December 26, 2014

Alone, but not lonely, spirit of the mountains

Alojzij Žakelj

 Alone but not lonely spirit of the mountains

I admire man of silence, patience and humbleness. Wonderful and rare to meet a man who is detached from the world but not despising it, loves life but seems is not chasing it.

Lojz is contemplating about time, geography, colors and bible in an old
military bunker high up in the Alps.
A lot of people, even his parents think that he is a bit "strange". A
But he doesn’t feel different from other people. His decisions make him
Simplicity of life is obtained by clearness of decisions we make.
Alojz Žakelj has made his choice.
Long ago he discovered that he want to live in high mountains.
"Beauty of this landscape overwhelmed me. I knew in an instant that’s
where I want to live" he says.
He has two lifes: one as a metal worker in factory and the other as a
mountain eremite.
If he could coose he would stay up in the mountains. "Time is always
to short for me up here" he says. But he must make his living in the
When he discovered an abandoned military casern high up in the
mountains he decided that he will make it his home. This is the highest
home in Slovenia even higher than all other mountain hutts.
Later on he build another, wooden bivuac on a high very narrow rock. It
is hard to reach this place for a climber but he brought all the material
up there and constructed everything by his own hands.
Often people doesn’t understand his way of life. Especially his parents.
They would like him to get married and heave children like all the rest
of "normal" people. They, especialy his mother doesn‘t think that he
achieved something in his life. She thinks he is some kind of a looser,
because he didn‘t choose family life. There is a constant conflict
beetween them.
Lojz likes solitude, but he also likes company of people.
He never feels alone or bored in his high home. He studies geography,
world travels and the Bible-book of books.
There’s a lot of clocks in his home. He thinks that time is very
important. "Time is entity who leads us from past to the future" is one
of his thoughts. To be able to take advantage of one’s life you heave
to be very careful how you are spending your time, because everyone
has a limited amount of it.
He colored his home in bright colors. Every color for Lojz has a
meaning: red is for the road, yellow is the light, gray is color of the
rocks and blue is the sky.
Directr of photography
Asistant cameraman
Sound recording
Music chosen by
Sound mix
Asistant director
Executive production
Writen and directed by
Program editor

"Stebrasta skala"


July 17, 2014

Summertime and the living is Darla dirladada


Darla dirladada

 "Darla dirladada" is a traditional song, originating from the island of Kalymnos in Greece.


It was conceived as a song that sponge divers would sing when traveling with their caïque boats across the seas. The song's lyrics contain words of encouragement and the opportunity awaiting the crew.
One of the most notable recordings is that performed by Pantelis Ginis, a Kalymnian sponge diver captain, who, in his version, is making a reference to another respected diver captain, Manolis (Emmanuel) Theodosiou, whose nickname was 'Kobalis'. Ginis, in his version, relates the time Kobalis walked into a coffee shop where Ginis was singing Darla dirladada.

Modern versions

In 1970 the song was recorded by Italian-Egyptian-French singer Dalida. It was released as a single from her album Ils ont changé ma chanson, on which it features as the sixth track. Dalida also recorded the song in the English-language.
The song has been featured in Marva, an IsraelI television youth program. The most notable cover version, so far, is that of G.O. Culture in 1993, which became a huge hit in France.
And on and on... in 2014 there was even a post on Spirits & Spices ;)


 Darla dirladada...


June 27, 2014

Sidney Bechet's summertime

hola all
it's been just less than a year and another summer,some.ages ago
Sidney Bechet for today
I like his 39 original but a second version a decade on,at the Paris Jazz Festival
maybe surpasses the first

and if you feel like me evoking old spirits come this way 

December 11, 2013

Orishas across the Ocean

The Yoruba / Dahomean Collection: Orishas Across the Ocean
Various Artists HRT15020   -   Ryko RCD 10405  -  1998

