“Touching” The Soul

Sezgin Çevik, Gamze Ünal Abdullah Özbudak August 2014

“TOUCH”, A SOUL-SOOTHING ALBUM BY ERKAN OĞUR, DERYA TÜRKAN AND ILKIN DENIZ, WAS RELEASED IN JUNE. WE TALKED WITH THE MUSICIANS, WHO HAVE BEEN TOGETHER FOR YEARS AND PRODUCED A NUMBER OF ALBUMS, ABOUT THEIR LATEST ALBUM AND THE MUSIC THEY MAKE.

First of all, tell us why you are not inclined to make many albums?
Erkan Oğur: I’m someone who believes that recording has killed music. I think it’s wrong to package up a piece of music and listen to it over and over again in exactly the same way. Music should be alive, living and flowing in time, so that the same thing is never repeated. It’s more real and worthwhile then.

So how did you decide to make this album?
Erkan Oğur: In the case of this album, I console myself with one small fact. First of all, there’s an attempt, albeit it minimal, to explain and convey the aesthetics of music on this album. This is very important for future generations. Secondly, there are, as always, some innovations that I think might be forward-looking in terms of harmony. In order for them to be understood, we wanted to document a few things and thereby open the door to people who will make music in the future. 

Derya Türkan: Erkan is right in his concerns, but recording is also essential for being able to remember the happiness we felt at that moment. There are two things that make people learn Turkish music. One of them is recordings, the old vinyl records. And the other is the books that have been written by a handful of musical scholars. Unfortunately, we are weak in that area when compared with music culture in Europe. 

Derya Bey, how did you come to join the group?
Erkan and İlkin Deniz have been friends for years. I’ve known İlkin ever since I entered the conservatory, and I love his music. There were other things too that brought us together. Fikret Kızılok, for example, had a place called “Cekirdek” (The Seed), where he used to give concerts. I would go to hear him, and Erkan would give concerts there too. Years later in 2000 we got together for the album “Fuad” and then for the album “Hiç”. We started wondering what it would be like to be a duo and went deeper into it.

How would you describe your music?
Erkan Oğur: It’s meant to soothe…

İlkin Deniz: I thought about categorizing this album, but it’s neither jazz, nor pop, nor classical, nor any of those. So I call it World Music.

Derya Türkan: As we were lining up the sounds back to back, we noticed that the sound shadow created a domino effect. Our music is made up of sounds that push and pull each other. It’s impossible to define, so it’s hard to formulate the theory behind it.

What do you like to listen to?
Erkan Oğur: Speaking for myself, if music is believable, if it’s made honestly, there’s no question of country or geography. The unity of man and nature are the essence. I’m open to everything.

Have you learned anything from your listeners?
Erkan Oğur: We learn about life from the listener.
İlkin Deniz: Of course we have. Making music is not something you can do on your own. You have to get outside yourself a little or the music will leave you and you won’t even be aware of it. When you realize it, time has passed and then it’s too late. We are always in touch with the listener when we make music. “Touch” is that kind of album. May it be a balm to everyone’s soul.

ABOUT THE ALBUM
Erkan Oğur and Derya Türkan’s long-standing musical partnership and concert project, “Music From Afar”, is continuing with their album, “Touch”, which, apart from an anonymous Turkish folk song, was composed entirely by Oğur, Türkan and İlkin Deniz.

A GIANT 3-MAN ORCHESTRA
Erkan Oğur does the vocals and plays the fretless guitar, the classical guitar and the Oğur saz, which bears his own name, Derya Türkan plays the classical violin, and İlkin Deniz accompanies him on the double bass.