EPISODE 7 / Mardin Midyat / 8 Dec 2012
In this episode, we'll go to Midyat, the cradle of civilizations where different cultures coexist in friendly tolerance throughout the ages. Ferman and his KK team go to Mardin via Diyarbakir. Ferman is excited as if this is his first time in a foreign country. Because he is very curious about Mardin.
Midyat is a rare ancient city where people still actually live in. This is Ferman's first time in Midyat. Midyat recently became a center of public attention. It's one of the leading cultural centers in Anatolia, where Arabs, Syrian Orthodox Christians, Yezidis, Kurds and Turks coexist and create a mixture of cultures. There is a dispute among the scholars as to who Syrian Christians are. Some say they are descendants of ancient Assyrians, some say they are christianized Aramean people. It's the historians' job to prove which is true. Syrian Christians have lived in these lands for a very long time and they still continue to exist.
Syrian Christians are among the most ancient indigenous inhabitants of Upper Mesopotamia. In 38 AD, when the region was still part of the Roman Empire, they rejected paganism in favor of Christianity. The Syrian Orthodox Church was founded here in Midyat and since 1478 Midyat has been the metropolitan diocese. However the history of the area goes back long before Christianity to the Hurrians who lived here in the 3rd millenium BC. 9th century BC Assyrian tablets refer to Midyat as Matiate, meaning City of Caves, and indeed at Eleth 3 km away there are the caves where the earliest inhabitants made their homes. Throughout the history, peoples have arrived and departed like migrant birds and the region was ruled in turn by the Mitanians, Assyrians, Urartians, Medes, Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Byzantines, Abbasids, Seljuks and Ottomans.
Ferman's first stop is Kasr-ı Nehroz which is a 1600 years old building. It's being used as a hotel now and Ferman & his KK team stay in here during the Midyat shootings. And also they will record the folk songs here.
Ahmet / Umut / VeyselThe first guest is Ahmet Salarvan, who is a Mardin-born Turkish musician of Arabic origin. He sings a 90-year-old Syrian folk song. He starts in Arabic and continues in Turkish. And then, 2 music teachers in Midyat, Umut Berrak and Veysel Unlu join him. They sing a song about a pious man who witnesses a breach of etiquette in a sira night. Sira night (sira gecesi) is an important local tradition, where groups of young men gather regardless of religion, language and ethnicity at one another's homes following a preestablished sequence, especially in cold winter nights, to play local musical instruments, sing regional classics and eat together. This song was an improvisation and they sang the song in that same sira night. :)
Then Ferman goes to 4th century Mor Gabriel (Deyruldumur) Monastery, one of the biggest and oldest active Syrian Orthodox monasteries in the world. It's also the seat of the metropolitan bishop of Southeastern Turkey, widely known under the Syriac name Tur Abdin. It was named after the bishop of Tur Abdin, Saint Gabriel (634-668).
The Monastery of Mor Gabriel
The monastery's primary purpose is to keep Syriac Orthodox Christianity alive in the land of its birth by providing schooling, ordination of native-born monks. Ferman asks about the Syrian Orthodox music, which is thousands years old. From 4th century, the Syrian Christians have started to sing hymns during prayers here. It's likely that these hymns have affected Ottoman music.
There are similarities between the musical patterns of Classic Turkish Music and Syriac music patterns. Ferman understands that when a Turk, a Kurd, an Arab and a Syrian sit together to make music, they won't have big difficulties in terms of music thanks to musical similarities.
Ferman, as a qualified architect, did have a look around the monastery and says from an architectural viewpoint this building has stood for 1600 years and this makes this building very valuable all along. And he notices the signs saying "It might collapse any moment! Don't come any closer!". But we have a thrash bin and a bench by the dangerous wall. You can only see something like this in this country! :)
Ferman, Mesut and Orok
Then Ferman goes back to Kasr-ı Nehroz, to meet 2 young Syriac men. They are tourism entrepreneur Mesut Aslan and musician Orok Davud. Mesut will translate what Orok says. Orok doesn't know Turkish because he just fled to Turkey for safety from the civil war in Syria, leaving all his instruments behind. Orok plays lots of western instruments such as saxophone. Ferman is curious if he does any musical experiments mixing the eastern and western instruments. Orok is interested in jazz music and he used to make experimental music with regional music using also the western instruments. Ferman says that he wishes music could bring peace to Syria soon. Mesut is also interested in music as a hobby.
Mesut will sing a song now. The teachers Umut and Veysel also join them in an another song and they record this week's song all together. The song is about a shy boy who can't ask the girl he loves to dance in a local wedding. But Ferman doesn't know which song will be rearranged in İstanbul as of this moment.
The second day in Midyat. Today Ferman will get some information about Hotel Kasr-ı Nehroz, in which he and his team spent the previous night.
Ferman talks to the manager (?) of the hotel about the building and the history of the region. The history of the region dates back to 4000 years ago. But the historical records are from 5th century AD. Each stone on this building is from 1610 years ago. The Syrian people living around here in those times needed protection from the marauding tribes and found one. That's why the walls are very high and thick. They're so thick that in the rooms cell phones don't work and wi-fi service is unavailable. The protector Nehroz Family, who are the ancestors of the Yenigun Family who owns the hotel now, voluntarily has come along; they lived in this building's 2 towers and protected the family very long years. The Syrian Orthodox community is on the decline. Migration began in 1960s when many went to Germany and other western countries as guest workers. So before the Syrian family who owned this building, left for abroad, they gave it to the protector Nehroz Family as a gift. They have lived here for about 260 years.
