This season at New England Conservatory, 30+ concerts demonstrate just how vital music is to human struggle, and what revolution in artistic expression sounds like. Programs range from roots music to Beethoven, fight songs to anti-war anthems. Join our year-long exploration of how music speaks truth to power!

Dün gece seyrim içinde/Last night I dreamt of...: Turkish Songs of Protest

Robert Labaree and Dünya Ensemble perform music based on Ottoman poetry from the 16th century to the present.

Men and women in the Ottoman region from the 16th century to the present question political and religious authority and object to accepted traditions, offering alternative visions of power, race, sexuality and belief.


The Dünya Ensemble
Borcu Güleç, voice
Beth Bahia Cohen, bowed tanbur/violin  
Robert Labaree, çeng
George Lernis, percussion
Mehmet Ali Sanlıkol, voice/ud/ney/saz

The title is a line from a famous song by the Sufi poet, Pir Sultan Abdal, who was hanged by the Ottoman authorities in 1550 both for speaking out against imperial authority and for blasphemy. But the inspiration for this program actually starts closer to home, in the spring and summer of 2013, when the streets of Turkish cities were filled with millions of people objecting to the exercise of power by the current, democratically elected government. 

Five musicians of the Dünya Ensemble on vocals and a wide range of traditional instruments offer a lively and varied program: classical compositions of the palace, blunt women's complaints from the countryside, songs which mingle the religious and the secular, songs which express longing and intimacy across ethnic and religious boundaries, "blasphemous" (and therefore politically incendiary) songs by heterodox Sufis, songs of unconventional love, Turkish songs notated and sung in Greek, and Jewish devotional texts set to Turkish Sufi melodies. This is public and private music, for entertainment, contemplation and devotion, expressing explicit border-crossings that defy official or societal norms: “protest music”, in the largest sense. 

Date: March 27, 2014 - 8:00:PM
Price: Free
Location: NEC’s Jordan Hall

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