Volunteers in southeastern Turkey's Kahramanmaraş province have begun work to document all the musical pieces by the city's Sufi artists.
The group of volunteers, formed under the leadership of Ahmet Uncu, one of the sound artists of Konya Turkish Sufi Music, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Kahramanmaraş Metropolitan Municipality, is working to record the city's Sufi music – the devotional, mystic music inspired by the works of poets like Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi – to create an archive and pass it onto future generations.
After the archiving is complete, the artists will hold a concert featuring melodies of the works collected and recorded at the city's Necip Fazıl Kısakürek Cultural Center.
Uncu stated that they are working to document all the Sufi works that have survived in Kahramanmaraş by recording them in written and sound form, and revert them back to their original glory, free from changes that came over time.
Uncu said no such work has been carried out before for Turkish Sufi music. "Perhaps Sufi music of a city will be inscribed into history for the very first time and be put into musical notes to be performed for the first time," he said.
Uncu said they want to make sure these works last well into the future.
Noting that the work carried extra significance this year because it is the 100th anniversary of Kahramanmaraş' independence struggle, Uncu said: "The whole community is made up of our volunteer friends from Kahramanmaraş. They love this job. Upon completing the work, we will perform at Necip Fazıl Kısakürek Cultural Center on Monday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. I hope such work catches on in other cities and (the archives) multiply."
Ayşe Taşkıran from the Department of Health and Social Services at Kahramanmaraş Metropolitan Municipality said many institutions, such as Kahramanmaraş Sütçü İmam University, The Association of Researching and Preserving Mevlana Culture and Sufi Music Folklore, and the Kahramanmaraş Music Association, have shown great support for the project. Taşkıran added that the end product will be available to the public in the form of a CD.
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