Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Turkish percussionists drum up excitement, raising money for Typhoon Morakot victims

By Nancy T. Lu
Exotic Middle Eastern music filled the lobby of the Taipei International Building at noontime on Wednesday. A Turkish percussion ensemble going by the name of Ritim Art struck an exciting beat in the office building, making people stop and watch. Not long after, many found it irresistible to sway to the music or tap their feet to the rhythm. A Taiwanese belly dancer even got into the act at one point.

The Turkish Trade Office, one of the many de facto embassies housed in the building, arranged to have the five visiting percussionists from Istanbul fan some excitement through their showmanship. An appeal to the generosity of the crowd was made. The event was planned on short notice as a charity concert to benefit victims of Typhoon Morakot.

The office workers having their lunch break showed curiosity over the musical instruments. They quickly bought all the CDs of the group on sale.

A very young percussionist brought the program to a high with his darbuka drumming. He even engaged an older member of the ensemble in a hot and playful percussive dialogue.

The bendir in Turkish hands helped transport the audience to an imaginary Anatolian setting. The Turkish hand drum called davul also took the spotlight more than once. The qanun string instrument or zither also lent itself beautifully to the Turkish airs. The time came, too, for the Turkish lute guitar called baglama to entertain the gathered audience.

The performers even gave a Turkish-style rendition of the familiar Taiwanese song, “Tiu Tiu Tang.”

Ritim Art will head for Yilan to participate in an international festival there, according to the Turkish Trade Office (tel. 02-27577318).

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