Saturday, 13 June 2015

Hackney Downs set to host 5th Alevi Festival this Sunday

Özlem Taner will perform traditional and contemporary Anatolian Blues

This Sunday the UK’s Alevi community will again bring its unique sights and sounds to Hackney as part of its annual cultural celebration. Masters of Anatolian Folk music will provide a rich tapestry of sounds that are inspired by Alevi spirituality and culture. There’s also folk dancing, children’s activities and a delicious selection of Turkish street food.

Headlining this year’s festival is Ezginin Günlüğü – an indie Turkish folk band whose contemporary rhythms are steeped in Anatolian’s traditional music. First formed in Istanbul in 1982, the band dissolved in 1990 before being reformed with new members, which hit the Turkish mainstream with their 1995 release Oyun (Game).

Other visiting artists from Turkey are Anatolian rocker Oğuz Boran, and producer, composer and singer Seyfi Yerlikaya, whose name has become synonymous with Türk Halk (Turkish Folk) and Özgün (protest) music.

Also on Sunday’s line-up is Gaziantep’s Özlem Taner, a singer and musician of Turkmen origin who is best known for her contemporary renditions of Türkü (Turkish Blues) music. Part of the internationally-respected Kalan roster of artists, her 2007 release Türkmen Kızı (Turkmen Girl) made international waves for its beautiful harmonic bridge between not only traditional and contemporary Anatolian Folk music, but also Turkey’s diverse ethnic and spiritual communities.

The festival is organised by the UK Alevi Federation, which represents twelve Alevi cultural centres and cemevis (religious buildings) across Britain: in London, Glasgow, Coventry, South London, Croydon, Harrow, Bournemouth, Nottingham, Doncaster, Hull, Sheffield and Edinburgh.

It is estimated that one in five people from Turkey are Alevis – the country’s second biggest faith group. This mystical branch of Islam includes beliefs and rituals that pre-date the religion. Unlike other Muslims, men and women worship together in the cemevi, and music and dance play a central role in their faith.

Festival date: Sunday 14 June 2015
Starts: midday
Address:  Hackney Downs Park, Downs Park Road, London E5 8NP
Entrance: £2 (adults)
More Info: UK Alevi Federation

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