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Monday, September 06, 2004

Tarkan at Berlin Festival

Tarkan Simdi/Now Festival PosterBerlin recently played host to Şimdi/Now, Germany's largest ever festival of Turkish culture featuring over 50 events ranging from classical music to video installations and experimental club sounds.

This Turkish festival took place at 20 venues across Germany's capital, featuring concerts, exhibitions, theatre, dance performances, comedy shows, readings and films.

Over nine days the varied programme aimed to present an insight into one of Europe's most dynamic cultures. Turkish musician , who scored high in the German music charts, performed at the Arena (4 September), Sertab Erener - winner of the Grand-Prix 2003 (Eurovision) - and Sezen Aksu, performed at the Tempodrom (29 August).

A Culture that spans centuries
The sheer wealth of talent that's blossomed on the Bosphorus in recent years is finally getting the platform it deserves.

For centuries, Turkish culture has been acknowledged as a melting pot that amalgamates Eastern and Western cultures, ideas and philosophies. This inherent creative synergy is reflected in Turkey's traditions and finds its expression as innovative impulses that define the overall character of the festival's programme - ranging from classical to pop, from traditional to world music, with art from both the Ottoman and contemporary eras reflecting the wealth of Turkey's past and its dynamic, modern life today.

From classical to pop music, stand-up comedy to contemporary dance and traditional to modern art, the distinguishing feature of today's Turkish culture has always been its inspirational juxtaposition of western and eastern influences, a quality perfectly captured in the Şimdi/Now festival's eclectic program.

A conference discussed "How Far Does Europe Extend?" (started 27 August), and the Arsenal cinema showed a series of brand-new Turkish films throughout the festival.

There was a whole range of different classical music and theatre performances.

Sertab Erener appeared at Berlin's Konzerthaus in a musical encounter of a different kind - a joint project with pianist and composer Fazıl Say.

The electrifying queens of piano Güher and Süher Pekinel, who have established themselves among the world's best pianists, whether as a duo or as solo performers, are renowned for combining exceptional melodic skills with outstanding expressive power also made an appearance. They performed in concert accompanied by the internationally acclaimed Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen.

Internationally acclaimed filmmaker and video artist Kutluğ Ataman, recently nominated for the prestigious Turner Prize, presented a new video installation at the Hallesches Ufer, with the exhibition berlin . istanbul . vice versa, offering insights into the way these two cities perceive each other.

Simdi/Now has been organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, organiser of international festivals of Film, Theatre, Music and Jazz and the International Istanbul Biennial in Istanbul, HarrisonParrott, the artist and project management based in London, and the Werkstatt der Kulturen, in cooperation with other cultural institutions in Berlin.

Also read "Capturing Turkish Culture's Changing Face" (Sept 2, 2004, Deutsche Welle)

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