Telkari (Filigree work) of Midyat
The next stop for Ferman is the Heart of Midyat, the marketplace. Midyat's delicate silver filigree (telkari) jewellery is quite well-known. This is an ornamental work of fine silver wire formed into delicate tracery, which is peculiar to Mardin and Midyat. Making filigree jewellery requires patience and dedication. But the final work of art is worth the patience.
Then Ferman takes some pictures of the children on the streets. The kids voluntarily poses for his camera but somehow it takes a while Ferman to push the shutter and the kid is curious about what it's taking so long. :)
Ferman and Veysel at the Guest House
The last stop in Midyat is State Guest House, which has a magnificent view of Midyat. Veysel the Teacher takes him there. Ferman here asks him again about the musical patterns of Syriac music, how similar they are to Turkish musical patterns. Veysel Bey says that they are very similar with small differences and surely there must be interactive relations between the patterns. These differences are so small that only the music professionals can understand what they are. Turkish music borrowed some Syrian melodies and put Turkish lyrics into them and similarly Syrian music borrowed some melodies from Turkish music and put Syrian lyrics into them.
Now it's time to go back to İstanbul. A world without any disrimination of religion, language and ethnicity is everybody's dream, isn't it? Ferman thinks that this dream has come true in Midyat. This will be most difficult episode for him. Because here they recorded many songs from many different cultures. He has to pick just one among these songs in İstanbul. He has a little surprise for us at the last moment. Kemençe is known as a local instrument from the Black Sea Region of Turkey. But he has found kemençe here in Midyat as well.
Back in İstanbul. This week's guest star is Aydilge Sarp. In the briefing, first of all Ferman asks Aydilge if she has been to Mardin before. No, she hasn't been to Mardin but she thinks that she'll virtually visit the city thanks to this program. Ferman asks her what she knows, what she feels about the city. Aydilge knows that Mardin is a multicultural city where unprejudiced people live in friendly tolerance. This is a dream of her that she wishes for the entire country. The alienation is a general social problem in the world. A simple soccer game can easily turn into a big fight among groups anywhere. Everybody talks about what we need the most is to realize the oneness of the humanity. She thinks that the people of Mardin naturally realized this. Ferman agrees with her that they don't force themselves to become one with one another, because they already have been living as one. If the people is forced to come together, it generally become artificial, unpleasant and reluctant.
Ferman says that all of the Turkish musicians including him and her, try to create their own unique style of music in one way or another. Sometimes they hear a melody and they wish to add that to their music as well, but they have to decide when. When they do this, what will the loyal fans say? He asks Aydilge about her project of multicultural orchestra.
Aydilge is against the categorization such as Turkish rock or Turkish pop. There are some formats about that. We know maNga and Ferman is trying to be pioneers and go beyond these borders; add different elements into their music. Aydilge likes experimental music as well, so she supports maNga and finds them very close to her. She wants to make multicultural music with oriental elements in it rather than making conventional music. Classical Turkish Music is a vast treasure. Why can't we use some elements of it? She listened to Indian, Iranian, Moroccan or Tunisian rock music. They have some interesting acoustic projects as well. She wants to mix traditional instruments of these countries and Turkey in her music as well as western instruments. She'll present this experiment to people if she's satisfied with it. Ferman finds her voice very unique and thinks that her voice will be a very good accompaniment during this musical adventure of her.
Ferman starts to explain this week's song to her which is a Syriac song. He tells her about jazz lover Orok who fled from Syria. Now they will try to rewrite the Turkish lyrics and put the music & the lyrics together. She says "delicately like filigree work, right?" Ferman: "Exactly. We'll play with words!"
GEL OYNAYALIM (Let's Dance Together) / Orok Davud / Aydilge Sarp
Aydilge's performance was very sincere and lovely, just like her chatting with Ferman. She made us want to dance to the music.
This episode's song was a merry song of a shy young boy who can't ask the girl he loves to dance in a local wedding. The boy apparently will leave the city for work or military service. The girl wants to marry him. But she says, "I'll wait for you, but not too long! I won't forget you in 3 years, but don't make it 4 years!". This part of the lyrics that they added made them laugh loudly! :)
In this episode, Ferman was in the cradle of civilizations and showed us around the colorfully multicultural environment of Southeastern Turkey and we met some people who accomplished in realizing ethnic peace. We wish the same thing for the entire world.
GEL OYNAYALIM / LET'S DANCE TOGETHER
Elimi çekti gel dedi bana, gel oynayalım
Gel hadi, söyleyelim sevdiğin oyunu
Burada kalalım, gel kalalım, sana doyayım
Üç seneye seni unutmam, dörde bırakma
Üç seneye seni unutmam, çok da abartma
He pulled me by my hand and said, "Come, let's dance together!"
Come, let's sing the song you love
Let's stay here, so that I can get enough of you
Let's stay here, so that I can be satisfied by you
I won't forget you in 3 years, but don't make it 4 years!
I won't forget you in 3 years, but don't make it too long!
You can watch the full episode 7 on the You Tube link below:
For full videos of KULAKTAN KULAGA episodes please click on the link of TRT Muzik's KK video page: