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Aynur sings in a language that seems to belong to the Indo-Iranian tree which, combined with the title Keçe Kurdan | Kurdish Girl, probably indicates Kurdish. The liner notes will settle this conclusively if you read Turkish or Kurdish. Stylistically, the globetrotting music lover unfamiliar with the Kurdish aural vernacular would peg her music as reminiscent of Yulduz Usmanova, Mokhira, Sevara Nazarkhan, Irina Mikhailova's Lumin projects and select Sezen Aksu numbers. Which is to say, somewhere in the general vicinity of Samarkand, Ashkabad or Tashkent - a mixture of Eastern Turkish with Mongolian influences. It also places you squarely on the ethnic side of Usmanova's EthnoPop, with a heavy emphasis on large and low frame and mehter drums and a fair smattering of zurna, qanun, Middle-Eastern lutes and banjo like the baglama, oud and cümbüş, shepherd's flute, ney and klarnet, with real strings and synthesized variants compliments of Oberheim keyboards.

The closest familiar precedent published in the West is the previously reviewed and awarded Yol Bolsin on Peter Gabriel's worldmusic label RealWorld [7243 543206 2 0]. Its subtle Techno/Ambient cues by Hector Zazou find themselves mirrored in Keçe Kurdan's tasteful synth drones and accents which never intrude to spoil the illusion of stark tribal mountain music that assumes martial or exorcising intensity on certain tracks. Add powerful drum loops and you'd be forgiven for occasional visions of valkyries hovering above soon-to-be-battlefields, infusing courage, loyalty and patriotism into the phalanx of charged home turf warriors. Of course the lyrics could completely annihilate this scenery but such is the projecting force of this music regardless.

Unlike Sevara's smaller voice which is in perfect keeping with Yol Bolsin's setting of a traditional steppe girl singing to self-accompanied lute inside a yurt, Aynur's pipes are far more wild and powerful. Keçe Kurdan is thus bolder in scope, more hackle-raising than romanticizing material - but it's equally compelling and magical like the best of modern soundtracks by Horner or Zimmer. Keçe Kurdan is neo-tribal like Lisa Gerrard's solo and Dead Can Dance work but solidly anchored in Anatolian highlands' tradition, not completely fictitious and made up in a recording studio. The modern ambience is clearly not traditional yet so craftily interwoven and always undercurrent rather than main attraction that the musical message becomes all the more moving and potent for it.

Thanks to this riveting discovery go to Tash Goka of Divergent Technologies who let me take his personal copy from HE2004 back to Taos. He apparently had picked it up two months prior during his last visit to the Turkish home land. At 55:13 minutes and 11 tracks, this is a generously proportioned album in all aspects and a must-own for all devotees of the female non-Western voice set center stage within immaculately groomed soundfields. My favorite truly exotic discovery of the last quarter!