Drinking from the Fountains of History

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At the Siong Leng Association, Singapore, dedicated to Nanyin music

April was plenty of travelling for work. From Asian Turkey, travelling further southeast to Singapore and then north to Beijing, this was all my cup of tea (!) as my parents spent a good number of years in Indonesia in the 80’s, so did I. I keep wonderful memories. This is like drinking from fountains of history for me. Sadly, when we I go on tour, there is little time to visit. But lots of time to make observations in a tight work schedule which took me from concerts to presentations, from teaching to holding meetings for future collaboration…here and there a gastronomic visit, a historical site and time flies.

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Masterclass at NAFA University, Singapore

The first stop was two concerts and a presentation at Singapore’s Esplanade, this wonderful cultural center in the shape of a durian fruit! At NAFA University I met with wonderful harp students and we held a masterclass. There, with members of the Simdi Ensemble we also gave a presentation about Turkish Military Music and its influence in European music. And last, I spent a whole day with the amazing people at Siong Leng Association, a group dedicated to the cause of Nanyin music. Played for them, played with them, had a most delicious Thai lunch and started talking about future work together.

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With Ambassador Mr Taner Seben after the first Esplanade concert, Singapore

I also met with dear friends in Singapore. Ambassador of Turkey, Mr Taner Seben and his wife Binnur Hanım hosted an amazing dinner on the occasion of our visit…my wonderful friend Angeline Peh-Yue took good care of me as always. Last but not least, Indiana University Singapore chapter president Philip Chua gathered IU alums around a wonderful Peranakan dinner and took us around the city. Thank you all! I had a great time.

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The most prestigious music education institute in China, the CCOM (Central Conservatory of Music)

Flying to Beijing was full excitement following this memorable time in Singapore. This was my first time in China. We were invited at the impressive Central Conservatory of Music, namely the Intangible Cultural Heritage Research and Conservation Center led by Prof Zhang Boyu for a concert, presentation and meetings.

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From left to right, Prof Zhang, Bora, Prof Lingjian, yours truly, Prof. Liu and Mehmet

We were so well received, with such a great level of interest in the music we presented. This wonderful connection Turkey has with China is by way of the Silk Road where so many elements of music travelled back and forth.  We were so happy that the Conservatory was represented with the traditional music division, with so many of professors and students attending our concert and presentation.

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Nothing gets wasted in a duck cooked the Beijing way, a dream of a dish, a culinary genious.

There was little time to visit Beijing. But an escapade to the Forbidden City and a few to a local restuarant with the best Duck Pekinois turned out to be experiences for a lifetime. I just can not wait to be back in China and receive all our new musical partners back home in Turkey in the near future.

And to conclude this short report I am sharing some pipa playing, Prof Zhang Hongyan from the CCOM. It is an amazing instrument and truly fantastic performance. Enjoy!

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