I am originally from Tasmania, now living and working in Canberra. I have a long standing interest in Alevi song and sometimes perform them myself with bağlama and voice. This interest also led me to complete a PhD at the University of Western Sydney titled: “I am Pir Sultan Abdal: a hermeneutic study of the self-naming tradition (mahlas) in the Turkish Alevi lyric song (deyiş)“.
This blog represents a modest ambition to contribute something to a greater awareness of Alevi lyric song. I hope is proves useful and helps to make the great works of oral tradition associated with Pir Sultan Abdal and Alevi expressive culture generally more accessible to the non-Turkish speaker.
My Turkish is self-taught largely through listening to Turkish songs (deyişler and türküler), reading poetry, studying grammars and brief excursions to Turkey over the past couple of decades. Seeing Erden Kıral’s film of Ferit Edgü’s novel O (Hakkâri’de Bir Mevsim）in Istanbul when it was first released there in 1987 (after being forbidden for four years) started an enduring fascination with Edgü’s poetic novel and a long drawn out project to prepare an English translation.
In my younger days I was a jobbing musician performing with Winsome Evan’s early music ensemble The Renaissance Players, Davood (Ardalan) Tabrizi’s Iranian folk ensemble Nakisa, Doug Kelly’s ethno-jazz group Churinga and full time with seminal Australian ‘world music’ (we didn’t call it that back then) group Sirocco for which a few very rough film clips survive.
I can be contacted by email at: pkoerbin at gmail.com