Since it was founded, the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra has worked to develop not only as a symphony orchestra but as a showcase for music from different traditions – a multicultural mosaic where each little stone is carefully placed with the utmost respect for its neighbour, making a unique contribution to its surroundings. Our first two CDs have reflected this, combining music of composers from different backgrounds with a similar musical language. We now embark on another exploration of the eastern musical roots of Europe in the late 19th and first half of the 20th century, identifying elements of the eastern side of the Bosphorus which have influenced the Western cultural background of most of these composers.
Although the classical traditions of the Ottoman world were not notated, that doesn't mean there is no evidence as to how it sounded in past eras. In addition to verbal description and iconography, Istanbul was visited (and even lived in) by various musically trained Europeans. Jordi Savall and his Hespèrion XXI ensemble here rely on writings of a Moldavian prince, Dimitrie Cantemir, as well as traditional pieces from various strands in the complex cultural mosaic that has made up the city of Istanbul over the centuries.
An American who had some family members in Istanbul is trying to discover Istanbul. She visits the off-the-beaten places and interviews the most interesting characters with her questions about the most wondered topics. A variety of colorful and interesting people representing the Turkish culture, from one of the richest women in Turkey to a masseur at a public bath and the best belly dancer in the country were chosen. By this way, interaction with a large cultural cross-section of local people providing a much richer experience was preferred.
The Network Media Cooperative (Network Medien-Cooperative) was founded in October 1979 – by April 1990 we had already issued 19 titles, at the time as audio-cassettes with a comprehensive booklet in a small package that looked like a chocolate box. The covers and layouts were produced using Letraset on a light-table installed over a bath tub. Among those first records were the musical themes that were to preoccupy us for 30 years: an extensive document of the “Gypsies Music Festival”; meanwhile the music of the Roma has been documented on numerous Network CDs, including the anthology “Road of the Gypsies” (often copied but never achieving the same level). A double musíccasette packet was devoted to cult music from Haiti and the sounds and life philosophy of the Rastafarians in Jamaica. Recording trips were undertaken, among others, to Cuba, Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Curacao, but also to Latin America, Brazil, Argentina, Ecuador, Venezuela, Colombia, Belize. We also approached the music worlds of Africa in our portrait of the South African pianist and vocalist Dollar Brand (today Abdullah Ibrahim) and in the first studio recordings of Soukous music. These were followed by trips to Liberia, Senegal, Mali, Tanzania, Zanzibar.