The Trabzon Provincial Directorate of Culture and Tourism has initiated a project with Anadolu Sigorta and will open a public course for "kemençe making" as a part of the "One Master, A Thousand Masters" program. In efforts to keep professions and crafts alive as they face extinction, this program offers training for future kemençe makers. İsmail Kansız, the Trabzon provincial director of culture and tourism, issued a statement to the press, saying that the course will be open on Feb. 26 and that restorations will continue until the first day of the course.
Kansız explained that the "One Master, A Thousand Masters" project was initiated in 2010. "In the seventh year of the project, we continue to train new masters of various crafts and keep these professions alive," Director Kansız said. The kemençe making course is planned to last for four months and the trainees will be offered lessons by a team of 20 professionals who are masters of kemençe making. The project, which has won numerous awards and received national and international praise, has successfully trained about 600 people so far. Graduates of the program received certificates approved by Turkey's Ministry of National Education. These courses, offering trainees the opportunity to learn and master a craft or profession, also help preserve this craft while providing young people with employment opportunities.
Kansız underscored that kemençe making is a meticulous process, noting that "The most experienced masters of the craft will offer lessons to the trainees. Everyone in the regions; especially in Trabzon, is making efforts to learn the kemenche. People enjoy dancing to the sound of the kemenche but no one is interested in making the musical instrument. The number of kemenche makers is declining on a daily basis. We aim to train new kemenche makers. That is why we opened this course. We are anticipating registration."
The classical kemençe is a pear-shaped, bowed lute that is a very popular musical instrument in Turkey. The body of the instrument is carved out of tree bark from the mulberry, walnut, plum maple and lemon tree, or Brazilian rosewood. For the cover of the kemenche, fir wood is usually preferred, while maple is used for the bridge. On the other hand, rose, ebony, or buxus are preferred for construction of the strings, which are 45 to 60 meters long. There are various kemençe makers in Trabzon's Vakfıkebir, Akçaabat, Tonya, Maçka and Sürmene districts, where kemenche craftsmen successfully build these instruments despite any specialized education in the craft. The method of kemençe making also varies according to region.