01 - Papa Legba ouve baye
02 - St. Jak pa la
03 - An nou mache
04 - Ketu songs for Osain
05 - Bori songs
06 - Agolona
07 - Opanije (rhythms for Omolu)
08 - Ketu- Roda de Dada (song cycle)
09 - Ketu songs for Oxala
10 - Song for Elegua
11 - Song for Nana Buruku
12 - Song for Ogun
13 - Song for Dada
14 - Song for Yemaya
15 - Ochun Talade
16 - Song for Yemaya
17 - Song for Yemaya
18 - Song for Chango
19 - Itutu song (funerary rites)
20 - Itutu song
21 - Yariba-Oshun
22 - Shango ceremonial music
23 - Shango ceremonial music
24 - Invocation

Duration: 1:05:52

The 24 tracks featured on this Endangered Music Project release are musical snapshots of Haitian vodou, Cuban santería, Trinidadian shango, and Brazilian candomblé rituals recorded between the late 1930s and the mid 1950s. Despite separation by hundreds of miles and differing colonial pasts, the Cubans, Brazilians, Haitians, and Trinidadians heard on this album all sing and drum to orishas (gods) stemming from the Yoruba and Dahomey religions of their West African ancestors brought to the Americas through the slave trade. The album was captured by prolific recordist Laura Boulton and Afro-American scholars Melville Herskovits and Lydia Cabrera. The Yoruba/Dahomean Collection: Orishas Across The Ocean was issued in 1997 as part of the Endangered Music Project, a series curated by Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart featuring material from the Library of Congress' American Folklife Center (now part of the Mickey Hart Collection made available by Smithsonian Folkways).

Record Label : Mickey Hart Collection / Source Archive Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage (other releases in this collection :

Credits : Produced by Mickey Hart, Alan Jabbour ; Edited by Mickey Hart, Morton Marks, Fredric Lieberman ; Liner Notes by Morton Marks ; Introduction by Kenneth Bilby ; Engineered by Michael Donaldson, Tom Flye, Michael Romanowski ; Mastered by Jeffrey Norman ; Design by Adam Larson ; Photography by Josefina Tarafa.

Liner notes as pdf download from this page : (forgot to include them in the file)

July 20, 2013 are jumpin' and the cotton is high

One of these mornings
You're goin' to rise up singing
Yes you'll spread your wings
And you'll take to the sky


May 28, 2013

Tea time in Greece...

Greek Mountain Tea

Prized for its medicinal benefits

Malotira - Mountain Tea
Malotira: Mountain Tea from Crete
Photo © Jim Stanfield
In Greek: τσαϊ του βουνού (pronounced TSAH-ee too voo-NOO) 

Greek Mountain Tea is made using the dried leaves and flowers of Sideritis plants (ironwort). The tea is aptly named: the plant used to make it is found on rocky slopes at elevations over 3,200 feet (1000 meters). These plants are hardy flowering perennials that have adapted to survive with little water and little soil. Only one type of this plant, Sideritis raeseri, is cultivated - and only in Greece; otherwise, this and other types are gathered in the wild. 

On Crete, the common name for Mountain Tea is "malotira" (μαλοτήρα - pronounced mah-loh-TEER-rah), and almost every region of Greece has its own name for the brew, such as "Olympos tea," and "Parnassos tea," reflecting the name of the mountain where it grows. The most common English name other than Mountain Tea is "Shepherd's Tea," because Greek shepherds would use the plants to make a brewed tea while tending their flocks high in the hills. 

Mountain Tea is enormously popular in Greece, and used most often in winter when levels of physical activity decrease and colds, aches, and pains increase. It is said to have a positive effect on almost anything that ails but, most notably, it is used for colds, respiratory problems, digestion, the immune system, mild anxiety, and as an anti-oxidant. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory and to reduce fever. 

In Greece, it is sold in grocery shops, pharmacies, herb-and-spice shops, or it can be picked fresh and dried at home. Outside Greece, it is sold as "Greek Mountain Tea," or "Greek Mountain Shepherd's Tea," at specialty shops, and it can be found online. 

