A  Musical Journey in Turkey: Dervishes and Roma
May 30 – June 13, 2011


Yuval Ron and Members of His Ensemble



Photographs and Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel

Music: Laz  [Under the Olive Tree  /  Yuval Ron Ensemble / Magda]: 3 min excerpt


I was a member of the touring group who accompanied the musicians. I participated because of a lifelong passion with music, be it classical, jazz, blues, bluegrass, my generation rock, and especially world (both traditional and popular).  My musical CD collection is vast. I thirst for new or unfamiliar music of high quality. My broad amateur ethnomusicological studies have spanned Central, South, and East Asian, African, Native American, and east Mediterranean cultures and focused on music as a spiritual vehicle within the main traditional religions, chiefly Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sufism of Islam.  All my fairly recent travels through Korea, Japan, India, Nepal, Morocco, and last year Spain, with the Yuval Ron Ensemble, have had music at their core.

Turkey is a strategic crossroads and its great cosmopolitan city of Istanbul is itself situated in both Europe and Asia, on the banks of the narrow Bosporous.  Ancient cultures, such as Troy, occupied the land before invasions of Hittites, the Greeks of Alexander the Great, Romans, and much later Turkmen from Central Asia. The Ottomans ruled a wide area that covered much of North Africa in the west, to Persia in the east, to parts of Saudi Arabia and Sudan in the south, and north to the Caucasus, the Balkans and Hungary, and they even threatened Vienna. After World War I and with subsequent reconstruction by its leader Mutafa Kemal (Ataturk), the modern, much smaller  nation of Turkey has developed into a significant economy and military NATO partner. Culturally, it is a center of Sufism, where in the 13th century Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī was the guiding teacher.

Of a family of Jewish Kohens and, until recently, a long line of rabbis (and through my grandmother's lineage, of woodworking and cabinetmaking artisans), I am scholar, scientist, artist, but also mystic, indeed, a practicing Korean Zen Buddhist. Already familiar (thorough music recordings, books, concerts, and documentaries) with Sufi practices and rites in Morocco, Pakistan, India, Egypt, and Turkey, this journey was the opportunity to be a witness as Ron's Middle Eastern musicians interacted with Turkish musicians, Dervishes and gypsy or Romani artists, sharing their respective musical forms and finding common ground.  The trip allowed me to encounter Sufis in their traditional abode and to bring intellectual knowledge into experience and practice.


Organization and Viewing / Copying/ Saving/ Sending/ Printing

Clicking each tour day will lead to a web page containing thumbnail images and commentary of that day. Clicking on the small photographs will cause an enlargement of the image to appear.  Your browser will allow further zooming by clicking on the enlarged image. I have sized them to 1050 px wide or high.  In order to copy, 'save as', email, or print these images for your own use, right-click your mouse and choose from the pop-up menu. 

Tuesday, May 31

[Cappadokia] Tour Leader:

          Yuval Ron

The Ensemble and Guests:

          Yuval Ron, oud & musical direction
          Maya Haddi Zebley, vocals
          Jamie Papish, percussion
          David Martinelli, percussion
          Norik Manoukian, woodwinds
          Virginie Alumyan, kanoun

          Sukhawat Ali Khan,  harmonium & Qawwali vocals

          Aziz [Abbatiello], Dervish

The Fellowship of Travelers:

          Roy Baker
          Sharon Barber
          Debra Jan Bibel
          Dennis Boardman
          Janice  Briski
          Mark Byers
          Jeffrey Cooper
          Paula Dromi
          Carmen Ferguson
          Chloe Ferguson
          Lara Ferguson
          Cherise Gordon
          Marilyn Grissom
          Nona Hungate
          Douglas Jardine
          Sandry Jardine
          Margo Jim
          Malcolm Lansky
          Paulette Rochelle-Levy
          Therese Lynch
          Sandra McMahon
          Ilan Migdali
          Dori Miles
          Janice Parakilas
          Judith Riven
          Dalia Ron
          Kathryn Rosenberg
          Paula Rubenstein
          Norberta Salazar    
          Navani [Smith]
          Sage Spatz
          Barbara Spiller
          William Spiller
          Andrea Trautwein
          Edith Wander
          Dennis Wilkins
          Linda Wilkins
          Shirley Zadaca

Tour Operator:

          Joshkun Tamer
          Middle Eastern Music and Dance Camp

Tour Assistants

           Marina Simes Corsini
           A. Sevket Selçuk

Wednesday, June 1 [Cappadokia]
Thursday, June 2


Friday, June 3 [Bodrum]

Saturday, June 4

Sunday, June 5 [Bodrum]
Monday, June 6 [Ephesus & Foça]
Tuesday, June 7 [Foça]
Wednesday, June 8 [Foça]
Thursday, June 9 [Istanbul]
Friday, June 10


Saturday, June 11 [Istanbul]

Sunday, June12


Appendix: Food





Appendix:   Travelers, Staff & Musicians:
        Selected Photographs

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