REGISTER NOW AND GET
• 5 FREE tracks! • 101 tracks for $9.99
ClassicsOnline Home » TURKEY Huseyin Turkmenler Ensemble: Oriental Dance from Turkey
Hüseyin Türkmenler -saz (baglama)
Hüseyin Türkmenler was born in Ankara in 1947 and began playing the saz (long necked
lute) when he was eight years old. His enthusiasm and skill enabled him to play professionally
at the early age of fifteen. Hüseyin spent some time working and performing with Emin
Aldemir in Turkey before coming to Britain in 1973. Since then he has taken part in
numerous festivals, including the City of London Festival and the Spring Festival at the
Queen Elizabeth Hall, and also in competitions. In 1984 at the International Music
Competition held in Llangollen (Wales) he gained second prize in the Instrumental Music
Solo class. He has also performed for the Greek and Near Eastern Music Society and the
International Folk Music Conference at Dartington in 1981. Hüseyin and his family have
moved back to Turkey and he works there as a musician and producer of Turkish traditional
music and bellydance music.
Oriental dance is one of the oldest recorded dance forms. Depictions of dance can be seen on
Egyptian hieroglyphs, dating back as far as 4000 BC.
Dance was primarily performed by women and thrived until about 600 AD. With the advent
of the Islamic religion, music and dance were banned. Poetry remained the only artistic
expression allowed in most Islamic countries.
For centuries thereafter Arabic music survived in Turkey. Bellydance is said to be Turkish by
origin. Female dancers and blindfolded male musicians were used to entertain women in
harems. Bellydance was not performed for men. Religion forbade women to dance in public
and to perform in theatrical plays. As a result of these limitations, at weddings and festivities,
bellydance was performed by girlish boys, called köçek, wearing colourful skirts.
When in 1923 the Ottoman Empire ended and Turkey became a republic, religious limitations
were lifted and female dancers were now allowed to perform bellydance publicly, for which
they wore a special kind of clothing, which left the belly uncovered. The dancers' legs were
half covered by transparent material.
In the last 15 to 20 years bellydance became very popular in Europe, America and throughout
With tourism in Turkey and Arabic countries and Turkish people working in Europe and
exporting their customs, people from around the world got to hear the music and watch the
lovely dance. The beauty of the dancers was praised, their fitness and their skills in their art
A foreign traveller wrote that "The tunes are extremely gay and lively, yet with something
wonderfully soft in them. The steps are varied according to the pleasure of her who leads the
dance, but always in exact time and infinitely more agreeable than any of European dances.
The dancing consists of suggestive contortions, a great deal of stomach play and twisting of
the body, falling upon the knees with the trunk held back until the head nearly touches the
floor behind, a position which usually encourages the enthusiastic spectators to put a coin
(nowadays a banknote) on the foreheads. Every muscle and both shoulders were made to
quiver and all this was alternated with postures mincing grace and affectations."
Complicated and intricate scales and modes ('makams') were created during this age, many of
which are still in use today.
Turkish bellydance has developed a flavour of its own. While most rhythms of Egyptian and
Turkish bellydance are the same, the Turkish dances use some unique rhythms: çiftetelli and
Ciftetelli is slow and allows flowing, snake-like movements, veil dances, etc. It parallels the
solo improvisations (taksim) in Egyptian music.
The karsilama has an unusual 9/8 rhythm. It may take time to get used to dancing to this
1. Anadolu Oyun Havasi – This is dance music from Anatolia.
2. Bahriye Çiftetellisi – A sailors’ dance.
3. Rast Oyun Havasi – This is a Turkish makam (mode, scale). It takes its name from the
4. Hicazkâr Oyun Havasi – A Turkish makam.
5. Trakya Oyun Havasi – Dance music from Thrace.
6. Tiridine Bandim – Dance music from the Turkish town of Kastamonu.
7. Hicaz Oyun Havasi / Gül Ali – A makam.
8. Azize – Azize means ‘dear, beloved’. It is also a female name.
9. Rast Adana Çiftetelli – This dance piece from the town of Adana is in makam ‘rast’.
10. Hicaz Salon Çiftetelli – A ‘salon dance’ in makam ‘hicaz’.
11. Ussâk Oyun Havasi – A dance piece in makam ‘ussâk’.
12. Rumeli Karsilamasi – “A Thrace Meeting”; dance music from Thrace.
Turan Yayci -violin
Sener Yakut -violin
Ahmet Çaglaroglu -violin
Ayhan Yilmaz -oud
Tarik Aydogan -kanun
Sükrü Kabaci -clarinet
Ahmet Özgül -bass guitar
Burak Coskuner -def, zil (percussion)
Suat Güzeller -darbuka, davul (percussion)
Hüseyin Türkmenler -saz (baglama)
Recorded at Studio ASC (Ankara Sound Center), Ankara, Turkey
Producer: Hüseyin Türkmenler
Engineering and mixing: Ahmet Özgül
Premaster: Diz Heller
Photos: Stüdyo Ertürk, Ankara
Cover photo: André Elbing, Germany, e-mail Orientph@aol.com
Dancer on cover: Yzida
Cover design: Alex Stokes
Liner notes: Hüseyin Türkmenler / Diz Heller
Typesetting / layout: Barbara Papadopoulos
Last Albums Viewed
TURKEY Huseyin Turkmenler Ensemble: Oriental Dance...