Photographs and Commentary by Debra Jan Bibel

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Our final day in Istanbul, and it is another busy one. In the morning we visit an art center across from the Hagia Sophia, then we have another Sufi experience; and finally at night, we party and say farewell.

Caferaga Medresesi and Ebru

   Music: Ham Çökelek (Ger Ali)  [Orhan Haklamaz  / The Rough Guide to Turkish Café ]: 3 min excerpt


His name is Coskun Uznunkaya, an artist. Sharing a laugh with Yuval. He is a painter and artisan of Turkish marbllng, called ebru. The demonstration of the craft has begun and will continue in the following series. The Art Center, attached to the adjacent school, is Caferaga Medresesi. Setting up compartments; oils, organic solvents, and pigments. Stylus pulling through each, forming arrows. Now the perpendicular.

One more combing downward for finer patterns.

The background is set. A black drop of lower density fluid. More pulling. Next is color.


More pulling on the circles produces tulips.

How to make the painting? Special paper . . . . . . is gently placed upon the surface. The paper absorbs the patterned oils. Voila! The paint dries rapidly. A wider view. [Carmen's photo, edited]
Yuval plays music for ebru. [Carmen's photo, edited].


A second example follows.


After a more diffused background, a leafy form is first. The orange fluid next is dropped.


More drops.




The work is ready. The paper is applied. Pressed down gently to exclude air gaps. The result. On the porch of the art center.  

Rifa'i Hymns & Ensemble Jam

   Music: Hymn of Hüzzam Ilahiler [Rifa'i Choir, Istanbul / Rifa'i recording]: 3 min excerpt


Atop the hill a mosque and minaret. Lo! The single minaret of the last image from a fresh perspective are two. We are headed for Pier Loty Hill and the home of Tayar Baba, which is a Rifa'i Sufi gathering place. Like the old, long gone, Spaghetti Factory in San Francisco's North Beach, odd objects hang from the ceiling. More examples. We meet in the upstairs converted attic. Among the attending is Lari Dilman, a music producer. Tayar Baba sits behind. 
For a long period, we are presented many hymns. All the music is scored. The singers are accompanied by a group of musicians. Sukhawat Ali opens a crack. His vocals are answered by Maya's. Enter the duduk. Yuval and his oud.
David (and elsewhere Jaime) add to the percussion. Maya continue her song, to the approval of those behind her. Another view. The music increases tempo. The excitement builds. The group joins in.


High spirits. Lunch break. Music reconvenes. The Sufi musicians. Wide-angle shot provides a view of the attic. Norik shines.
The fiddle finishes it.          

Farewell Party

  Music: Lama Bada [Seeker of Truth / Yuval Ron Ensemble / YRM]: 3 min excerpt]  Live at Fes, Morocco


In the evening we meet for the last time in the hotel's terrace.
Jeff & Norberta. Jeff again, with Jaime. Roy & Dennis. Marilyn. Sandra & Malcolm.
 Judith & Sandy.
Cherise's peace sign & Paula. Linda. Sage & Marilyn. Mark, Andrea & Lara Carmeli & Shirley.

Therese, Dori, and Janice. Lara, Carmen & Mark. The musicians soon begin. Jaime & David. Maya, Yuval & Jaime. The music picks up. Dancing commences. [Lara's photo, edited]

Andrea is next. [Lara's photo, edited] Davani dances as I depart for bed and a morning exit home. [Lara's photo, edited] What is a Turkish party without belly dancing? [Lara's photo, edited]
The drum lesson.    

   Music: Call to Prayer  [Music in Egypt / CD with book / Oxford University Press]: 3 min excerpt

In the middle of the music, we hear the Call to Prayer. We go outside and listen as the muezzins from the Hagia Sofia and the Blue Mosque take turn in reciting sections of the ezan. Our heads move as if watching a tennis match. This moment in otherwise hushed sound caps our musical adventures. It is a splendid coda.


© 2011 Debra Jan Bibel


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