January 13, 2013


EPISODE 11 / Kütahya - Tavşanlı / 12 Jan 2013

In today's episode, Ferman will visit Kütahya Tavşanlı. Early in the morning, on the way to Tavşanlı, Ferman takes video of a sleepy himself. There is fog outside, the road is slippery. Everybody is sleeping. He has just woken up. It's 7:30 am. It will be a long day for them. 
Sleepy Ferman on the way to Tavşanlı

Wherever Ferman visits, he always asks about the weddings. Because weddings are an indicator as to what is listened in that region, if there are less known folk songs around. But in this episode, we'll talk about trousseau, maybe the biggest, the weirdest trousseau in the world: Tavşanlı itself!

The Anatolian Turkish beylik (small principality, governed by a Bey) Germiyan Dynasty with its capital in Kütahya was one of the leading frontier principalities after the disintegration of Seljuks. For a brief period in the second half of the 14th century, Germiyan Dynasty was second only to Karamanoglu Dynasty in its rising power. But they were later taken over by the neigboring Osmanoglu Dynasty, who were to found the Ottoman Empire later.

Germiyan Dynasty was eventually surrounded by newer states established by their own former commanders leaving the Germiyan no outlet to the coastline or to the Byzantine territory. Their powerful Karamanoglu neigbors exerting constant pressure from the east, Germiyan gradually fell under the rising influence of the Ottomans. Germiyan Bey Suleyman Shah sought alliance by giving away his daughter Devlet Hatun in marriage to Ottoman Sultan Murat I's son Yildirim Bayezid. And he transferred Kütahya, Tavşanlı and surroundings to the Ottomans as his daughter's trousseau. Tavşanlı was occupied by the Greeks briefly after the WWI.

Tavşanlı was to be told after a hunting party held by Ottoman prince Yildirim Bayezid I, in which he said to have hunted 7 rabbits. Thus the name Tavşanlı meaning "the place with rabbits" was given to the area.

Ferman goes to The Painter Suna Gürsoy Konuşlu Mansion. They will record some songs in here. This is a 120 year old building. An Armenian builder built it and a man purchased it as a gift to his daughter. Generations after generations, people lived in this mansion happily and Suna Hanim's father has purchased this mansion for her as a present. It must be this mansion's destiny to be purchased for the daughters by the fathers. Suna Hanim is a painter. She paintes her paintings here, exhibits her work here, gives painting lessons here, lives here. The life here is very lively just as once it was. 

Ferman with Aysel Samur

Now we're together with Aysel Samur. She's wearing the authentic costume of Tavşanlı. It's called "bindalli" (meaning "a thousand branches" because of the flower and branch motifs) . It's a traditional kind of wedding dress which is made with generally velvet. It resembles caftans of the Ottoman sultans. The embroidery on it are crafted by people, using real golden thread. This means a real bindalli costs a lot of money!

She sings 2 folk songs and they record it.

Zafer Aydın

Zafer Aydin sings a song for Tavşanli. He is actually from Erzurum. He made this song for 2008 Roasted Chick Peas Festival. 
Ferman in the leblebi shop
Ferman wanders around the streets of Tavşanlı. The town is famous for popular snack called "leblebi" (roasted chick peas) . Another city, Çorum is more famous for leblebi in Turkey but in fact leblebi is being sent to Çorum from Tavşanlı. Ferman gets in a leblebi shop in the market place. He wants to taste Tavşanlı's famous leblebi. He asks the shop owner why Çorum is more famous than Tavşanlı. The shop owner answers that leblebi is native to Tavşanlı but Çorum's location is more convenient than Tavşanlı. He sells 43 different types of leblebi in his shop. Ferman asks about a particular peppery leblebi and yes, there is that, too. When he was a kid, he attended swimming classes and on his way home he ate peppery leblebi as a treat for himself.
Ferman at Public Education Center

After that, Ferman arrives at Tavşanlı Public Education Center. Tavşanlı is not the first name that comes to mind. When we say leblebi, Çorum is the first thing that comes to mind and when we say coal mine, Zonguldak is the first thing that comes to mind. But Tavşanlı's Tunçbilek Coal Co. is very important for Turkey. Similarly, when we say zeybek, the first thing that comes to mind is Aegean Coast, but Tavşanlı has zeybek, too. Tavşanli's zeybek is a bit different. Ferman will get information about the zeybek at Public Education Center. 

Ferman getting information about Tavşanlı zeybek

He is with Mehmet Özer and Firdevs Keskin. Ferman says that even though İzmir and Aydın's zeybek are first to come to mind, Tavşanli has zeybek, too. He asks what the differences are. Mehmet Bey says that İzmir and Aydın have slow zeybek, but Kütahya has fast zeybek with spoons. The costumes are a little different as well. The embroidery on them are more detailed and colorful. The emboridery motifs tell a lot of things: wealth, poverty, etc... 

And Kütahya zeybek is danced solo, too. And they watch a cool zeybek dance. 

There is an project where the people at Public Education Center compile the old folk songs and dances that are about to be forgotten and they are now archiving them. They want the folk dance groups and students to use these compiled dances in the competitions. And they are aware that this is a big task for the future.

Tavşanlı is a pretty town just as all the other Aegean towns, but at the same time it is kinda gloomy. Situated between Aegean and Central Anatolian Regions, you can feel the gloominess of Central Anatolia in Tavşanlı. This is the effect of the big coal mines nearby. There are prominent coal deposits here in Tavşanlı. 

