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Traditions of Turkey

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Album Review

A collection of Turkish folk songs as performed by the husband and wife duo Huseyin & Günay Turkmenler. Huseyin plays an outstanding saz, and Günay makes use of some powerful vocal prowess. Hossam Ramzy provides able accompaniment on the percussion end as well. In general, the focus is pretty clearly on Günay in the vocal works, perhaps to the detriment of the instrumental work in the background. While she's quite a capable vocalist, the aesthetic she's using can become somewhat grating after a time. When Huseyin breaks out for an instrumental run (or into a full-blooded taqsim portion) the treat is made clear for the album. While the saz is often more of an accompanying instrument in an ensemble, he brings it to the forefront with remarkable virtuosity. When he's done with it, the sound is somewhere between a hammered dulcimer and an oud. The plucking is deliberate and fast, which allows for some decent displays of virtuosity, especially when mixed with some strumming effects for a drone. For a more thorough overview of Turkish music, the albums on Rounder, and the recordings of the old oud masters would potentially be better choices. For a quick fix of some fine saz playing though, this album does just fine. Give it a listen if you're interested in the light classical traditions of Asia Minor.

Traditions of Turkey, Huseyin & Gunay Turkmenler
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