Nyofu Tyson was still pretty new to the Turkish music scene, and just starting to learn the language when he first encountered Turkish folk songs interpreted in different languages. A popular Turkish singer he was playing bass with, Ayla Algan, had recorded an album of Turkish folk songs in French and English for the Turkish Ministry of Culture. Her English versions of 13th Century poet Yunus Emre made a particularly strong impression on him.
A few years later, while living in Stockholm Sweden, Nyofu had the opportunity to collaborate with Zülfü Livaneli, during Livaneli’s formative years, just before he emerged as an icon in Turkish music. Nyofu had already made his first attempts at singing Turkish folk poets in English, and Livaneli encouraged him, including a number or two by Nyofu in the shows they did together.
Nyofu recorded his first collection of Turkish Folk Songs- “The Friend”- in Stockholm in 1981. He released a second collection of material- “Timeless Songs” with songs he recorded between 1992 and 2003, in 2004.
While living in Turkey in 2005, Nyofu participated in an English Seminar hosted by Gazi University, where he taught a group of Turkish academicians to sing some of his “English Türkü” which they performed at the end of the seminar. They had so much fun together Nyofu got the idea of including other voices in his next project. He also decided to compose his own music for his next Turkish poet project.
Back in LA in 2006, he joined the Stefani Valadez Ensemble, who included some of his Turkish songs as a staple in their repertoire. He also formed a Turkish/Flamenco group “iST/West” with Guitarist Bobby Solakov, and began incorporating Flamenco influences into his composing and saz playing.
The journey of this album began in the fall of 2010 in Sivas, the folk poet heartland, with a concert at Cumhurriyet University together with guitar and bağlama professor Zekeriya Kaptan. Tracks were recorded in Izmir, Istanbul and Los Angeles during 2011 & 2012, with final mixing done in LA by Josef Blocker, Nyofu’s longtime friend and producer.
ABOUT THE POETS
Yunus Emre (ca. 1240–1321) was a Turkish poet and Sufi mystic. He has exercised immense influence on Turkish literature, from his own day until the present. He was one of the first known poets to have composed works in the spoken Turkish of his own age and region rather than in Persian or Arabic. His poems, written in the tradition of Anatolian folk poetry, mainly concern divine love as well as human destiny.
Pir Sultan Abdal (ca. 1480–1550) was a legendary Turkish Alevi poet from the province of Sivas, whose direct and clear language as well as the richness of his imagination and the beauty of his verses led him to become loved among the Turkish people. Pir Sultan Abdal reflected the social, cultural and religious life of the people; he was a humanist, and wrote about resistance, love, peace, death and God. He was also rebellious against authoritarian rule which led him into problems with the Ottoman establishment. His martyrdom is legendary.
Köroğlu (16th Century) Among Turkish Folk Poets, Köroğlu (Blindmanson)
is a symbol of the freedom fighter. His real name, and dates of birth and death are unkown, Köroğlu was a pen name, derived from a mythical bandit/freedom fighter hero.
Karacaoğlan lived in the 17th Century. His poems are about love, nature, separation and exile. He expressed his emotions and experiences in a realistic, free spirited style, with frequent references to nature.
Sabahattin Ali (February 25, 1907 – April 2, 1948) was a Turkish novelist, short-story writer, poet, and journalist.
Nâzım Hikmet Ran (15 January 1902 – 3 June 1963),[ commonly known as Nâzım Hikmet , was a Turkish poet, playwright, novelist and memoirist. He was acclaimed for the "lyrical flow of his statements". He was repeatedly arrested for his political beliefs and spent much of his adult life in prison. He died in exile in Moscow. His poetry has been translated into more than fifty languages.