Ready to Get Healthy? Let's Make Tea

  • 1/2 ounce of the dried leaves and flowers
  • 1 quart of boiling water

  • Pour boiling water over the tea and let steep for no longer than 10 minutes.
  • Strain and drink (with honey, sugar, or plain).
Serving suggestions: Serve Mountain Tea at breakfast or before retiring at night, with Kalamata (black) olives, feta cheese, and crusty bread. 

Greek grandmother’s rule of thumb: At least one cup a day! Here's to your health!
Tea and no music?

Greece ..... Tea & Bouzouki

A1. Stavros Xarhakos - The Sakena Dance (Horos Tou Sakena).    
A2. Manos Hadjidakis - Little Ivory Boat (Fildisenio Karavaki).    
A3. Yiannis Spanos - Baglamas (O Baglamas).    
A4. Demos Moutsis - The Dance (Horos).    
A5. Stavros Xarhakos - The Hassapikos Dance (Hassapikos).    
A6. Manos Hadjidakis - Star Of The Orient (Astro Tis Anatolis).    

B1. Vassilis Tsitsanis - New Minore (Neo Minore).    
B2. George Mitsakis - Aivaliotiko.    
B3. Markos Vamvakaris - Solo Bouzouki.    
B4. Yiannis Papaioannou - Solo Papaioannou.    
B5. George Zambetas - My Life, My Love, My Bouzouki (Ta Telia Anapsane).    
B6. Yiannis Papaioannou - The Papaioannou Bouzouki (Pennies Papaioannou)

This was about Spices - Spirits (Raki) later ; )


May 9, 2013

Nelson Sargento ~ sonho de un Sambista a  piano is  not just a piano
and  water is H2O and  hundreds of rivers  and seas    
Samba is bigger than life and  thousands  of  life's stories..

an exquisite and much loved artist  -Nelson Sargento : 

Nelson Sargento is the artistic name of Nelson Mattos, born on the 25th of July, in a public hospital (Santa Casa de Misericórdia) in Rio de Janeiro. He was raised in Tijuca, in the house of Portuguese shop owners for whom his mother worked as a housemaid. On weekends his mother would take him to visit their family  on the morro (hill) of Salgueiro, a redoubt of samba, and when he was twelve they moved to the morro de Mangueira.
Nelson is the last of the old guardia of Mangueira, Rio's most storied samba school. His "As Quatro Estações do Ano" is considered to be Mangueira's most beautiful carnival samba of all time.......

Em Português

um sonho

April 11, 2013

Spice Up Your Life...

More or less essential spices for Mediterranean cooking...

Allspice: A single spice that imparts the warm flavor and rich aroma of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, allspice is also known in Mediterranean cooking as myrtle pepper. (It's a member of the myrtle family.) You'll find it whole and ground in recipes for seafood, poultry and meat marinades, as well as in rice dishes and desserts -- like cakes, pies, and puddings. It's also often used in tandem with other spices, especially on vegetables and in stews and stuffings.
Anise Seed: The warm, sweet, licorice-like taste of anise seed is used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes. In Mediterranean cooking you'll find it in seafood recipes, dried fruit and nut mixtures, breads (like biscotti), and desserts.

Annatto Seed: Annatto seed adds a warm, sweet, peppery flavor and a lovely orange color to grains, seafood, vegetables, meats, stews, sauces, and legumes. It's often used in combination with other spices. You'll also find it referred to as roucou, lipstick tree, bija, and achiote.

Basil: A staple in southern France and Italy, you'll find the sweet yet peppery taste of basil in a wide variety of dishes -- as the basis for pesto and often in tandem with tomatoes, in pasta sauces, Italian minestrone, salads and dressings, breads and marinades. It's an extremely versatile herb from the mint family. Basil blends well with other herbs and spices -- such as parsley, rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, and saffron.

Bay Leaves: Bay originates in the Mediterranean area, where in ancient times it was a symbol of achievement. Potently flavored, just a leaf or two of bay will usually suffice in soups, broths, stews, sauces and marinades for meats and poultry. It's even found in an occasional dessert.

