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Posted Sunday, September 7, 2008
Omar Faruk Tekbilek’s recent concert in Sydney was a testament to his wonderful sense of outward-looking musicality and spirituality. With a crack line-up of talented musicians, the flow of melody and rhythm was breathtaking, and the invitation of digeridoo player William Barton for the rousing finale added another dimension both musically and spiritually. To coincide with his Australian tour Tekbilek’s 2005 CD “Tree Of Patience” has been released in Australia.
The overall sound is a little more diverse than his usual, with a number of international guests, although even his regular ensemble is quite cosmopolitan. However the essential stirring sounds and rhythms from his Turkish roots that distinguish previous albums still provide the framework, so fans need not fear Tekbilek has strayed too far from the atmospheric Sufi-inspired grooves they have come to enjoy and expect. Except for one traditional number the core band has written all the tunes, and it drives the overall sound. Ara Dinkjian on oud, Brian Keane on guitar and synthesisers, Hasan Isakkut on kanun (zither) and percussionist extraordinaire Arto Tuncboyaciyan are back again, and they are sometimes augmented by a string ensemble, along with Flamenco singer Enrique Morente, accordionist Nabawy, keyboards whiz Steve Roach, Eric Weissberg on banjo, John Villa on didgeridoo and even a children’s choir.
You know you’re on to a good thing right from the opening track “Common Spirit”, where a lovely melody is announced by oud and guitar, soon to be accompanied by the ney (flute) and percussion. The tempo then steps up a little on “Elation”, driven along by rolling percussion, ney, oud and violin. And so on through a variety of moods, colours and foot-tapping rhythms. The Spanish-tinged Ole Aman is a delight.
Omar Faruk Tekbilek’s music is always elegant and fascinating, and this album demonstrates his willingness to be inclusive rather than exclusive in creating it.
Alif Records AR00011 (thru The Planet Company)