The Balkan Peninsula embodies diverse cultures from east to west and south to north. Cultural products like music constitute a bridge among the societies. So, I want to share three songs two of which are from Ayde Mori, the album that made me fall in love with the Balkan Music.
I’ve first met the Balkan Music with Ayde Mori, an album that compiles songs from different parts of the peninsula. It was pioneered by Muammer Ketencoğlu and includes some of the most well-known artists like Brenna MacCrimmon, Sumru Ağıryürüyen and Cevdet Erek. Their enthusiasm and excitement towards their arts made me attracted to their music.
Jarnana, Turkish readers would remember this song from a famous Turkish TV series called Elveda Rumeli, is one of the Albanian folk songs. MacCrimmon had learned this catchy song from an ethnomusicologist, Jane Sugarman and she had heard it from Albanian speaking people near the lake Prespa located in the intersection point of Albanian, Greek and Macedonian borders.
Razbolese Tsare Suleyman
I cannot find the peace and tranquility that “Razbolese Tsare Suleyman” gives me in any other song. Ketencoğlu had learned this song from a Serbian musician, Predrag Cune Gojkoric. It is also possible to find the traces of Ottomans. Lyrics of the song is Bosnian. It narrates a mini dialog between Sultan Suleiman and his son Sehzade Ibrahim. “Sultan Suleiman became ill, on the seventh day of Sehri Ramadan. Son Ibrahim asked him, O my father, Suleiman sultan, Do you regret, father, dying? Do you regret the Empire and Istanbul? Suleiman sultan answers, O my young son Ibrahim, I don’t regret dying. Nor do I regret Istanbul. But I regret leaving shachar Bosnia.”
Another band that contributes the Balkan Music with its amazing songs is Barcelona Gypsy Balkan Orchestra. Actually, as they stated in their website, this band is interested in Klezmer Music which is identified with Jews, but they have extended their sources of inspiration to be able to touch different cultures. The Balkan Peninsula, which could preserve its multicultural nature despite of the political and geographical struggles, has been one of these sources.
“Lule Lule” is another Albanian song narrating the migration of them to Italy after the Ottomans conquered Albania and Skanderbeg, a national hero, passed away. I’m sure you’ll love the song with Sandra Sangio’s voice!
Deariness and happiness, pains and passions, poverty and wealthiness… So many things can be shared with the inclusive nature of music. Balkans have also this potential, although problems seem unsolvable, people seem unmerciful, wounds seem unhealable from time to time. To live side by side, we must remember what is common instead of what divides us. We must care instead of neglect. We must heal instead of wound. And music can help us to do these.