Caraway Seeds, Black: The peppery taste of black caraway (nigella seed) is enjoyed on flat breads and with lentils and vegetables and in spice blends and pickles. No relation to true caraway seeds, these are produced by a flower that belongs to the buttercup family and is indigenous to the Mediterranean. The seed has long been valued for its healing properties.

Cardamom: Mediterranean cooks crush the pods to release the warm flavor and aroma of this spicy, sharp, and sweet seasoning. Native to India and a member of the ginger family, it's used in both sweet and savory recipes -- from beverages and delicate desserts to meat and vegetable dishes.

Chervil: Chervil is used by French and Spanish cooks much like parsley, though it imparts a delicate anise taste as well as an herbal one. You'll find its distinctive, delicate flavoring in recipes for seafood, pasta, grain, vegetable and egg dishes, and in salads, sauces, soups, and dressings. A key ingredient in French potato soups, chervil also appears in blends like Fines Herbs.

Chili peppers: Red chili peppers are ground and used as a table condiment (cayenne) or made into a paste. Mediterranean cooks also sprinkle them in sauces, stews, and seafood dishes. The heat of the spice comes from the capsaicin content, which varies; all chili peppers belong to the genus capsicum, which includes over 20 different species.

Chives: Chives belong to the onion family but have a milder, more delicate flavor than onions. They are rich in vitamins A and C and complement salads and dressings, yogurt, egg, and pasta dishes, casseroles, baked potatoes, soups and sauces. Chives also appear in recipes for Fines Herbs blends.

Cilantro: A strongly aromatic seasoning found in many cuisines around the world, cilantro has roots in both Southern Europe and the Middle/Far East. The leaf of the coriander plant, it has a pungent flavor reminiscent of sage and lemon. You'll find it seasoning Mediterranean stews, soups, curries, vegetables, salads, relishes and tomato-based sauces.

Cinnamon: Fragrant with a slightly sweet taste, cinnamon adds a warm spiciness to Mediterranean soups, condiments, glazes, desserts, and drinks. It complements fruits like apricots and apples as well as meats and vegetables like carrots, spinach, and onions. Cinnamon often appears in Mediterranean cuisine in combination with other warm spices, like cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, ginger, allspice and pepper.

Cloves: The warm, rich, spicy flavor and strong, sweet aroma of cloves is used to accent Mediterranean baked goods, stews, soups, and meats. It's often used in tandem with cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. Of Southeast Asian origin, the spice is the unopened flower bud of the evergreen clove tree.

Coriander: With a taste and aroma that's distinct from fresh cilantro leaves (which come from the same plant), coriander is often used to flavor Mediterranean meat, poultry, and vegetable dishes as well as cookies and cakes. Its scent is a bit like orange, its taste warm and sweet.

Cumin: Cumin is a vital spice around the world. Mediterranean cooks toast the seeds whole and then grind them for use in stews and with couscous. It's often paired with coriander as well as hot spices. Good quality cumin will hold its flavor and aroma in long-simmering dishes. You'll find it in recipes for seafood, egg, poultry and meats, as well as tomato-based sauces and salad dressings.

Fennel: Mediterranean cooks often toast fennel seeds and serve them with seafood. You'll also find their sweet, mild licorice taste in meat, vegetable, and grain dishes, soups, tomato sauces, cakes, pastries, breads, beverages, salads and dressings (especially French vinaigrettes).

Fenugreek: The nutty, spicy-sweet, maple-like flavor of fenugreek is found in both Mediterranean and West Asian cuisine. It's often used -- whole or ground -- in curries, pickles, breads, teas, and desserts. Use it sparingly, because too much can make a dish bitter.

Garlic: A mainstay in Mediterranean cuisine, garlic is a versatile seasoning that complements most any savory dish. Of central Asian origin, it's a member of the lily family and comes in many varieties, including white-, pink- and purple-skinned cloves. You'll find garlic in Mediterranean sauces, stews, soups, salad dressings, casseroles, breads, and grain dishes.

Ginger: Mediterranean cooks use ginger to enhance both sweet and savory dishes. Warm and spicy sweet, aromatic and zingy, ginger is added to stir fries, sauces, cakes and cookies, puddings, and -- because it combines well with many other seasonings -- spice blends.

