own compositions, you recorded many compositions of senior authors who came from your artistic and cultural tradition. What kind of place and kind of relationship these two kinds of repertoires had in your artistic opus?
I must say that I’ve been passionately interested for many years for the Ottoman Classical musics abandoned for political reasons since the early XX. century.  Being the fifth generation in a family of musicians that always performed the Ottoman Sufi and classical music, I felt that it is my responsibility to fight against this injustice. So, I’ve produced more than 90 albums all devoted to the Classical heritage such as the Court and Sufi music.  Only in the past ten years I’ve also started to produce my compositions which are also the continuity of my heritage.  Music is an art that has to synchronise the past, present and future.  Even when I perform an old composition I have to reincarnate this melody as it was my own composition.  In addition to that, working within the framework of the traditional heritage gives me more possibilities to improvise and create dialogs with the musicians all over the world.

You have recorded music for various films and collaborated with different musicians and directors, what are your experiences of working for movies?
In our traditional music, except the music of Karagöz (Shadow theatre) there is no direct collaboration with other arts.  Of course they can be source of inspiration for each other, however they are not performed together.   With these experiences I understood  that, music is not a simple background sound  that is not disturbing the main idea, but it  can  accompany  the emotions,  ideas,  or images . As opposed to the concert music, in the movie s the role of  music is to underline expression, and to complete what the images and texts can’t express.  I learned how to translate into music the deep sense of images, and to feel the real rhythm without the cadences of percussion.

What are for you the basic and most important ideas of Sufism?
To educate yourself by force of the faith in Allah, and his message as well as the tradition of the prophet. To be always with the creator.

How do you see the modern world today with all the antagonisms on religious, economic and political grounds?
When I observe the history, I think that human being has always created a chaos and tried very hypocritically to justify it by religions, by justice, by civilisation values.  The chaotic situation  nowadays is simply the proof that human being didn’t make any evolution after all terrible experiences during the history.  Today’s antagonisms, can be economic, political or exploitation of the religious feelings, however they are certainly not the realty of the religions.

Are you affected by and how with the high speed of technology development in particular communications and new media?
All the technical inventions can be useful for us; however the consumerism transforms the useful into absolute necessity.  How one can enjoy all these great possibilities without being a slave of consummation?  On the other hand, the democratisation of the information and the facilities of communication give a false impression of knowledge which, in reality remains very superfluous.

What is for you the most interesting on music scene today?
I am deeply interested in all sort of music which comes out from a social situation. Because it is more than an art, it is the expression of a real life.  Blues and Jazz was real, Flamenco, Fado were real, Rembetiko was real.  Today, rap is a real expression, or what we call ‘’arabesk’’ in Turkey is real because it is the reality of the rural people who struggle to become urban.  While the classical music is losing its creative forces, popular expressions are getting more and more creative  without any connection with the fine arts.

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