My current project, Tanbur, is a prime example of how the values for my artistic projects lead to a unique vehicle for new music. The mizraplı (plucked) tanbur is a singular instrument that gives visual insight into how the Turkish makam system works, but is extremely challenging to play, very reactive to weather changes, quite fragile, and has a delicate sound that can easily be overshadowed by other instruments. For these reasons, until now it has not been used outside of the Ottoman art music tradition and is rarely heard in the U.S. However I believe the expressive, inimitable sound of this instrument should be heard and explored. In the first stage of this project, I built a tanbur using simple tools and traditional methods under the tutelage of, to my knowledge, the only current U.S. based tanbur luthier, Feridun Özgoren, and ethnomusicologist Frederick Stubbs. Since completing the instrument, I have been developing new works that highlight the uniqueness of this instrument, drawing inspiration from both Ottoman and other Eastern modal traditions. The final stage will be to record and perform these new works for audiences in the Greater Boston area and beyond.
Similarly inspired future projects will focus on Anatolian folk music and the Afghan robab. Through these projects I hope to expand my contributions to living music traditions.