True Turkish Delights
On Saturday, the young Turks showed London how to make music. Mercan Dede is one Turkey?s most exciting music exports, even though he currently resides in Montreal.
At the Forum, he was like an avangelist for Sufi mysticism, maintaining that music can harmonise and uplift the soul and proving it with his impressive musicanship and set that was nothing short of magical brilliance.
Wrapping Turkish folk song, Eastern Music and urban beats into one, he preached from behind an altar of tech machinery including turntables and samplers, throwing out rhythm patterns at his assembled fellow musicians on stage- a saxophonist, two percussionist and a highly accomplished zither player- wgo reciprocated by weaving them into beautiful musical shapes. They wooed the crowd with their talent, especially the zither player who broke into the melody of a folk song that had the Turkish enclave of the audience singing along.
Working like a band leader in the tradition, the jazz greates, Dede part conducted, part orchestrated and- to mark him out from the overpaid DJ MCs in silly hats over here- picked up isntruments and played them. The sound was massive: chest-vibrating bass frequencies, frenetic rhythms and transcendental melodies that together created an almost trance-like state in the mixed and energetic audience that ranged from Turkish north Londoners to curious music lovers and clubbing aficionados.
And until the moment arrived, Mira Burke, the dervish, sat at his feet in mental preparation.
Then, as if possessed, she rose and whirled and whirled, her red skirts rising up to reveal white beneath her head bound in a white turban. She looked like a spinning balerina in a child?s jewellery box, her movements marrying with the music to make the event even more entrancing. Then, taking on a Madonna cover for anencore the dervish whirled, the Eastern music wailed and the beats broke out in a thrilling way: music makes the people come together, they chanted. Too right..