TURKISH WOMEN'S CHOIR IN OSLO
MUSIC LOVERS WARMING WITH TURKISH MUSIC IN THE FROSTINESS (WINTER) OF THE NORTH
TURKISH WOMEN'S CHOIR IN OSLO
Alaturka, the first and the only women's choir singing Turkish Classical Music in Norway, was formed in 2011 by a group of women, who enjoyed singing together and intended to introduce to the Norwegians a musical genre that feeds on different traditions in music, thus bridging over different cultures. The choirmaster is Aygun Seferli Acar, who was born in Azerbaijan and is a graduate of Baku Academy of Music. The music enthusiasts, who warm their hearts with Turkish music in the cold climate of the North, will be our guests in this issue. We addressed our questions to the choirmaster Aygun Seferli Acar.
When and how was the “Turkish Women's Choir in Oslo” was formed?
Alaturka, that's, the Turkish Women's Choir in Oslo was formed in 2011 and gave its first concert on March 27, 2011. The idea of forming a Turkish music choir in Oslo was contemplated long before the Alaturka was assembled, as I know. But the project could somehow not be actualized for the lack of musical support. When the project's masterminds guided by Hülya Vardal Gürsel came to me I thought "Why not?!' to myself. Turkish music would be a totally different experience for me. We were not taught Turkish Classical Music at Baku Musical Academy. We started our rehearsals as a choir every week. A couple of years later I took my time off conducting, and my position was assigned to Aslı Özbilen. But I needed to take over it again when Aslı turned back to Turkey.
Why not no men involved in this choir? Do they not want to join it?
The choir was created by women. We had proposals from men from time to time but we decided to remain as we are after all. Who knows, maybe the Turkish Men's Choir in Oslo will be created one day and we are offered to give a concert together?
Are there only Turks in this choir or do you accept members also from other nationalities?
The choir is mostly composed of settlers from Turkey, who set their heart on the Turkish music, and who have grown up listening to Turkish songs since childhood or so. Happily, we have got secondgeneration chorists, who were born and raised in Norway and who are lucky to have a chance to listen to these songs from their parents. The pianist Arzu Aliyeva is from Azerbaijan. We have got a Norwegian member, too.
Can you tell us about your work system?
Alaturka is a well-studied choir with an amateur-spirit. We have our repertoire mostly borrowed from the Turkish Classical Music but we love making different types of music for different projects.
Are you going to give concerts in other European cities and in Turkey?
Why not if our budgets allows us to?
Can you tell us about your concerts that you have given until today?
As Alaturka, we gave our first concert in Oslo on March 27,
2011 after which we appeared in co-concerts and festivals with other choirs on the one hand, and arranged our own concerts on the other hand. We represented the Turkish Music at a festival organized by the International Federation for Choral Music. We appeared at Oslo Music Festival for two consecutive years. Apart from that, we gave concerts at refugee camps, seniors' centers, and took part in social responsibility projects for immigrant women. We give major concerts at the Oslo Konserthus, a prestigious concert hall in Oslo, every two years. Back in 2014, we gave a co-concert, "Alaturka Meets Vokaliz" with Group Vokaliz, followed by our "TurkuAz Jazz" concert with the Jangi Jazz Group from Azerbaijan in 2016. And finally this year, we gave “Rock A La Turka” concert with Cihan Terlan Rock Quartet on the International Women's Day. These projects with professional groups allow us to blend allaturca music with different genres in music to come up with a brand new musical synthesis beyond our classical Turkish music repertoire.
What are your upcoming projects?
Alaturka is a choir of friendship. We started it to warm hearts to Turkish music on cold and tired evenings in the capital of the North. Gladly, we have made a distinguished name and made our mark on it. We aiming to grow bigger, to appear at different projects and concerts, and definitely to stay on as Alaturka, a choir of friendship!