Washington Folk Life Festival, 2008
Left to Right: Murat Aytekin, Husnu Aydogdu, David Fossum, Greg-Ben Avram 
I am a fun of folk music for it is a product of human experience that carries through generations, their identity, traditions, culture, and history. Although, any type of folk music is precious, I am particularly in love with Turkish Folk Music, mostly because it is part of my identity.

I am a student of bağlama and kemane. Both instruments are originated in central Asia and brought to Anatolia and took their current form there. Bağlama (see the photo on the right) is a lute-like string instrument, with an oval body and a fretted long and thin handle. It has three sets of strings. The bottom set consist of three strings two of the lower ones are thinner than the third one. The middle set includes two strings of medium thickness and the top set contains one thick and one thin string. Thanks to the thin handle the thumb can be used to play notes on the top set of strings. See the wikipedia page on bağlama for more information on the design, tuning styles, design variants and where they are played. You can find hundreds of examples of how it is played and what it sounds like in youtube.

A kabak (gourd) kemane (violin like), is an upright fiddle played with the help of a bow. It is generally placed on the leg behind the knee in a sitting position and is held perpendicular to the floor. The sound is produced by the strokes of the bow held by the opposite hand parallel to the ground. It has three or four strings and no frets.


Part of learning to play an instrument is to perform as a group, which helps learning control the rhythm, hear other players and contribute to the music emerges from the ensemble. I joined my mentor Husnu Aydogdu and other group members on stage in the following performances:

Folk music lovers, I highly recommend these and other annual festivals around the DC area.

We practice at the Arlington Temple United Methodist Church in Rosslyn, VA, a community center and house of God that opens its doors to other cultures and religions on regular bases. We give recitals every year to the local community. A recent "remembrance of Asik Veysel (a Turkish minstrel) and "welcome spring" event had been featured in Turkish American Hour (see the video).