The areas of Edremit and Mt Ida (Kaz Dağı) in northwest Turkey are famous for their beaches, fountains (which got Homer’s seal of approval), their game and especially their flora (see Cornucopia 26 for an account by the botanist Martyn Rix on the forests and alpine flowers that are unique to these parts). But this charming region – a village in Edremit called Güre, to be precise – is also getting a dose of rhythm this summer.
It was reported last week that the master of the darbuka drum, Mısırlı Ahmet (above), has brought his Rhythm Dance Camp to Güre for a two-week workshop (it started on July 27 and will end on August 12). Seventeen participants from Japan, Colombia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Germany, Belgium, Austria and Lebanon will attend classes on rhythm, darbuka/deholla, the ney (a Middle Eastern flute), drama, Anatolian dance, Azeri dance, Latin dance, flamenco, Oriental dance and… yoga. Ahmet has spent time in Spain working with flamenco artists, which explains the deviation in that direction, but the addition of yoga is less obvious. However, this is after all a wilderness camp, so perhaps it comes with the territory.
The darbuka drum, known as the goblet drum in English, is a traditional Middle Eastern instrument dating back to 1100BC. It is held under the arm or resting on the leg, and played with a much lighter touch and significantly different strokes (sometimes including rolls or quick rhythms articulated with the fingertips) from other hand drums, such as the bendir. Mısırlı Ahmet is a renowned as a virtuoso darbuka player – he has lived in a desert-locked village in Cairo and been taught by the Egyptian masters. His belief in the ‘rediscovery of rhythm’ propelled him to open the Galata Rhythm School in 2007, and every summer since then he has organised rhythm/art camps in various regions of Turkey.