Blog

Continuing a tradition of three generations: Ramazan Sesler

Blog
Continuing a tradition of three generations: Ramazan Sesler

04.10.2021

Interview: Cem Kayıran

Ramazan Sesler is of Sesler family who have been spreading Thracian music and musical traditions to the world for generations. He will be performing “A Gırnata Legend from Father to Son” project as part of 31st Akbank Jazz Festival on October 5. Sesler’s orchestra will be accompanied by guest performances from Anıl Şallıel and Kaan Bıyıkoğlu. Before this special performance, we spoke with Ramazan Sesler about his musical heritage and upcoming projects.

You were raised in a family where music is heritage. What is the most significant musical habit or approach you inherited from older generations of Sesler family? 

There have been many musicians who were famous in Thrace in my family. Some of them I know personally, and some of them I don’t. Especially my grandfather, my dad’s uncle, my uncle and of cours my dad Selim Sesler are among these musicians. I looked up to my father. Due to our relationship both as father-son and as master-apprentice, I fell into various habits. These are the repertoire, clarinet playing style, discipline, character and my father’s courteous attitude.

It’s been 5 years since you released your first album Babadan Oğula. Are you planning a new album?

We are working on new recordings which we will be sharing soon. We are planning singles and successive EP’s. They will include both new compositions and interpretations. Our repertoire follows 3 main axes: Thrace-Balkan, Turkish Music (classical and folk) and of course Istanbul songs. We are also hoping to have guests from different musical backgrounds such as jazz.

Valuable Volkan Öktem will be joining us as the musical director in these new recordings. We will be traveling and working together. We are excited about this as Volkan Öktem is both familiar to and a master at our repertoire, and he is also very well-equipped in jazz.

Your habit of opening new horizons for your musical heritage is evident in your performances as well. Can you tell us which musical aesthetics you find especially exciting these days?

I am mostly excited by the musical culture I have been raised in and that inspired me. As well as being a rich repertoire, it’s an important part of my lifestyle; I have lived in this music when I was a child and I still do today. Besides this, I enjoy different musical aesthetics that are nuanced and that include spontaneity.

You are performing a special “A Gırnata Legend from Father to Son” performance at the 31st Akbank Jazz Festival. What should the listeners expect?

In this 2021 edition, we are aiming at adding the colour of world music to Akbank Jazz’s rainbow. It will be a world music-oriented show with guests from the jazz scene, where Turkish and western instruments come together, and where there is room for improvisation. Songs following the 3 main axes of our repertoire, my compositions from my Babadan Oğula album and songs that identify with Selim Sesler will be played. We will be focusing on auditorium kind of music.

We will be accompanied by two jazz masters Anıl Şallıel and Kaan Bıyıkoğlu, and two symbol instruments of jazz; saxophone and piano. It will be a generous concert, where will share it all with our guests.

How has the journey of “A Gırnata Legend from Father to Son” project been since the beginning? Do you have future plans for the project? 

This project was started with the motivation of sustaining the Sesler school. Babadan Oğula album was designed to immortalize the style of my father and my family. After the album was released I wanted to carry our 3-generation tradition and style to stage and we got together with Caféturc Music & Arts to think about it.

Our collaborative effort and friendship with Caféturc Music & Arts goes back many years. In the early ‘90’s, my father did many shows with Kenan Öztürk, the founder of Caféturc Music & Arts which promoted Turkish music in various European festivals and venues. I joined some of them as well, and sometimes my father sent me to play instead of him. So after the album was released, we created this project with Caféturc Music & Arts.

The best part of the story is: This long journey which started with my father and Kenan Öztürk is now continuing with me and Kenan Öztürk’s son Ekim Öztürk, who is now in charge of Caféturc.

What do you think is the role of music festivals in terms of carrying musical traditions to younger generations? How do you feel about playing Akbank Jazz Festival in this sense? 

Festivals are very crucial places for musical culture. Therefore, promoting musical traditions in festival line-ups is very important for the music to be transferred to younger generations. As we all have experienced during the pandemic, stages have the function of creating and sustaining common cultures and common feelings.

It is so special that Akbank Jazz Festival is opening this window and I am honoured to be part of this festival and meet the festival’s audience. We are grateful to Akbank Jazz family for their appreciation for the Sesler school.

Follow Us
TR EN
Filter events by label
22 NOV MON
-
23 NOV TUE
-
24 NOV WED
-
25 NOV THU
2

18:30

Seminar Ömer Aygün - “The Calculating Mind and the Questioning Mind in Plato”.

Akbank Sanat Youtube

20:30

Concert Cenk Erdoğan “OttoJazz” Ensemble

Zorlu PSM, Turkcell Platinum Sahnesi

26 NOV FRI
-
27 NOV SAT
-
28 NOV SUN
-
29 NOV MON
-
30 NOV TUE
-
01 DEC WED
-
02 DEC THU
-
03 DEC FRI
-
04 DEC SAT
-
05 DEC SUN
-
06 DEC MON
-
07 DEC TUE
-
08 DEC WED
-
09 DEC THU
-
10 DEC FRI
-
11 DEC SAT
-
12 DEC SUN
-

Add event to your calendar

Subscribe to Newsletter