18 February, 2010

Making connections

Last Saturday evening i joined a new contact for a night on the town. He'd invited me to Kirpi Bar, an intimate venue that reminded me of Woodmans back home. A brother-and-sister duo sang, accompanied by the brother's guitar, and everyone sang along to the Turkish (and a few American) popular tunes delivered in a folksy style. The young bartenders sang; a family with their preteen son had come for the evening, and even the boy sang. My host, an editor at a regional agriculture magazine, introduced me to his friends, masters students in veterinary science and linguistics - and to the musicians. Selçuk, the guitarist, welcomed me warmly and invited me to join his band later in the week.

So it was this evening i set off for Tunus once again, but this time with violin in tow. Selçuk and his girlfriend Gülşen welcomed me warmly once again and we sipped Efe's, waiting for Jeff, another American, to join us.

Near the minarets of the imposing Kocatepe mosque, we descended a steep staircase off the street. The space that opened before us was a true musical lair: guitars leaned against couches and hung from the walls beside framed LP jackets. Off the central room, an open office and social space on two levels, doors led to a back alley, a practice room, recording studio, and - tattoo parlor. With Jeff's vocals, 18-year old Can a genius on the drums, Onuş on bass, Selçuk and another guitarist, we improvised for three hours to Coldplay's "Don't Panic" and "Love Song" by the Cure. Plans for more music....

For another perspective on life in Ankara, check out my fellow student Mateusz's blog, "In the Land of Kebab".