Juniper Berries: The fruit of a small evergreen shrub, this aromatic and spicy/sweet seasoning is used for meats (marinades, roasts, stews, and in sausage mixes), pickles, soups, and vegetable dishes. Mediterranean cooks crush the berries to fully release the flavor.

Mace: This red, lacy covering of the nutmeg fruit is used in dessert and savory dishes to impart a warm, sweet, cinnamon/pepper flavor. You'll find it in Mediterranean recipes for soups, sauces, stuffings, puddings, and baked goods.

Marjoram: A relative of oregano with a lighter, more delicate flavor, marjoram is used liberally by Italian, French, and Greek cooks. Native to the Mediterranean region, it has a sweet, minty flavor that works well with many vegetables, meats and poultry and in recipes for soups, stews, butters, sauces, and salad dressings. It's also a key ingredient in spice blends such as Fines Herbs.

Mint: Used in eastern Mediterranean cooking, peppermint and spearmint provide a fresh flavor in a variety of sweet and savory dishes. Peppermint's strong aroma and taste is often used to flavor candy and desserts, and spearmint is often found in teas, sauces, and jellies that are served with meat, as well as vegetables, like potatoes and carrots. Mint is also added to salads, stews, soups and stuffings.

Nutmeg: Mediterranean cooks grate whole nutmeg for a strong, cinnamon/nutty flavor in sweets and savories. You'll find it in recipes for pies, cookies, cakes, fruit dishes, sauces, soups, seafood, poultry, beans, eggs, cheeses, and vegetables (especially eggplant, spinach, and cabbage). Italian cooks in particular use nutmeg for its rich scent and flavor in ravioli and tortellini dishes, meat sauces and stews.

Onion: Onion's distinct taste is indispensable in Mediterranean cuisine, where it enhances other vegetables, soups, sauces, seafood and meat dishes, grains and legumes. There are hundreds of varieties -- including the large, round Spanish onion, the red-skinned Italian onion, smaller, yellow or white onions, pearl onions and green onions --  all of which vary in appearance and potency.

Oregano: Oregano grows wild throughout the Mediterranean, where it's a cooking staple. Though related to marjoram, its flavor is stronger. You'll find it in French, Greek and Italian dishes, especially in tomato-based recipes. Mediterranean oregano is also used to marinate meats and seafood before grilling and to season olives, cheeses, vegetables (especially eggplant), egg dishes, grains, breads, casseroles, meats, poultry, and salads. It partners well with other spices, like basil, garlic, thyme, and parsley.

Paprika: This vibrantly colored spice has a mildly peppery/sweet taste that complements eggs, poultry, stews, soups, dressings, seafood, and vegetables. It can be substituted for Aleppo pepper (use three parts ground Hungarian paprika and one part ground red pepper flakes) in Mediterranean recipes.

Parsley: Native to Southern Europe, parsley is used in sauces, soups, meat marinades, dressings, salads, casseroles, stuffings, omelets, soft cheeses, and potato dishes. The two main types are curly and flat-leaf parsley, both rich in vitamins and minerals. Parsley is a key ingredient in persillade (a French mixture of garlic and parsley).

Pepper: A wide variety of peppers are used in Mediterranean cooking -- usually freshly ground. The black variety originates from unripe green berries that ferment before drying, resulting in strong flavor and aroma. White pepper originates from ripe berries soaked to remove the red skin; it has a bit less aroma and flavor and is best used in recipes requiring a milder pepper flavor and white color, such as light soups, white sauces and egg dishes.

Rosemary: A native Mediterranean spice, rosemary's aromatic, needle-like leaf has a sweet, pungent flavor. Italian cooks use it liberally in marinades and with roasted and grilled foods, like vegetables, poultry, and seafood. It also works well in stews, sauces, dressings and focaccia. You'll find rosemary in Bouquet Garni and Herbes de Provence blends, too.

