A Bit Of Baba Zula

The Sound of Istanbul


Those who have heard the Turkish group BABA ZULA have instantly fallen in love with the unconventional and particularly impressive improvisations of the band! Their original style does not fit any of the genre specifications. Their compositions stir the imagination and open hard to reach areas before the fans.

A quirky name that fits their eccentric personas, BABA in Turkish refers to “father” or “big thing” and ZULA is similar to “secret”. BABA ZULA means “Father’s secret” or “Big thing secret”. However, they are no big secret anymore

The authentic sound of BABA ZULA has been cultivated from the music of the late 1960s and 70s. The band was set up in Istanbul in 1996 by Levent Akman, Murat Ertel and Emre Onel, who left in 2005 and was replaced by Cosar Kamçi. In 2004 the unique master of ‘live drawings” Ceren Oykut joined the group. Her presence on stage, and the creation of images with the swiftness and inspiration demonstrated by her are an important visual part of the entity that BABA ZULA represent.

BABA ZULA was supposed to be a short-lived side project, but since their debut, Baba Zula has released a number of albums and worked with a variety of international stars in the music industry. Among their works are: 3 Oyundan 17 Müzik (Three Plays from Seventeen Pieces) on Doublemoon Records, which included music created for Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s classic, The Little Prince; Psychebelly Dance Music which was mixed and mastered by Mad Professor; Duble Oryantal, for which they worked again with Mad Professor, along with Einstürzende Neubauten‘s Alexander Hacke, Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. The band also appeared in the Golden Bear award winning director Fatih Akın’s film “Crossing the Bridge” that explores the sounds of Istanbul.

They have also worked with well-known composers and lyricists in the world of Turkish music, such as Neset Ertas and Pir Sultan Abdal. The analog techniques of Turkish producer Mehmet Ates are also very much in evidence in their recordings.

Their artistic improvisations are serious works with an original style, sound and character. They use the emblematic in Turkish music wooden spoons and saz (the only traditional Turkish instrument with an electric version) and rely on the centuries’ old cultural traditions of their country. The combination of Oriental instruments (such as darbuka, electric saz, spoons, “ney” from the Sufi tradition”, clarinet as detail of Turkish gypsy music) and the modern electronic sound creates the peculiar specific sound of BABA ZULA that they define as “Oriental Dub”.



Zaniye oyun havasi (Doble Oryantal)


Tilki Dansı (Psychebelly Dance Music)



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