Âşık Veysel Şatıroğlu (October 25, 1894 – March 21, 1973), also known as just Âşık Veysel, was a Turkish minstrel and highly regarded poet of the Turkish folk literature. He was born in the Sivrialan village of the Şarkışla district, Sivas Province. He was blind for most of his lifetime. He spent his early years mastering the traditional folk repertoire and began composing his own poems and songs in his forties. His rise to prominence occurred later in life, and he became a symbol of the Turkish Folk Minstrel/Ashik. His songs cover a wide range of themes based on morals, values, folk wisdom, mysticism, constant questioning on issues such as love, care, beliefs and how he "saw" the World as a blind man.
Nürsel Ertekin, of Denizli, is the living poet represented here. She is a Reiki practitioner and teacher, Anesthesiologist, poet, songwriter and former medal winning sprinter/athlete.
MINSTRELS & MYSTICS
AŞIKLAR VE OZANLAR
Nyofu Tyson Türk müzik sahnesi acısından hâlâ oldukça yeniydi ve farklı dillerde yorumlanan Türk folk parçalarıyla ilk tanıştığında dil öğrenmeye yeni başlıyordu. Birlikte çalıştığı tanınmış bir Türk şarkıcısı olan Ayla Algan Fransa’da yaşamıştı, birkaç dil biliyordu ve Türk Kültür Bakanlığı için Türk folk şarkılarının Fransızca ve İngilizcesinden oluşan bir albüm çıkartmıştı. Nyofu’nun onunla bas çaldığı bu ortak çalışmada Algan bu repertuarı söylüyordu.
Birkaç yıl sonra, İsveç’in Stockholm kentinde yaşarken, Zülfü Livaneli’yle işbirliği yapma fırsatını ele geçirmişti; o dönemler, Livaneli’nin, Türk müziğinde bir ikon olmadan önceki gelişim yıllarıydı. Nyofu Türk folk şiirlerini İngilizce olarak söyleme konusundaki ilk girişiminde bulunmuştu ve Livaneli de, birlikte yaptıkları şovlarda Nyofu’nun birkaç yapıtını dillendirerek onu teşvik ediyordu. Nyofu ilk Türk Folk Şarkıları derlemesini ―”The Friend”― 1981’de Stockholm’de kaydetti. 1992’yle 2003 arasında kaydetmiş olduğu şarkıları kapsayan ikinci derlemeyi ―”Timeless Songs”― 2004 yılında CDsini çıkardı.
Nyofu, 2005 yılında Türkiye’de yaşarken, Gazi Üniversitesi tarafından gerçekleştirilen ve bir grup Türk akademisyenine onun “İngilizce Türküleri”nden bazılarını söylemeyi öğrettiği ve seminerin sonunda da icra ettikleri İngilizce bir seminerde yer aldı. Birlikte o kadar güzel zaman geçirmişlerdi ki Nyofu’nun kafasında bir sonraki projesine başka sesler katma fikri oluşmuştu. Ayrıca bir sonraki çeviri takımında kendi müziğini bestelemeye de karar verdi.
2006 yılında Los Angeles’a döndüğünde, şarkılarından bazılarını repertuarlarının bir parçası haline getirmiş bulunan Stefani Valadez Ensemble’a katıldı. Ayrıca flemenko gitaristi Bobby Solakov’la “iST/West” adlı bir Türk/Flemenko grubu da kurup beste ve saz icrasıyla flemenko etkilerini bir araya getirmeye başladı.
Bu albümün yolculuğu, 2010 yılın son baharında, Halk Müziğinin gönül şehiri Sivas’ta, gitar ve bağlama profesörü Zekeriya Kaptan ile birlikte Cumhuriyet Üniversitesi’nde bir konserle başladı.
Parçalar ve icralar, 2011 ve 2012 yıllarında İzmir, İstanbul ve Los Angeles’te kaydedildi ve Nyofu’nun zamandır birlikte olan arkadaşı ve ortak yapımı üreticisi Joseph Blocker tarafından LA’de son miks yapıldı.
MINSTRELS & MYSTICS
AŞIKLAR VE OZANLAR
The Story of the Album