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Behind the Music: A Pre-Release Interview with Didem Başar on "Continuum".

We had the opportunity to interview Didem Basar about her thoughts and creations behind the album.

Didem Başar on 'Contunuum' Album Cover, 2024.

Didem Başar, I Musici de Montréal, Patrick Graham performing at Sale Bourgie Hall, 2024.


DA_TQ: As members of the Turquebec Cultural Friendship Association, we have collaborated with you on various events and choir projects in the past. We know you and have always followed your success with pride. Your dedication and passion from the heart to your 'saz,' Turkish classical music, and openness to world music is so you in style. After many years, days, and hours of work, you have reached the moment of your second album release, "Continuum." Can you tell us about the creativity behind this project and what makes it different from your successful previous album?


Didem: First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to you and Turquebec Cultural Friendship Association for always making me feel your infinite support. The support of art lovers is one of the most important motivating factors for a musician. The music you passionately create undoubtedly resonate with many hearts. Of course, reaching everyone is extremely difficult. It is also necessary to be open to criticism. I believe that being criticized allows you to approach your art more objectively and helps you develop yourself in a positive direction.

 

The Continuum project was my childhood dream. I was born and raised in a musician family. During my 10 years of conservatory training immersed in music, realizing this project was nothing but a dream for me. I had been invited as a soloist kanun artist by many symphony orchestras in Türkiye and Canada, but I couldn’t find the opportunity to perform my own compositions. With the financial support of the Canadian and Quebec governments, my dream came true as the Continuum project. This project consists of a 3-part concerto composed for kanun and string orchestra, with other pieces featuring percussions for the same ensemble. In my first project Levantine Rapsody, I worked with a small ensemble of 5 musicians playing Western musical instruments. As the name suggests, the Continuum project is a sequel to the first album. The album recording took place in November 2023 in Montreal, Canada, with I Musici de Montréal, one of Quebec’s prominent string ensembles under the direction of Jean-Francois Rivest, and percussionist Patrick Graham. The album launch will be held on May 18, 2024, in Montreal.

 

DA_TQ: We are curious about the impact of living in Montreal on your music. How has the vibrant cultural scene and diverse environment of Montreal influenced your creativity and work on "Continuum"?

 

Didem: It's unimaginable for living far away from the lands I was born and raised in, my culture, my family, and my loved ones not to influence my music. Immigration inevitably shapes your art in an indelible way. As a musician living in a multicultural city like Montreal, I feel very fortunate. Since immigrating to Canada in 2007, I have learned a lot from every musician I have made music with. Likewise, I have shared my own music with them. I think this process of mutual learning will never end as long as I exist. Because every musician is a different universe, and there is no limit to what I can learn from them.

 

DA_TQ: In 'Continuum', both in your live performances and your recordings, we can hear contemporary elements woven into your music, creating a deeper emotional resonance, especially with the incorporation of natural sound elements in your compositions. The fascinating contrast between the traditional sound of the Kanun and these contemporary elements adds a magical dimension to your music. Could you please elaborate on these creative infusions and the contrast between traditional and contemporary sounds in your music?

 

Didem: I was born and raised in Istanbul, a city that spans two continents and was the capital of three empires. Until today, this ancient city has had countless guests. Many of their names, ethnicities, religions, and nationalities have been forgotten. Not only their names but also their joys, beliefs, and habits have been forgotten. The main purpose of this project is not only to unite East and West or old and new. This project also tries to be the song of the silent residents of this city who departed without being able to say what they had to say. As a result, it's very natural for you to feel the melodic and rhythmic structures brought about by centuries of accumulation in my music. Since I learned to play records on my father's turntable from a young age, I have been a good listener of Western music. At the same time, I took Western music composition lessons at the conservatory. The impact of this on my music is undeniable. As a performer who enjoys pushing the boundaries of my instrument and discovering new things, you can also see the influences of modernism in my compositions and performances. Rather than being limited to traditional patterns, my greatest goal as a musician is to come up with new ideas without departing from tradition and without becoming decadent.

 

 

D.A_TQ: Finally, we are eager to know where you will be performing next. Could you share your upcoming concert destinations after this album release?

 

Didem: Before answering your last question, I would like to thank you and dear readers. I am happy to be featured on your blog and to be able to introduce my music to a wider audience. The day after the CD launch, I will be travelling to Germany with the Constantinople Ensemble. Throughout the summer, we will have concerts in Quebec and Ontario, as well as in San Sebastian, Jaca (Spain), Öhringen (Germany), Montpellier, Calvi (France), Prague, Ceska Lipa, and Ostrava (Czech Republic). Those who wish to follow can find the all information on my concert schedule on my website: www.didembasar.com

 

All the best,

Didem Başar

 

Sevgiler...


Didem Başar will be performing for her "continuum" Album release on Saturday, 18 May 2024 at Église Saint-enfant-Jésus du Mile-End, presented by the Centre Les Musiciens du Monde for their 7th edition of the Musicians of the World Festival.




Interview by Dilek Aydincioglu, Creative Director / Secretary Turquebec Cultural and Friendship Association. For your further questions you can reach us at: turquebec.montreal@gmail.com

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