Saffron: A vibrantly colored, sweetly scented, pungent-tasting spice, precious saffron comes from the stigma of a flowering crocus. Grown in Spain, it's often used to flavor bouillabaisse, egg dishes, salads and dressings, sauces, seafood, poultry, paella and other grain dishes, and breads.

Sage: A Mediterranean spice in the mint family, sage has a pungent, slightly bitter/sweet taste and an herbal fragrance. Mediterranean cooks use it to flavor a variety of foods, including meats, seafood, poultry, stuffings, soups, breads, bean salads and dressings. Italian cooks add it to pasta sauces, too.

Sea Salt: The fresh, robust taste of sea salt is found in Mediterranean breads, pickled vegetables, dressings, and with cheeses, meats and grains -- any savory dish and a few sweet ones as well. It enhances other flavors, seasons on its own, and provides a necessary nutrient.

Savory: A Mediterranean native, savory has a strong, slightly peppery flavor. Summer savory is milder and more commonly grown than winter savory and is used to flavor legumes, meats, poultry, seafood (especially trout), beans, dressings (especially vinaigrettes), soups (especially cream soups), stuffings and tomato sauces. Winter savory is used in marinades, salads, soups, sauces, dressings, stuffings, and with meats and vegetables like eggplant and cabbage.

Tarragon: A staple seasoning in French food, you'll find the sweet, fresh, licorice-like flavor of tarragon in sauces, dressings, butters, vinegars, condiments, and with meats, poultry, eggs and seafood. It's also a crucial ingredient in spice blends like Fines Herbs and Herbes de Provence.

Thyme: Native to the Mediterranean, this aromatic, pungent seasoning has an herbal, minty flavor and scent. It's used in many savory recipes and especially with tomatoes and in slow-cooked dishes like soups and sauces. Try it (with a light hand at first) with poultry, seafood, meats, and in marinades and stuffings. It's distinctive enough to stand on its own, but it's also found in classic spice blends like Bouquet Garni and Herbes de Provence.

Turmeric: Mediterranean cooks use turmeric to add a beautiful yellow color, warm, mild aroma, and gingery spice to many recipes, including egg, grain, vegetable, legume, seafood and meat dishes, as well as condiments. It's a member of the ginger family and is sometimes used for color in place of the more expensive saffron (though the taste is distinctly different).

01. Amr Diab - El Alem Alla
02. Elissa - Ramshet A'en
03. Abdul Majeed Abdullah - Raheeb
04. Nawal Al Zoghbi - Ma Bteta'ab Dakhlak
05. Kadim Al Sahir - Ha Habibi
06. Pascale Machaalani - Nour El Chams
07. George Wassouf - Erdha Bilnaseeb
08. Hisham Abbas - Wana Wana Amel Eh
09. Najwa Karam - Ya Habayeb
10. Ilham Al Madfai - Ashgar Be Shama
11. Ragheb Alama - Hamd' Ellah Al Salama
12. Abdallah Al Rowaishid -  Wainak
13. Assi Al Hillani - Ahibbak Jiddan
14. Dania - Yalla Bina

  Make love - not war
still true today
and always will be
anything else is blasphemy
:  )

March 13, 2013


Kanun: Turgut Özüfler
Keman: Hasan Nar
Ney: Başar Dikici
Tanbur: Alper Uzkur
The Ottoman Classical Palace Music


01.Acem Aşiran Saz Semaisi (Mısırlı İbrahim Efendi)
02.Hüseyni Peşrev (Lavtacı Andon)
03.Hüseyni Taksim (Ney Tanbur)
04.Hüseyni Saz Semaisi (Lavtacı Andon)
05.Segah Peşrevi (Yusuf Paşa)
06.Ferah Feza Taksim (Tanbur)
07.Ferah Feza Saz Semaisi (Tanburi Cemil Bey)
08.Hicaz Saz Semaisi (Refik Talat Bey)
09.Hüzzam Taksim (Kanun - Keman)
10.Neveser Taksim (Tanbur)
11.Kürdili Hicazkar Taksim (Tanbur)
12.Muhayyer Saz Semaisi (Tanburi Cemil Bey)



