Fazıl Say’s Mesopotamia Symphony is beyond words

Music is no doubt a universal language and a very powerful at that. It has the potential to evoke a myriad emotions…comfort, solace, jubilance, bliss, joy, sorrow, misery, distress, anguish, grief, heartache and the feelings it stirs can go on and on…but above all it has the power to soothe and feed the soul. There are of course composers one feels closer to, perhaps because of the emotional impact they convey with their music, perhaps because their themes strike closer to heart, perhaps due to the historical context, perhaps due to choice of instruments, the familiarity of the melodies, perhaps … Continue reading Fazıl Say’s Mesopotamia Symphony is beyond words

Tea, that heartwarming drink reflecting Turkish hospitality

Turkey’s love affair with tea goes beyond being just a caffeine vehicle. It is a social lubricant, an inseparable and compassionate companion for many who sip the crimson coloured liquid anywhere and anytime from sunrise to sunset. It is so magical that it has a cooling effect during boiling hot summer days, warming effect during the most frigid winter months, healing powers for the sick, the heartbroken, recharhing powers for the fatigued, relaxing powers for the stressed. That is how extraordinary and hence essential tea is for the Turks. Not only is it magical and addictive, tea is very much … Continue reading Tea, that heartwarming drink reflecting Turkish hospitality

That famed street renown for art galleries in Istanbul: Boğazkesen

This afternoon I changed my regular route and decided to stroll from the architecturally enriching, very colourful and except for Sunday mornings, the forever clamorous touristy Istiklal Street down to one of my favourite museums, Istanbul Modern via Boğazkesen Street. Boğazkesen definitely deserves a long account of her stories to be disclosed, all from the history of the current Tomtom Suites, to the presently abandoned home of French nuns of St Joseph’s Orphanage to the myriad art galleries for which Bogazkesen is now well known for. However today she will merely shine through snapshots. Literally translated as “throat slitter” the … Continue reading That famed street renown for art galleries in Istanbul: Boğazkesen

A Rendez-Vous with Nana Mouskouri

Even though I do not remember the first time I heard a song by Nana Mouskouri, or which one it was for that matter, her folksy tunes have been traveling with me throughout my life – from way back when I was in primary school in the 70s, to my boarding school days in the 80s, to college in the early 90s and presently in my car CD collection touring Istanbul. Her multi-languaged repertoire has hence surpassed just being a name on album covers to becoming sountracks reminiscent of my life episodes, bringing into my mind a remark by the … Continue reading A Rendez-Vous with Nana Mouskouri

A short promenade around Istanbul’s irresistable Grand Bazaar

The region between Galata Bridge and Beyazıt is the old market district of the city. As well as being one of the oldest, it is also one of the most architecturally rich and picturesque quarters of Istanbul where the tumultous sreets are full of clamour and commotion with crowds of shoppers hurrying along the maze of streets and sidewalk vendors trying to grab their attention. It is also a part of Istanbul where one is more than likely to come across a typical Turkish Bath which is has kept its authenticity to a degree without becoming too commercialized. Albeit brisk … Continue reading A short promenade around Istanbul’s irresistable Grand Bazaar

Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art – a gem amongst the high rises in Istanbul’s financial hub

Perched on the European side of Istanbul, Maslak is the typical business district with soaring steel buildings, sparse pedestrian traffic during the day, plenty of congestion at rush hour and eyecatching neon lights at night. Hence it was a huge surprise for me to discover a museum embraced by all the towering steel and glass buildings where most of the daily activities revolve around business plans, long meetings, fancy power point presentations, financial figures and lots and lots of coffee breaks. Proje 4L Elgiz Museum of Contemporary art was the treasure trove of the week – thank you TEB private … Continue reading Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art – a gem amongst the high rises in Istanbul’s financial hub

Sobremesa – that enchanting word which summons “joie de vivre”

There are some words which are full of character but unfortunately or maybe fortunately do not have exact translations in other languages, some are synonymous with bliss, some with solitude, some with confusion… Sobremesa is such a word in Spanish. Literally meaning “over the table”, it apparently refers to Spaniards’ art of savoring the conversation and company of others after a meal. Last weekend I had the pleasure of enjoying dinner with a Spanish friend I had not seen in years at a small fish restaurant in Nevizade – the very local nightlife area in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district. It was … Continue reading Sobremesa – that enchanting word which summons “joie de vivre”

Beykoz – a peaceful waterside retreat in the suburbs of Istanbul

With one of the most spectacular views of the Bosphorus, delightedly, Beykoz town center still belongs to its residents. Beykoz, once upon a time a remote fishing village with limited access to transportation and communication to central Istanbul is today linked by a very long stretch of road.   In fact, the coastline leading up to Beykoz is home to some of the most expensive houses and the grandest of the huge wooden Ottoman seaside houses called ‘yali’ so how Beykoz center has been spared the overdevelopment witnessed in many parts of the city is beyond my comprehension.  Beykoz derives its … Continue reading Beykoz – a peaceful waterside retreat in the suburbs of Istanbul

Neighbours Exhibition – a kaleidescope of colours and experiences at Istanbul Modern

I beg to differ from Joan Miró who apparently once said: “Merde! I absolutely detest all openings and parties! They’re commercial, political and everybody talks too much. They get on my tits!” As I am not in the art business but am passionate about art, I tend to enjoy attending parties honouring museum or gallery exhibition openings in the hope of meeting the artists in person, to chat and exchange ideas, sometimes eavesdrop on conversations and become part of that very creative and colourful community. I was thrilled to receive an invitation to the January 8 opening gala of the … Continue reading Neighbours Exhibition – a kaleidescope of colours and experiences at Istanbul Modern

Welcome 2014, hope you have arrived with beauty and peace in your basket

Although I am not one for resolutions at the beginning of each year, there are two very strict rituals I abide by at new year’s– one is to crack open a pomegranate as soon as the clock turns midnight , the other one is to pay a visit to Ayin Biri Church in Unkapani first thing in the morning on January 1st. My belief is that each and every deep red pomegrenate seed signifies abundance and when I toss one out with all my might, the seeds scatter out to bring opulence my way.  This year’s ceremony was even more … Continue reading Welcome 2014, hope you have arrived with beauty and peace in your basket