Monday morning

June 3, 2013



Wow, can’t believe I’ve been here a week today. It has been so intense in a way to forget about the time of day, purpose or meals or regular life. I have a hard time keeping track of the passing days. So for all you,  first and foremost, I am safe.  If you only see what’s on the news media you would think the whole city is a war zone but the hot zones are in very specific areas that can be avoided and the rest of the city, amazingly, goes on with much grace, even steps away from the conflict zones.

Istikal street, steps from the hotel, on Sunday afternoon

Istikal street, steps from the hotel, on Sunday afternoon

The days are punctuated with chanting from the demonstrators coursing Istikal street which leads directly to Taksim Square. The hotel’s door is about 500 feet from Istikal Street so we’re right next to the heart of things. Saturday and Sunday there was a massive amount of demonstrators. At one point they started beating on a metal fence surrounding a construction site next to the hotel.

the crowds on Istikal changed from tourists from around the world to Turkish people

the crowds on Istikal changed from tourists from around the world to Turkish people

There would be over a hundred people just beating on that fence, the din was incredible. I was practicing at the time and the sound of my instrument would just be drowned in the noise.  It is a strange thing to live inside this atmosphere, this vibe, the sound of the protest comes and goes in waves, voices, banging noises, quiet, chanting.  The sound of the chanting is particularly powerful down the streets of Istanbul, it resonates on the high buildings with such depth and it really impinges.  You can’t but feel affinity with these souls.

the wall of noise

the wall of noise

I feel admiration for the people of Turkey who are raising their voices against a government that has no intentions of  listening to them. The solidarity, determination that I see it in the faces of the young people running this hostel is something to behold and it inspires.  There is very much at stake, their futures, convictions, lives.  Freedom is never free and we, comfortable Canadians often forget that.


Regarding my lessons, I am not sure what is going to happen with my teacher. Communications being a bit difficult, sometimes I’m not sure I get what is really being said. I received messages from him that if I read between the lines seem to say that he will not teach me. I will let some time go by before I actually make a decision but I am starting to look around for other options. I realize that the way to find things and people here is all about word of mouth, you ask, then connections are made and things progress. The google search way of finding things doesn’t really work here! It’s all about people talking to people.

Last night I hung out at the Hostel’s cafe I brought down my guitar, I was just going to sit in a corner and noodle around but it ended up being a really nice half and half jam session and sharing session. There were two Iranians in the room, one of them a sitar player, who showed me some techniques on the bağlama. It is akin to what we call a “hammer on” but to describe it he said:



“It is like a cat… you touch the string as if you were caressing a cat”

That kind of paints quite a difference between the notion of playing guitar as a very ‘manly, macho’ endeavor and this  middle eastern approach to the instruments which is all in lightness and finesse. I had an inkling about that just by the way the saz is built.  The strings being so light, the distance between the strings and the body of the instrument does not allow for heavy beating and strumming or picking like a guitar does and like so many do. I had noticed at times that the instrument would sound nicer and better by picking it lightly but just in the right spot. This lightness allows me to move quicker, to even think faster as I am not so focused on working so hard to make a sound happen.

I reserved my room for another week at the hostel. I am debating where I should go next….  of if I should go…  Beyoglu is pretty amazing. I am a little leery of going away and finding myself isolated in an appartment where I might end up practicing and writing and missing the point of being here.  There are many contacts to be made at the hostel, there is much going on right around here. I have not even started to look at places where music is being played where I could maybe play myself and make musicians connections. I am not really used to this way of operating. I need to open up, leave shyness behind for curiosity and explore. It is very exciting.

I’m still thinking of the motorcycle, taking trips around but I will wait for the political scene to settle a bit before heading out. I hear the police has been incredibly brutal in Izmir, as the president calls the people of Izmir “Gavur” Infidels…. (he is very religious)

All right, I will stop here for now. I will have coffee with a local today at 3 PM and I am looking forward to that, he is from Beyoglu and I will be able to pester him with many questions! I got up before 7 AM today, I am glad, I really need to get out there and find my way towards my goals.

the Chill Out Hostel

the Chill Out Hostel

All my love.


2 Responses to “Monday morning”

  1. Erikakw Says:

    Dear Dani, as usual things are unfolding as they shaould and are 🙂 I am thankful that you are safe, well and acclimatizing to Istanbul. I love what you wrote:

    Its about people talking to people

    What a great opportunity you have been afforded in this trip

    I am experiencing wonders every day on the South Fraser Shores, this Steveston. My fantasy name for this magical place is Livandrea, where the Liger (Kiera) and Rhea Phoenix meet and journey together to discover their true identity. This is essentially, A Liger’s Tale. Which is my life story.

    Fear and desire, intermingled and lived fully in the here and now. I have so much to share. I am going to learn to play mandolin with new friends who are farmers and residents of Finn Slough. I am going to sing in a small youth ensamble and become acquinted again with my voice. I am very happy and excited about music, welding, farming, photography and having incredible encounters with birds and people….


  2. Hooman Says:

    Dear Danielle.
    Just want to say I play “Setar” not “Sitar”. That was a very nice night.

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