Tahir Aydoğdu, one of Turkey’s leading kanun players, has performed live on Facebook and Instagram for art lovers every evening since coronavirus-related restrictions that keep people at home were put in place.
Aydoğdu, a kanun virtuoso and choir conductor who retired from TRT Ankara Radio, is still serving as a choir conductor for Middle Eastern Technical University (METU) alumni. Having recorded many albums both at home and abroad, the famous musician performs live on social media during stay-at-home measures.
Following the coronavirus outbreak in Turkey, Aydoğdu began his kanun concerts under the name of "Tellerden Dökülen Nağmeler" (Tunes from Strings) on social media, performing works from different traditional makams, a system of melody types used in Eastern and classical Turkish music, every day for his followers and music lovers.
In a Skype interview with Anadolu Agency (AA) about the social media concerts, Aydoğdu said he self-isolated after visiting his father, the veteran kanun performer, Gültekin Aydoğdu, on March 15.
Aydoğdu said he decided to give concerts for art lovers after seeing his friend Cihat Aşkın performing on social media to raise people's spirits. “Our music was used as a method of healing in the Ottoman times,” Aydoğdu said. "In the Middle Ages, while Europeans threw their patients into the fire, we treated our patients with music and floral fragrances. Upon considering these factors, 'Can I raise our people's spirit with music?' I asked myself. I have performed from 23 makams so far, and I plan on making a little world tour from the countries I have visited for the upcoming programs. I have friends in many countries. I want to support them as well.”
Works from different makams revived
Conveying the message "Life fits home, there is life at home" in every performance, the artist said music enthusiasts showed a lot of interest in the concerts, while his followers sent him flowers.
Recalling that his program titled "Tellerden Dökülen Nağmeler” lasted on the TRT channel for 15 years, Aydoğdu said he performs works from different makams every day on the namesake social media program. He also stressed that he presents an informative program as he provides information on the composers of the works he played.
Aydoğdu noted that many people on social media performed examples from different branches of art during the quarantine. “With the pandemic, everyone self-isolated, while artists began to perform from their homes. This is the power of art and music,” he continued. “When we overcome this pandemic, I want to proceed with my concerts for a couple of days, if not every evening. During the Bosnian War, while Muslims lived in shelters, artists gave concerts there. It is crucial to raise people's spirits and to feed them with art and music. I also perform works from different makams as much as I can.”
Aydoğdu, who maintains a detailed preparation process for his social media concerts, said it was also good for him to gear up for the concert during the quarantine.
The kanun virtuoso explained his routine during his time at home. “I am organizing my notes and reevaluating my projects. First of all, I want us to be healthy as the whole country,” Aydoğdu said. “This pandemic also teaches us something. We must understand how big our damage to the environment is. The lesson we will learn from the outbreak is to understand that we need to be more righteous and humane toward the environment, the animals, and most importantly, one another. I think every cloud has a silver lining, and hope we will overcome this pandemic.”
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