Looking at the past to reinvent the future

Looking at the past to reinvent the future

Musician Dodan’s new album ‘Þabûn’ has reach the shops. Dodan has bedecked most part of the album with anonymous and classic Kurdish melodies.

Young musician Dodan thinks that the ‘dengbej’ (story teller) is the touchstone of the Kurdish music. Expressing ‘I find rhythm’s reflections in the nature with dengbej.’, Dodan criticizes Kurdish singers because they don't pay enough attention to the dengbej.

‘Despite the dense music production in the heaviest years of the war, the same production density doesn’t diminish now’ says Dodan in our conversation about ‘Þabûn’ and Kurdish music.

*Firstly, where and how did you started with music and which atmosphere influenced your music?

-My interest in music started when I was in high school. The region, where I was born and grew up, had in fact a rich music culture. Some members in the family had good voices, they would sing songs for fun. My case was, however, a bit different from theirs. After high school, we put together an amateur band with friends in Ýzmir but my turning point in my music life started when I came to Istanbul.

With my coming to Istanbul, I started to think in a more professional way. It has been nearly 14-15 years now since I came here but I have always dwell on different voices and styles. I have been attentive to sing a sing of my album even now with different readings on each stage. So, I can’t say something exact about my music style.

I always look for differences. Besides my own songs, I gave place to recognised traditional Kurdish music. My restlessness with these songs was adding my own reading and style in them; that’s the way I tried to create my album. I wanted to move with these consideration to improve my field.

I have always had a high opinion of classic Kurdish music because we can find the life values and motifs of people there. However, we could neither digest the classic Kurdish music well nor adapt them to the new age in a meaningful way. Despite our wide musical savings, we somehow couldn’t get to the bottom of the Kurdish music. We have a small number of artists that work and present their creations in this sense due to the easy move in to the arabesque music.

When we look at the Kurdish music of present day, we can see that there are much significant works. I personally think that all music styles except from arabesque can have echoes in Kurdish music because arabesque music echoes aren’t sufficient to nourish the Kurdish culture, music and geography. So, why do we adopt the music of other cultures rather than present our own inter cultural dynamics? We must ask this question to ourselves. We must internalize well where and for what we make music.

*Is this concept and this style at the same time an update work for Kurdish music?

-I don’t have a much strict personality, I think you had better ask this question to same names that work through this field much more. I know what I am doing and what my music will serve for; this is the right thing for me. I had better say that I will now move with these thoughts and present all I can in the name of Kurdish music. Our interaction sites have become narrower recently. There is a production deficiency in this period, which is surely disturbing.

*It seems that Kurdish music lived a kind of 'recession' following the removal of the bans on it. Do you agree with it?

-In the period of heavy war and bans, Kurdish music also tried to adopt itself to the process and acquired significant gains. I also support politic jargon in music but in a more ironical and more philosophical way. When we take a look at the Kurdish music today, we can see a range of different music styles like hip hop and metal music. Now, the most significant point is to bring a certain standard to Kurdish music. We are trying to be the language and energy of a culture. We mustn’t ignore global criteria in this sense.

I don’t find it true to make music only for Kurdish people because they are already in the consumption phase. We must open our music also to those unfamiliar with Kurdish music. This will also ensure continuity for the production pf Kurdish music.

*Which ties does ‘dengbej’ have with your music?

-I must forthrightly make this confession; in fact dengbej created me; their wandering, their handling the issues of many sides and their creating... we must really understand how they handle happiness and sadness. The main point is to interiorize the pains and happiness in them completely. I find rhythm’s reflections in the nature with dengbej because this a really natural work. In my opinion, they must be understood better today. Dengbejs made something out of nothing in Kurdish culture and music. The dengbej culture must be hold the dengbej culture in high esteem and keep it alive.

*Why aren’t there competence workings for our dengbej culture like Melaye Cizri or other dengbejs?

-We have a serious mental confusion that we must get rid of. It is not enough to rummage around only for albums. Necessary are also buildings and libraries for our music.

*Why couldn’t the Kurdish music adapted to the necessities of the new age?

-I must firstly express that I don’t find it true to imprison yourself in the fields that are determined by someone else. We must be aware that we are artists and we perform art. We mustn’t be shaped by processes. If we perform art, we must shape the process with the art we perform. For example, there was an extensive production at the war time. After the war period, we all felt ourselves completely naked. The reason is as I have just expressed and tried to mention; we will have a big success if we internalize their existential reality. We are not able to perceive the soul of dengbej.

*Where does the Kurdish music take place in the world music to your way of thinking?

-The world is talking about a few names under the Kurdish music just like Þivan Perwer, Ciwan Haco or Aynur Doðan. If this list has only three names, this means; its place in the world music is not good. We must regenerate ourselves by turning back to our origin. Unless this situation changes, not many things will change, I think.

*Let’s talk about your album ‘Þabun’. Who did you work with, how was your preparation?

-Our album preparation lasted nearly a year. We worked with Cem Yýldýz together. In general, we tried to give place to ethnic items. My first and second album were much different from each other, and the third one will also be different. I am now planning to give concerts to make the album known. I believe that we will establish a different mutual relation with the auditors.

Translator: Berna Ozgencil