Ab-ı Hayat (Water of Life)
My twelfth album is all about purification and relaxation. Erected upon the order of Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent for his wife Hürrem Sultan, the Ayasofya Hürrem Sultan Hamam (traditional Turkish bath) is one of the most brilliant masterpieces built by the great master architect Sinan in the 16th century, and is the biggest among thousands of baths. I was commissioned to create relaxation music for the bathers. As I enjoy the hamam tradition myself, my imagination ran loose and I was joined by my usual partner, Bora Uymaz for this exquisite experience.
Music and water have formally been used by our ancestors for therapeutic purposes, offering remedy to the troubled and cure to the ill. In the album, the otherworldly vibrations of the çeng, a medieval Ottoman harp, and my Starfish lever harp are accompanied by Bora’s compositions, my own, his singing, his tanbur, lavta and bendir playing. Clarinett, ney, classical kemençe are guest instruments.
We attempted to offer our own vision of what relaxation music can be, filtered through the aethetics of Ottoman music, with old and new ideas stylized to soothe the listener. We found great inspiration both in the building and the hamam tradition. The music consists of new and special compositions, early works and improvisations and was recorded by incorporating the natural sounds of the hamam such as the running and splashing of water, the bowls used in the bathing ritual, the sound and the heavy doors isolating the different sections of the edifice and more…