Neva Özgen & Anatolia Ensemble

Zeybek & Sirtos - Music of the Aegean and Balkans

October 16, 2008 8:30 PM

Fundación Tres Culturas, Sevilla, Spain

Neva Özgen - kemençe
Yurdal Tokcan - oud
Osman Ziyagil - vocals
Yelda Özgen Öztürk - violencello
Can Akin - percussion

Anatolia, is a musical ensemble, which reflects forty years of an artist’s, Ihsan Özgen’s, work and musical outlook. It is now led by his daughter, kemençe player Neva Özgen. The artistic atmosphere, which is a mosaic of different musical genres-stemming from one another and having differences in the east and west has influenced the performance of the general director and members of the group.

Different music genres which came existance and grew in Anatolia are the basis of Anatolia Ensemble. It was influenced by the fact that people who have migrated from the Central Asia bringing in their penthatonic music, combined their own music with those from Iran, Arabic countries, Byzantine, Balkan, the Aegean and the Mediterranean, which resulted in new genres.

How does Anatolia make use of this rich material? By introducing a new expression, by having its modern polyphonic approach, within its unique performance and attitude with dynamic profundity and improvisations are taken up as two important groups. New sounds are being formed as well as rhythmic and melodic changes in the revoicing process of anonymous works oe works composed earlier. Sometimes a particular instrument is in the foreground, the others are used to enrich the melody, using vertical and horizontal pedals. The human voice is considered as a musical instrument in the orchestra. Percussion is used like the other instruments unlike the tradition to contribute to the melody production. New versions of old songs are being made and voiced by the director. In addition to this the work has got a totally new sound, with the participation of musicians, having their own interpretations. Taksims are known to be solo improvisations made by an instrument or human voice. The solo improvisations done by musicians are done chorally, in Anatolia thus, a new harmony is born.


Zeybek and Sirto are popular dance pieces from Aegean Region and the Balkans. Zeybek is an anonymous piece in slow tempo depicts epics and folkloric characteristics of Aegean and usually in 9/4 tempo. Sirtos are faster in tempo (in 2/4). They are also anonymous but we know some composers who wrote sirtos as well.

Hear the music of Anatolia Ensemble Musicians:

Neva Üzgen: Legacy

Yurdal Tokcan: Passion