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Saz played in the ancient Caves of Goreme

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Göreme is in the middle of the insane mountains and cave region of Cappadochia. In the caves of the rocks that look like from a fairytale you find houses, 11th century churches, dove houses and tombs, .. and some have beautiful accoustics! Yunus, who now owns a hostel in Göreme (and who wishes us to tell that anyone coming to this beautiful region should not book with any booking companys in advance, as they destroy the local economy – just to come there, every third house is a hotel/hostel anyway!) was once earning his life by playing in bars and restaurants. But at some point he stopped playing music, also because it happened to him too often that people didn´t listen to him when he played in bars.. He is a gifted and passionate, very sensitive and good player and made us discover the instruments Saz and Nay.

This songs we recorded in one old cave church just on the outskirts of Göreme. Yunus is playing the Saz, an instrument which is referred to as a kind of guitar with a very long neck. That he is playing this instrument has a story: His uncle, that he liked a lot, had a saz when Yunus was small. He loved listening to him, but some day neighbours started to say the it was a sin to play the instrument and the uncle had to give it away. Yunus wanted to have it, but didn´t get it, as it would have been regarded as a sin as well if he would have played it. So he learned first to play guitar, but didn´t quite like it, as it is „lacked a soul“, as he said. And when he first had a saz in his hands and played it, he could feel the soul of this instrument and since, he is playing it..

This soul, that he talked about, we could also feel when he was playing the Nay. This is a flute which is very difficult to play, and sounding extremely windy and from far away. We received one as a present from Yunus and if you ever come across one, you can play it holding it on the side of your mouth, forming your mouth as if you want to kiss the instrument and then cover it with 2/3 of your mouth. 90% of the breath has to go into it, the rest aside… and then its just practice of years 😉 you can listen to this flute here (minute 19, Zoom 007 Nevsehir)

Some of the songs that Yunus shared with us are from the singer Yunus Emre. This songwriter inspired his parents to give Yunus his name, and the name of his brother: Emre.

This last song is about 20 minutes long, a sufi song about death, which touched us (and Yunus) a lot. Just imagine it in a huge cave, about 15 meters high, with some old, partly broken church paintings from the 11th century on its walls.


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