Selim Sesler | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Rom clarinetist Selim Sesler grew up in Kesan, a Thracian village in the northwest corner of Turkey, where Greece and Bulgaria meet, and the confluence of all those cultures is a big part of what makes his music so dazzling. Sesler's 2000 album The Road to Kesan, a strictly folkloric affair, is still raucous as hell; his latest, Anatolian Wedding (Doublemoon), is a more accomplished work of alchemy, simultaneously vibrant and sorrowful. Sesler's snaking, sharp-toned lines are fierce and fast, and he alternates between precise unison and ferocious counterpoint with the other lead instruments--twangy oud, sobbing violin, springy kanun (a regional instrument similar to the hammer dulcimer)--while aggressive darbuka propels the whole careful, sensual dance. The album explores music heard at weddings throughout Turkey, though some of the rhythms and more buoyant melodies come from those parts of Thrace that are over the border. In his Chicago debut Sesler leads a sextet; he'll be joined for a few songs by the not-so-convincing Canadian singer Brenna MacCrimmon, who lives in Istanbul and appeared with him in Crossing the Bridge, Fatih Akin's documentary on Istanbul's music scene. This concert is part of Looptopia; see Fairs & Festivals for the complete music lineup. a 9 PM, Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. F A

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