wonders at Atölye Kuledibi

October 6, 2014

It’s almost too good to be true. But it is… unless I’m dreaming. How weird it would be to wake up suddenly and be in a Canadian life, home, bed and sheets… all of this a dream… But no,I’m really here in İstanbul. The music just kept rolling, swinging, swelling, shivering, hollering. I am sandwiched between to master musicians. A cellist and a percusionist playing darbuka.

We played two great sets at Atöye Kuledibi last night. It was like the slow heavy unstopppable lift of a zeppelin, a gentle victory over gravity. All faces turned towards the three of us. I had come to the gig with a discombobulated state of mind, frail and frazzled and I kept telling myself that I could not fuck anything up, because these guys were here with me. The minute my voice rose, all the static electricity of my physical and emotional state vanished to make way for a bigger sort of thing. An “electronicity” a sort of large flow that engulfed us all.


the place was filled to the rafters, all seats taken, it’s a first, never seen it like this before. In the music industry they have a term: “a buzz” they like an artist that can create “a buzz”. Since I play with Barış, there is that thing, that “buzz” growing. And last night with Volga the buzz got to grow even bigger. People show up. Want to come, come back. I am showered with compliments, a Canadian audience member called me the “new Joni Mitchell” Volga called me the song god. Barış said there was no difference between me an Aşik Veysel (two very large compliments) Mario said I play the best music he’s heard in his life.. and it goes on and it’s strange and I don’t believe it because when you start believing in this shit, you start losing your way. I’m nobody. I just channeled the right inspiration to pick the right song at the right moment and played it. Songs have their time to shine. You pick the right one and you are a magician. Everyone loves you. You pick the wrong one and everyone is face down in their smart phones pondering the next move.


Tonight I walk in the dark night. Istanbul is busting at the seams with visitors. It’s Bayram. The equivalent of Christmas for a westerner. Every boy that could get in a car and run away from the villages is here. You can tell by their get ups. The acid washed jeans, usually new, the short bomber jacket a half sheared half longish hair cut and hunger in the eyes. They are lean, short, they hang in groups, sitting or walking around. Then there are the tourists, many very drunk, the families from all over the world, so many arabs, there is so much perfume in the air, it’s sickening. They all came to the big city for the weekend.

I slalom amongst them and escape to my quiet spot. It overlooks the Haliç. Below, on Tarlabası boulevard, the cars race up and down incessantly. I sit down. There is no one around. This is likely the only place where there is no one around. Especially this weekend. Here I have the chance to breathe, cry if I need to, or just sit and let all the feelings, thoughts and emotions, fears, hopes and wishes wash off of me, or at least just be still for a moment, just there with no one in front of whom to pretend all is well.

So I sit.

The headlights from the car make fake fireflies running diagonally off of the metal fence, play of light. In the distance there are so many mosques. Silent now. So many lives around here. So many stories. I am unimportant. It’s good to remember that. Puts things in perspective. I am but a cell in the organism.

I got up.

Walked down the street next to this park. A few months ago that street, these walls had witnessed some blissful bits of my life. As I now walk on the same street I can imagine those times, moments, as holograms, like translucent movies; me walking in the sun in this very spot, laughing, yes I was laughing blessed with an immense happiness, fulfillment in the midst of serious people rushing to work on a weekday morning, I remember the smell on my hands, the lightness of my steps and how aware I was that I must absolutely live, feel, enjoy every micro second of that moment as it was so special, so amazing. Right now it’s a dark night, there is no one around but a scrawny white an black kitten skittering away in fear and me and these holographic memories to shine on this silent lonesome night.


Volga last night talked about the power of the unseen. How he gets anything he asks for… he told the hilarious story of asking for a specific girl, he said: I had been having girlfriends but they always lived far from my home, I always had to travel a long ways.. and they always were in to humanities, I am a math guy… so I asked for a girl who would look like a model, named Olga because my name is Volga and that would be funny, she would be into math and live close to where I live… so a bit later, he was sitting in a bar when a woman came and asked if she could put her purse on his chair. She was tall and gorgeous, model like, “everyone was looking at her” her name was Olga, and she was a math teacher living in the city his parents lived, two blocks away from their house… we laughed and laughed.

Yeah. It made me thing of wanting. That concept. What I want, it seems often that it is not organic. It is a sort of desperate reach. I have been practicing enjoying and be grateful for what appears in my life and not want or ask for anything. Much magic has taken place this way. But I thought that maybe, just maybe… there are things I am entitled to want?


Los Angeles. 10 days before I find myself in LA. It feels unreal. wild. I have no idea how I will achieve any of what I will need to achieve when I get there. By the way, I’ll need to find homes for a bunch of my stone sculptures… you want one? I will gladly let it go to your home.. or maybe I should go to the closest marina and give them away as free anchors. Or drop them in the desert and make a shrine to the wind so he can in time reduce them all to dust.

The bike… my Arkadaş I hope I can ride. I started to research who would sell me insurance for 5 weeks? Ontario has this weird thing… you can only ride about 4 months out of the year but they sell you this policy for the 12 months, ride or not… it’s expensive… I’ll have to make calls this week. See what is what. I hope I can ride. I think I need to ride.

My friends… will they still be there? or have I been gone too long? people start to resent you when you leave them the grief changes to indifference. To blot the hurt of your leaving they start to actively forget you. Push you away. I leave and leave and leave… so I end up forgotten. I know this now. I understand it.



One Response to “wonders at Atölye Kuledibi”

  1. Francoise Says:

    Tu as une voix magnifique et envoutante. Ça ne. M’étonne pas de la réaction des gens. Puis même si je suis silencieuse bien des fois… Je te lis, je parcours tes mots, phrases, ta vie la bas. Je ne t’oublie pas. Nous serons tjrs amies. Bisous ma belle

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