Now is Galata, now is

November 26, 2013

The birds twirl around and around Galata Tower, it’s like a dance… maybe they are dizzying themselves, maybe they are Sufi birds who are doing a Sema up there, whirling in a birdly way.

A dog is curled down on the stones his nose on his tail, eyes closed, then darting open when someone walks closely, he is beige and black, his forelegs tucked under his chest.

The cute cafe cat just jumped on a chair, flirting her way into caresses and hopefully food.

The sky is gray, in Istanbul, as soon as the cold started to be, most started to wear black. Black looks good against the cobble stones, the old buildings the worn paint, like moving accents in a moving picture.

I’ve been getting gifts lately… Free coffee, unexpectedly, the boys at the cafe refused my money. The next day I was given a jar of chocolate spread, Nutella style from the other waiter there.. a few days earlier, the girl at this other place I go to charged me half the price… dunno why, but I appreciated that.

There are 10 scooters, bikes, lined up in front of the tower. I feel a rhythm, there is a pulse in these thousands of bodies walking in different directions, living seemingly separated lives… maybe that is why we don’t all collide into one another… vectors. Or threads. Big fabric.

I am tired. But I am good. My shoulder hurts quite a bit, I made the mistake of using that shoulder bag… it does something nasty to my neck… but I am good.

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I got news from home, letters are coming in; renewals, reminders of a life that seems so far away. Yesterday again I was talking with a friend and the fact is that I really don’t know what it is I will do. I think it cannot matter now. It’s all OK. Our western minds always want, demand, need to know “what next? What next??? It does not matter what next. What now? Is the question that is. Now, now, now.

I played Karakedi on Sunday. First time in maybe 6 weeks that I played with Eren. What happened told me I was on the right path. What I mean is that I started to sing things I never sang before, my friend Maryam said : “it was middle eastern sounding” My voice, on it’s own, created new sounds and melodies. So that means I am learning something.

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Another thing is happening; I am starting to “flow” again, something I used to do so much, ask Melonai! I would start playing a song on the guitar, then I could just invent lyrics on the fly… Well I had seemingly lost that ability… for a while I could not do this anymore… it’s back… and I am very glad about that. It’s a kind of free falling flight that I just love…

What else, well, I am starting to see and accept what it is I will do with the baglama… and it will be what I always end up doing… my own thing, in my own voice… I met with my teacher last week. We sat and he played and the same thing happened; first I am mesmerized, then he shows me more and more and then I’m overwhelmed because I cannot duplicate everything, and he then shows me more and I start “trying” then I crash and burn in a pile of frustration… I have been thinking this but now I proclaim it: I don’t want lessons. I want to listen, see, absorb, then I will create something out of it. That is what I do… I could not become a “classical guitarist” I could not become a “jazz guitarist” I could not be a “rock guitarist” I could always only be me. It’s a narrow little slice of the music pie, but I can do that well and it is the only thing I can really do well. So I’ll do that.

Oh and yeah… When I played last Friday, it was pretty epic. I had a huge, loving crowd and the performer in me just flourishes… my friend Huseyin said to me : “Why are you shy? You should not be shy on stage.” he explained to me something that I knew but didn’t quite see the way he did. It is the way I have this sideways, apologetic stance, it is a thing of not owning up to what I do, what I am in a sort of false humility. His words were true. Turks have a way of observing and telling things as they are. And they do it with full honesty and without any buttering or sweetening. They have this knack of observing correctly. Then they tell you. I learned to listen to their words. So when I played Sunday I thought : lets not have any subtext of false humility, of fear or lack of confidence come into the performance. What followed, well, it was me being there, powerful, playful, in command…

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So, I am learning, or maybe it is “unlearning”

I put myself in this absolute unknown, in this world that is in some aspects the absolute opposite of what I knew. Where I am a beginner, where I cannot communicate; me who is a communication addict… I see more and more how time will imprint all this newness and how that will come out in creation. Out of the safety of the known, into the unexpected, the unpredictable, you get to really see how you are at the core. Interesting voyage… and it goes on…

Love ya.

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3 Responses to “Now is Galata, now is”


  1. Freakin’ AWESOME post, D! It’s paints such a beautiful picture. And it reminds me of the very end of the movie “Higher Learning”. Before the credits, a word appears on the screen: “UNLEARN”.

    Peace,

    Seraphim Robinson

  2. Danielle Liard Says:

    Well, I’m a firm believer in the saying ‘if you got it, flaunt it!’. So go ahead and flaunt it!

    Funny thought came to me about your ‘learning’ the saz. If I remember correctly, you told me Geneviève P was a big influence in you doing guitar. She in her own turn was very much influenced by Joni Mitchell for her career choice. I think you have indirectly inherited some of Joni’s quirky guitar. She is known for doing strange tunings of her guitar.

    Anyways, when learning something new, there are always gradients, and if they are skipped, then you don’t wind up learning them. Sounds like there’s been some skipped by your teacher.

    Keep on keeping on!

    Much love

    Danielle

  3. connie pryor Says:

    Great pics good blog! Seems your settled in & happy that’s great. And the people giving you things, when you treat other people right they treat you right except for maybe a few. Your good personality is being returned to you. Your beautiful on the inside & out. You treat people right & they will return it back no matter where you are. Love ya safe travels!!


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