sittin’ at the cafe

October 23, 2013

I saw the movement of the leg, and tears came, emotion welled. A kind of an hyper sensitivity to life’s beauty.

I am walking amazed. Amazed at everything around me. From the light to the faces, to the dance of bodies, depth of an angle, texture on a door or a wall… We easily dramatize everything we do, think, every theory we adopt, is it just me or is it truth’s face?


The dog sleeps in his usual spot. I speak to him quietly, approach and caress his head. I think he knows me by now. I call him “my” dog, like I call Galata Tower “my tower”. Here you can own everything and let everything be free. A paradox. A kind of oneness I’ve not felt quite that way before. Could be the evolution of my mind or maybe it is this place.

Istanbul. Would I feel this way somewhere else?

"my Istanbul dogs"

“my Istanbul dogs”


The juxtaposition of the glorious and the abandoned. The splendor and decrepitude. Glory dies very slowly, its beauty in constant evolution, mutation, like the accumulation of dirt on a arch that underlines the expression of the curve, I believe it is worth building beautiful things, they will speak for eons to come. What is artless remains artless. What is made with passion remains passionate.

Street musicians on Galip Dede

Street musicians on Galip Dede

This place was built with passion. Its people are passionate. I deeply resonate with “passionate”.

The temperatures are cooling down. I can see how cold it will get. The Bosphorus wrapping us all with humidity will chill us to the bones mercilessly. I’ll need a few more layers than I own now. Strangely, I am not fearing winter this time. Maybe it’s because of the hammer like heat that has been pounding me since July but I am actually looking forward to experiencing this Istanbul winter.


How am I doing? You ask. Yeah, the posts have been sparse, I am very well. I started to work at Chillout a couple of weeks ago, right after I came back from Konya and Kapadokya. The place was understaffed and I offered to help for October. So back at the hostel I am and it has been really great. Travelers… I love travelers. Their openness, eagerness, all the experiences they live and share. Like Alessandro, the young man who is blind and who is traveling the world alone. He’s done 30 some countries so far and plans to go around the world. Like Zal, the musician playing the Chapman Stick, a composite instrument of guitar and bass, like, like, like… It is good to be working, to be helping, to be part of something.


One sad thing was and is the demise of Kara Kedi. That place had become home, with many friends and with music. They were shut down unexpectedly when the owners of the building shut them down earlier than planned because they are demolishing the building to build yet another hotel on Istiklal.

I found myself wandering the streets at night in search of the warmth that was there… So I have no music gig at the moment. I played the street last week end and plan to do it again this week, my friend Sam the percussionist is back in town for 10 days, so we’ll make a go of it while he is there.


And the bağlama studies you ask? Well, I am at a strange point. It seemed I played better months ago… right now it just seems that I cannot sound good on it. To be honest, I am embarrassed to play because there are so many great players around who KNOW this music and I just sound like a hack. I’m not sure at all how to approach it intellectually. The music is so deeply culturally based and I am so deeply culturally ignorant of it. Those who are supportive say that I have the “emotion” required to do it but when I am with musicians I get extremely self-conscious.

Maybe it is a phase and I will grow out of it. I figure that I need to hang out with musicians but that has been elusive. I have not yet found my way inside circles,feeling forever an outsider, and yes, I am very aware that this is mostly my own mind putting up these walls… it is a challenge

But there has been musical blessings, like meeting Zal and playing with him. He plays the Chapman Stick, something I had never seen before. a mix of guitar and bass all on one neck. We very much connected musically, played at Chillout two nights then on the street. We had long conversations and I was really sad to see him leave Istanbul… he will be back and I am looking forward to that.

Zal playing the Chapman Stick

Zal playing the Chapman Stick

Jam at Chillout

Jam at Chillout

Sam, Zal and myself

Sam, Zal and myself

On top of that Sam my drummer friend from way back in June, came back to Istanbul and he joined us at Chillout and on the street. So that has been very fulfilling musically.

Well, gotta go. Hugs all around.


2 Responses to “sittin’ at the cafe”

  1. kymberlin Says:

    Ohh, Danielle! So good to ‘hear’ your voice. I relate so much to everything you are saying- from glory to being a part of something to feeling outside of the circle. And the travellers! They are indeed the most energizing group of people I’ve ever met. Hanging out at the hostels, it’s like a constant mixer! I’ve met so many new people and they all are so genuine, generous, eager to make connections. I love this life. I love the beauty of the simple things, as you say, such as the way one person moves. The way the breath, play their music, look at one another.
    The guitar has been a blessing- it attracts everyone! I can’t wait to see you. I’m hoping to come to Turkey soon… a few months from now. I hope to see you, to stay with you or at least nearby for a while!

  2. connie pryor Says:

    Great pics & good to hear from you again. Travel safely. Miss your music!!!!

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