Barbaros Erkose | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Barbaros Erkose




Turkish clarinet virtuoso Barbaros Erkose made his reputation playing tzigane, the melancholy, microtonal music of the Turkish Rom people, or Gypsies. But Rom music by its very nature is a blend, shaped by the gradual migration of nomads from India to Europe, and Erkose's music reflects his own experience as well as that of his ancestors. He was born into a musical family in 1936, and in 1961 he and his brothers Ali (violin) and Selahattin (oud) went to work for the state-owned Radio Istanbul--the most reliable employer of Rom musicians at the time. Together they developed a repertoire of dance, folk, and fasil (light classical) music, gaining popularity at home and abroad; they spent the next several decades recording and touring. In 1991, supported by Gungor Hosses on darbuka (a kettle-shaped hand drum) and Serdar Ucal on kanun (a large trapezoidal zither), they recorded the landmark Tzigane for the German label CMP, and it remains the finest modern recording of Turkish Rom music. Barbaros has brought the tradition to collaborations such as the excellent Conte de l'incroyable amour (ECM), with Tunisian oud master Anouar Brahem, and the hard-to-find Istanbul (Pozitif Imaj), with American jazz trombonist Craig Harris. Now, with his own seven-member group, he's twisting it some more. On the new Lingo Lingo (Golden Horn) there's an original called "Yalvaris," which was inspired by a North African dance song he heard in a French disco, and some of his dazzling improvisations borrow motifs, rhythmic accents, and intervallic leaps from jazz. Joining him for this rare local performance will be Ucal, cellist Tuncay Erkose (his son), and percussionist Ali Gorgulu. Wednesday, 7 PM, Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington; 312-744-6630.


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