Born in Istanbul in 1996, Baba ZuLa features founding members Levent Akman (spoons, percussion, machines, toys), Murat Ertel (electric saz and other stringed instruments, vocals, oscillators, theremin), as well as darbuka and percussion player Ümit Adakale, Baba ZuLa go to great lengths to provide their fans with a unique live show experience. Their ritual like performances are a mixture of disciplines of art, often featuring belly dancers, elaborate costumes, poetry, theater and live drawing, delivering viewers a tantalizing audio-visual feast.
By mixing oriental instruments such as the darbuka, electric saz, and spoons with electronics and modern sounds, BaBa ZuLa creates a sound all their own called Istanbul psychedelia. While a ney can represent the past Sufi-Islamic tradition, and a clarinet is the symbol of the music of the Turkish gypsies-an electric saz together with a wooden spoon can serve as musical compass to Turkish musical roots going as far back as pre-Islamic, shamanic times, through Anatolia reaches all the way up to present-day Istanbul. Despite sounds that might initially come to mind when one hears a phrase like “Oriental Dub”. Baba ZuLa’s music is in fact Psychedelic Istanbul Rock’n Roll that rolls in a way that westerners haven’t heard so frequently since the late ’60s rock epoch. They are the unrivaled masters of 21st century Turkish psychedelic music Baba ZuLa share their legacy with us through their music, a music born out of Istanbul and influenced by the memories of Istanbul passed on to them from generations past.
The group, which from the very beginning has shown great interest in featuring guest musicians and players in concerts and albums, has been accompanied by stars such as the the Canadian singer Brenna MacCrimmon (specialized in Balkan folk music), Alexander Hacke (Einstüerzende Neubauten), Fred Frith (Henry Cow, John Zorn ), Jaki Liebezeit (Can), Dr. Das (Asian Dub
Foundation), Hüsnü Senlendirici (Clarinet ), William Macbeth (aka Bill MacBeath bass) and Ralph Carney from San Fransisco (saxophonist who worked with Tom Waits and B52′s) and the diva Semiha Berksoy (first Turkish opera singer and painter).
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