Music occupied a very important place in Ottoman society. Topkapi Palace was a virtual conservatory, where both women and men received intensive training in music. Every concubine mastered an instrument while also being instructed in singing and dancing. Indeed, there were concubines who learned to play the trumpet, usually considered a man’s instrument. The men, on the other hand, received their musical training in the Enderun, which was the palace school. Albertus Bobovius, for example, a Pole who entered this school while still young and spent twenty years there, contributed a great deal to Turkish music. Bobovius, who in Turkey took the name Ali Ufkî Bey and was an interpreter and translator at court, transcribed 544 works of Turkish music into European notation. It is thanks to this effort that these pieces can be played today.
In order to grasp the importance which music had for the Ottomans, and the place it occupied in their culture, one must understand its three functions: Concert music, music for accompaniment, and visual impact.

Concert music, whether at the palace or elsewhere, was simply to be listened to. Among the Ottomans, concerts were performed both indoors and outdoors. A picture the original of which is in the Warsaw University Library depicts twelve Ottoman musicians giving a concert at the British Embassy on February 22, 1779. The instruments employed were three neys, a violin, a ‘kemânçe’, a ‘santur’ (the Turkish dulcimer), three tambourines, one ‘miskal’ (a multi-reeded wind instrument), and two ‘tanburs’. We have many miniatures and paintings which show female instrumentalists and concerts given among women. One such work is an 18th-century miniature now in the Philadelphia Free Library. In it, four female musicians perform for a lady in the garden of a palace or mansion, while a servant serves the lady a drink. The instruments depicted in the miniature are the tambourine, kemânçe, tanbur and ‘kanun’.

Music for accompaniment, on the other hand, was highly important for the art dances performed sometimes by women and sometimes by men dressed as women. Here music and dance were so closely intertwined that we might call such performances “visual concerts.” Music functioned as accompaniment in other types of show as well. One can cite the performances of tumblers, acrobats, jugglers, magicians, jesters and wrestlers, as well as those by trained animals. A miniature depicting festivities held in 1582 has two acrobats, two dancers and four jesters accompanied by the music of a tambourine, miskal, çagane and kopuz.

Visual impact was the third major element in Ottoman music. The costumes of the instrumentalists, and the unusual or majestic aspect of some musicians, appealed to the eye as much as to the ear. The sultan’s processions included other performances besides music. In the middle of a miniature depicting a procession of Sultan Murad III we see this ruler on horseback, while in the lower part of the work there are two dancers and a jester accompanied by a stringed instrument, and in the rear a mounted ‘mehter’ band.
Music and dance also figured prominently in the processions of tradesmen, which lasted for hours. Ottoman ambassadors who had been posted to some country, say Vienna or Paris, would enter the city with a large procession which included a sizeable mehter band on horseback. So magnificent were the scenes that the public and the courtiers watching were deeply stirred. And the ranks of those who were moved also included composers. The tradesmen’s processions inspired such greats as Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven, in whose works this Ottoman music was reflected.

The fact that music appeared in the festivities simultaneously with other types of performance did cause one problem: when different kinds of music were played at the same time, they struck the ear all together, and there was no way to make a choice. There are numerous examples of this. Consider, for instance, the miniature which shows festivities held in 1582. A ‘köçek’, that is a male dancer dressed as a woman, does his stuff for thousands of spectators to the tune of his own music. Elsewhere a Mevlevi whirls in a religiously motivated dance called the ‘sema’, again accompanied by his own music. The public can watch the köçek’s dance and the sema separately, but how are they going to keep the two different kinds of music apart. The answer is very simple: Even if the clashing types of music turned into noise, the spectators, caught up in the exuberance of the festivity, just didn’t care. On the other hand, foreigners who witnessed the festivities and wrote about them in books and reports say the cacophony of hundreds of clashing instruments, and all those songs, did indeed disturb them. The reason was that they, as strangers, were unable to surrender themselves to the festive atmosphere.

