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2008 Event Media Release - Omar Faruk Tekbilek and Ensemble

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Issued Wednesday, 16 January 2008

RENOWNED EXPONENTS OF NEW WORLD AND SUFI MUSIC TO TOUR AUSTRALIA IN MARCH 2008

Featuring Omar Faruk Tekbilek - vocals, baglama, ney, zurna and percussion,
Savas Özkök – kanun; Itamar Erez- guitar; Yannis Dimitriades- keyboards;
River Guerguerian and Murat Tekbilek - percussion.

Renowned as an international peacemaker, a multi-instrumentalist, and a virtuoso musician, the Turkish born Omar Faruk Tekbilek is now one of the most sought-after musicians in the world. His work with multinational musicians from all cultures transcends political boundaries. Tekbilek, who once studied to be a priest says, Humanity can be understood better through music.

A virtuoso on the double-reed oboe-like zurna, the long-necked baglama lute, and numerous percussion instruments, Tekbilek has employed all of these not only in performing traditional music from Turkey and the Middle East but in contemporary global-fusion collaborations with luminaries including Ginger Baker, Brian Keane and Youssou N’Dour, performed for the first time in Moscow in October 2007, showcasing his multinational ensemble to an audience of Armenians, Tartars and Russians. The Moscow press called it unforgettable

Tekbilek played for the Turkish Prime Minister and Hilary Clinton at a Ramadan gala in New York City in September 2007 and his song, I Love You, is like a national song in Turkey and was chosen for the wedding of the Turkish President’s son. Fellow Sufi, Diane Cilento, will present the first part of the Australian tour at Karnak Playhouse, an amphitheatre on her spectacular property, near Cairns. Tekbilek is accompanied on his Australian tour by an outstanding multinational ensemble, soloists in their own right across jazz and improvisational music of the Middle-East and Turkey – the world. 

US based percussionist and composer River Guerguerian, born to Armenian, Egyptian and Syrian parents sold all his possessions and left civilisation behind in 1994 to live in the Himalayas for five years. Upon his return to public life and the continued collaborations with Tan Dun, The New York Times said Guerguerian's composition, sensationally performed, devoted itself even more religiously to the possibilities of pure sound.

Vancouver-based, Israeli expatriate guitarist/pianist Itamar Erez founded the Adama Ensemble in 2003. As a composer who writes for films, dance and theatre he won the Israel Prime Minister’s Prize for composition. He recently joined Tekbilek’s ensemble as guitarist. The reset of the outstanding ensemble is completed by Greek born Yannis Dimiatriadis on keyboards, Turkish kanun player Savas Özkök and percussionist Murat Tekbilek. 

Omar Faruk Tekbilek has performed as a guest soloist in Australia several times with his friend and fellow performer, Michael Askill. He collaborated with Askill on the composition for Sydney Dance Company’s Salome in 1998, was part of Melbourne Festival’s Pulse:Heart:Beat with Hossam Ramzy in 2001 – a world music extravaganza staged at Sidney Myer Music Bowl – and performed as part of the Queensland Music Festival in 2003. Tekbilek and the ensemble will perform at the acclaimed Four Winds Festival in Bermagui with some of the best musicians in the country, including Synergy Percussion, during Easter 2008. 

He is delighted to be touring Australia with his own ensemble for the first time, spreading his belief in cultural tolerance without frontiers, peace and harmony through music. 

Venue: Concert Hall, Sydney Opera House
Date: Tuesday 25 March
Time: 8.30pm 
Prices: $44 - $85
Bookings: (02) 9250 7777

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