Sometimes I am really grateful that I have a profession that takes me around. I end up in places that find me through concerts. This was confirmed one more time back in June when I headed for Sebinkarahisar. A town that is situated between the black sea region and the inner Anatolia, this is a gem.
It was almost mid June when I went to Sebinkarahisar with my Elisi project, accompanied by my musical friends Bora, Meric, Mehmet and Volkan to perform a concert in the context of a fashion show. Yes, a fashion show to introduce the revival of a special traditional fabric once produced in Sebinkarahisar, namely a neighborhood of it, a little village of Armenian citizens, Tamzara.
The fabric takes its name after the village. The weaving has nearly become obsolete. But Sebinkarahisar district governor, Murat Çağrı Erdinç-a man for whom I have a huge admiration-has been working hard to revive it. It was also his idea to have our Elisi project (Elisi means Handcraft in Turkish and this is the title of my project with Meric where we re-interpret türküs with off the beaten-track ideas) perform within this context. Of course, it was a great match, and thanks to Mr Erdinc!
I was able to see some old tamzara fabric which was used in Ottoman Turkey for various purposes. One of them is that street sellers of fruit and juices and a variety of other professional used this colorful fabric as aprons or fabric to cover their stalls. Imagine that if you were a watermellon seller, you had a specific pattern and colors then if you sold apples. I love details like this. They seem to be a thing of the past, but as we know it is never too late nor too early for anything in life.
Sebinkarahisar is two hours drive from any city. It is pastures, slopes, rocks, and offers a truly enchanted and at the same time dramatic scenery. On the way to the town it is green everywhere, as far as the eye can see. Once in town, there is so much peace and everywhere one catches glimpses of a past, not so distant when the town must have been livelier, but a serenity and a sense of deep roots still prevails. Armenian citizens are no longer there but traces of cosmopolite culture typical of most Anatolia greets the traveler at every corner. I fell in love with the landscape and the kindness of its inhabitants.
Heartfelt thanks to district governor Mr Erdinc and our friendly guide: Mr Metin Akpınar throughout the three days spent there.