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Blues from Anatolia
Composer and musician Ahmet Aslan
>>The saz was saying something...
As if it began to talk...
My heart was free of its chains
Loosening up from its ties, raising up to the sky
"hey wounded, hey madman, itʼs time to come..."<<
As soon as Ahmet Aslan bows down over his guitar, his long and wavy hair hides the instrument almost entirely. Then, as his rhythmic body begins to move in harmony with the music, the audience becomes entranced. His guitar slowly becomes more visible and every note he plays gently echoes the incredibe beauty of his hometown, the Country of The Dervishes. Ahmet Aslan plays music with roots from a land that time has almost forgotten: the world of mystic-Alevi Folk Music from Anatolia. His voice contains a pristine, fascinating and even mystical Dervişfull color. Sometimes soft, sometimes hard, but always accompanied by a strong and melancholy voice, he sings the Anatolian Blues by using all the creative possibilities offered by the genre. In a successfully yet surprising way, he combines the music of his own culture with western styles of music like Jazz and Blues. As a result, the so-called ʻmusic of the soilʼ, renews itself without losing its traditional elements. The songs and compositions are based on the musical and mythological history of the people from Dersim. Their myths, isolated for hundreds of years just like the tops of the mountains, their language and their tradition were lost during the destruction and assimilation policies of the Ottoman and Republican periods. As a result, Dersim culture has evolved largely as a product of oral story telling traditions over the years. Two native languages are spoken in Dersim: the majority of the people speak Kırmancki (also known as Zazaki: which is Ahmet Aslan's mother tongue as well) and Kurmanji. However, besides these native languages there is another element that has had an influence on Dersim culture: Armenians, who used to be indigenous to the same area, have, over the years, mixed with local people and this has impacted traditions.
Today, the thing that connects the people is Alevitism. But, this is surely not enough to understand everything about the local culture and its structure. Behind religious rituals and cultural traditions, there lies another philosophy: the spirit, arising long before İslam, contains a philosophy that extends up to the age of Zoroaster. Sunlight, Sources, Rocks and a rhythmic singing style are just some of the central spiritual reference points of this mountainous nation. Ahmet Aslan's accent and the typical sound he produces between the nose and throat, accompanied by a rhythmic breathing technique, are typical features of singing styles from the Dersim region. It is a style of commentary and music that generally belongs only to the generation of elderly men and women of the region. They are the last witnesses of a language and music tradition that is very old and in danger of extinction. However, musician Ahmet Aslan captures the spirit of these past generations in his songs and adapts their musical heritage together with his own contemporary style. This way, his music, which pays hommage to and symbolises the old language and culture, is brought up to date. Today, only very few artists can reflect the tradition of this authentic music. Thatʼs why itʼs not hard to say that Ahmet Aslan's songs are very rare.
Ahmet Aslanʼs first album ʻVa u Waxtʼ (Wind and Time) from 2003 was on the MIR Music label. Almost all the lyrics and compositions on the album are by him.
Since 1998, when he graduated from Music School in Istanbul, Ahmet Aslan has been living in Germany. Now fully acquainted with Western music his appetite for seminars like "Johan Sebastian Bach's Four-Voice Music" and "Harmony Learning" is neverending. Whilst in Germany, heʼs worked together with experienced Jazz musicians like Klaus Bittner, Bernd Renn and Michael Schwab. In 2007, his second album, ʻDance of the Angelsʼ was released by Kalan Music.
Ahmet Aslan is currently studying for his Bachelor degree at the School of World Music and Arts (CODARTS) in Rotterdam in the Netherlands.