On paper, it’s not too promising: a collection of wedding songs played by master clarinettist. The reality though is a thrilling tour de force of a region’s music refracted through the prism of its most intense social experience.
If the Ottoman’s had not swept across Central and Eastern Europe bringing their brass bands, perhaps the music of the Balkans would resemble Celtic folk more than the swirling rollercoaster of musical moods characteristic of Roma music from Romania and the Balkan states. And to hear the exquisitely winding clarinet of Selim Sesler as he continues his exploration of the folk music played preceding and during Anatolian weddings is to be seduced through time and space, dragged off to one of the world’s great cultural clearing houses.
Sesler alights on weddings as an inspiration with their poignant moments of loss and love, secrets never to be told and bonds never to be broken. Despite the rather specific title, he sources tunes and inspiration from the breadth of this impossibly diverse and massive country. Here the melodies skip delightedly around Turkey as well as conducting border raids on neighbouring territories, reclaiming a little of that Ottoman influence from the modern day Balkans and Romania.
The result is an album full of fresh elements but with enough familiarity to lead you in. The varying tone between the songs prevents the listener from suffering musical exhaustion (don’t know about you but after half a dozen full on Balkan bangers, I need a rest). Highly recommended.
Selim Sesler – Anatolian Wedding is out on Doublemoon