A street in Tavşanlı

They record a folk song at Public Education Center. Halil İbrahim Kesen sang his own song. And this is a song called "Mükellef" that reveals this gloomy feeling. In the 1940's, a law was enacted to find workers to work in the coal mines of Tavşanlı. It was called "Mükellef (liable) Law" and according to this law, volunteer convicts, young men at the age of military service, villagers without land or proper connections were made liable to comply with the law and forced to work in the coal mines. Because it was very hard to find people to work in the mines. This is a sad story of Turkey.

The next stop is the coffee house now. Tavşanlı and mining is inseparable. This connection was a movie's theme years ago. MADEN (Coal Mine), story and directed by Yavuz Özkan, was filmed in Tavşanlı in 1978. Ferman works with him on his latest movie project, so he calls Yavuz Özkan and informs him that he is now in Tavşanlı. He says him that he wanted to go to the hamam in which the movie's last scene was taken, but couldn't get in, because it was the women's day in the hamam. :) Ferman is cheerful like a child when he speaks with him. He says that he is going to watch the movie once more to make a comparison when he gets back. 

Ferman on the phone with movie director Yavuz Özkan

After he hangs up the phone, he says that Yavuz Özkan is a very important movie director and MADEN is also important for Turkey's movie history. Tavşanli has produced many artists. One of them is maNga's own Özgür! He is also from Tavşanlı!

Ferman and his birthday cake

It gets dark and the Mayor of Tavşanlı, Mustafa Güler welcomes him and KK crew at the dinner. Ferman and his crew have to experience everything on the move, because they are mostly on the road for KK. Today is Ferman's birthday and KK crew don't forget that! And at the dinner, they celebrate his birthday! He welcomes his 33rd birthday in Tavşanlı, a little tired, a little cold, but really happy!

Now it's time to go back to İstanbul. Özgür suggested Tavşanlı to Ferman. He takes good memories full of music back home from Tavşanlı. He could manage to talk about music with almost everyone here. Above all, he celebrated his birthday here in a circle of friendship and music.


Ferman and Erdem Yener
Back in İstanbul. This episode's guest star is rocker and comedy actor Erdem Yener. Ferman gives him the directions to the maNga's studio on the phone, but to no avail and he has to meet him at the entrance of the main building. This is a first on Kulaktan Kulaga. :) Ferman says him that this is a real welcome for the first time on KK! :)

Ferman and Erdem have been friends since "Sing Your Song" music competition 11 years ago and this is something that many people don't know. Erdem and his band +4 were eliminated in the early rounds, but maNga managed to finish the competition runner-up. +4 was also from Ankara and the 2 bands were buddies during the competition. +4 also recorded their demo tapes in the same studio in Ankara with maNga, Volkan Abi's studio (Please see KK episode 9/Ankara). This was the first step to their friendship.

Erdem recorded a single called "Belki (Maybe)" after the competition. It became a popular song radio stations play the most. But one day he fell off from the staircase at home and broke his heel. This was a pause in his music career and he withdrew into himself badly. He rented a house on the Mediterranean Coast and isolated himself. On the fourth day in that house, he got a commercial offer for a GSM operator (AVEA). It was 2010. This was not the first time he thought about acting. He had a little experience from years ago. In fact, he didn't stop his music career; he continued to give concerts; he was on tour in Anatolia in March 2012. He's going to release another single very soon. He missed working at the studio and wants to make an album this year.

Ferman asks him if he had been to Kütahya before. Erdem had been in downtown Kütahya for a +4 concert. They played in a big party as the main attraction. A small band played before them and then +4 started playing their first rock song with their electric guitars and everybody ran away! A small group of people kindly stayed to listen to their interesting music. Erdem remembers that there was only a monitor on the stage, but it was facing the audience and that night they somehow managed to play music without hearing one another. This is his only memory with Kütahya.

Ferman's next question is if he ever has sung a folk song before or not. Erdem didn't recorded any folk song but his family like folk songs. Erdem doesn't listen to folk songs, but he likes to listen to folk singers who make a difference with their music. There is someone he likes and it's late minstrel Neşet Ertaş. 

Ferman and Erdem practicing on the song's rearrangement

Ferman gives some info about this week's folk song to Erdem. Tavşanlı's folk songs are interesting; cheerful, as well as gloomy; the lyrics are heavier due to being a mining town. Gloominess comes from Central Anatolian part of Tavşanlı. The music is a mixture of Aegean and Central Anatolia. And then they listen to the song. After that they start to speak about the rearrangement in a language that sounds like French to me and only the proffesional musicians can speak and understand. It was fun to listen but I didn't understand much. :) dim dim dim tis tis...gum gum gum tak...

They had great fun practicing on the song with Erdem in the recording room. At one time, Ferman asks him jokingly if he could do drums with his mouth as well. :) 

At the end, Erdem performed it very seriously after a chain of jokes in the recording room. There is a Barış Manço vibe about the rearrangement which has quite a contribution from Erdem, too. 

Mükellef (Liable) / Halil İbrahim Kesen - Erdem Yener 

This episode's song is a sad requiem for the coal miners who killed in various accidents underground. There is even a dedication note during the end credits and this episode was dedicated to the 8 coal miners who killed last week in a mine explosion due to a gas leak in Zonguldak.

Next week, where will he be and with whom? This is still a mystery...:)

he photos on this blogpost belong to MaNga Greece Facebook Fan Page. Thank you so much, girls! You make my work easier and faster!

You can watch the full episode 11 on the You Tube link below:



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