There was a wealth of instruments in Ottoman days. In his book of travels, Evliya Çelebi describes a parade of all the guilds past Sultan Murad IV, giving a full list of instrumentalists, instrument makers and singers, and points out that there were some “hundred” names for instruments. Every instrument had its own name, even when they belonged to the same family. Some of the better-known stringed instruments were the kopuz, çeng, kemânçe, violin and lute, while the winds included the horn, ney, miskal and zurna. Prominent percussion instruments were the triangle, drum and ‘çagane’. Most of the Ottoman instruments have unfortunately not come down to our age, being lost in the mists of time. One reason is that during the 19th century growing Westernization led to the use of European instruments. Indeed, such once-popular instruments as the çeng and miskal have vanished completely, not a single example being left even in the museums. But luckily we have drawings in miniatures and old books on music.

Reference: Prof. Dr. Metin And / SKYLIFE


çeng and miskal ; )



A dish that is to be accompanied by yogurt is a must on any traditional Turkish table - unless of course, there is already another dish whose main ingredient is yogurt. For thousands of years, yogurt has been an indispensable element on Turkish tables. It is consumed plain or as a side dish, and it is a crucial part of Turkish Cuisine. Yogurt is used to make soups, sweets, and the favorite drink ayran, which is made by mixing in water, mineral water and salt. Another reason why Turks hold yogurt dearly is that all over the world it is consumed and known as “yogurt,” which is a word of Turkish origin.

About a thousand years ago, Turks were the first to make Yogurt. The oldest known lexicon of the Turkish language, Kasgarli Mahmut’s Divân-i Lûgat’i Türk has an entry for the same word, and it has the same meaning. At the time, Turks still led nomadic lives and had devised numerous methods to preserve their food for their long journeys. This is one of the reasons why milk was made into yogurt. The best quality yogurt is produced through the fermentation of cow and lamb’s milk. It is not surprising that dairy products made from these animals are Turkish inventions; Central Asian Turks were the first to domesticate lambs and cows. As it was first spreading into Europe and elsewhere, this thick, white dairy product was used for therapeutic purposes; in the 20th century, its daily use spreads all around the world.

The transformation of milk into yogurt is the feat of lactic acid-yielding microorganisms. Yogurt is basically coagulated milk produced by the partial transformation of milk lactose into lactic acid through the effect of yogurt yeast. The initial production step is to boil the milk. The boiled milk is left to cool until it won’t burn your finger and then two teaspoons of starter yogurt added gently from the edge of the container. The container is then sealed and usually placed in a nest of towels to keep the milk warm and the fermentation going. Fermentation takes 4 to 5 hours at a temperature of approximately 37 degrees.

Yogurt can be classified under three groups depending on the production method; in addition to the regular yogurt whose production has been outlined above, there is also the Silivri Yogurt and strained yogurt. Silivri style yogurt is proper to the Istanbul region, and it is produced with lamb’s milk only. This is a tasty, firm and very creamy variety of yogurt. The procedure involves first boiling the milk in large cauldrons. Then the milk is poured into containers in a way to develop froth. Blazing coals are placed under these containers, and the yogurt is left to sit. Consequently, a harder and slightly cooked creamy top is obtained. When the containers are cool enough, glass syringes are used to inject yogurt yeast to the mixture from all four corners. Following this procedure, the containers are sealed with large wooden covers. After settling for 4 to 5 hours, the Silivri yogurt is then ready for consumption. The same initial procedures are followed to produce strained yogurt, however the creamy top is later removed and the remaining yogurt is placed in finely woven cloth bags. The bags are then hung at a height to allow the liquid to strain off. Finally, the strained yogurt is transferred to tin containers. Strained yogurt contains no vitamin B, since this ingredient is moved out along with the liquid as it is strained off.

It would be almost impossible to find a Turkish household that does not have yogurt in the refrigerator. Turks, who use yogurt widely, believe that it is a health food, with ability to cleanse the body from toxins and poisons. Even dreaming of yogurt is considered a good omen as a sign of upcoming wealth and a long life.
Reference: Yesim Gokce (Bilkent University)/Turkish Cultural Foundation