Ever wondered how a Christmas tune would sound with a touch of arabesque? Or how would the Turkish version of the song “O Christmas Tree” sound by the Bosporus? Refreshing and very different as expected.
This year’s Manzara Christmas video shows impressions of the coastal town Ayvalık and the hospitality of its inhabitants. Exclusively forManzara the ingenious singer Nihan Devecioğlu and the Professional musician Barkın Engin (Replikas) have come together and recorded the international Christmas song “Jingle Bells” in a new and very “special” version. Do you hear it? Exactly in the 9/8 eastern rhythm music… Seyfo, one of Ayvalık’s coach drivers, is taking us, costumed as Santa Claus, on a ride through the olive fields and the beautiful old town. People are cherished and greet him with little olive-bells. He has certainly brought gifts with him: for the people of Ayvalık, the children and the olive pickers. While doing this, he is permanently being accompanied by his loyal horse Fıstık. Yet, after a while he, too, exhaustedly comes back home since such a Santa Claus has pretty much to do……
Gabi Kern-Altındiş and Erdoğan Altındiş have been running a place that brings together German-Turkish arts and culture in Istanbul apart from summer houses in Istanbul through their project called “Manzara Istanbul”, and they have made it a tradition to record a German Christmas song and to shoot a video clip for it with local artists here in Istanbul each year before Christmas.
Erdoğan says this idea came up when new ways started to be sought for sending love and greetings to friends for Christmas since sending over 2500 Christmas cards to guests and friends of Manzara Istanbul became a bit inconvenient. Guests and friends were consulted. Finally, a decision was made to shoot a Manzara Christmas Music video and to send its link to friends. The link between German Christmas songs and Turkish instruments and the atmosphere of Istanbul was clear: “This is what we already go through day by day thanks to Manzara Istanbul; it is the coming together of cultures”, summarizes Gabi.
It is an exciting and extraordinary idea to reinterpret this coming together in such a way. The underlying symbolic meaning is also nice: General respect towards the other culture as well as its fests and celebrations. After all, why would anyone not rejoice and have fun with other people? We did just the opposite of this during Eid through collaboration with Unterbiberger Hofmusik orchestra Erdoğan adds.
These projects are proofs of the mutual respect for the fests and traditions of the other culture. It is an alternative way of being intertwined with tradition and culture when the baglama master plays the “O Christmas Tree” or Baverian trumpets are blown during Eid.
Once Manzara İstanbul chose the song “In the Christmas Bakery” to work on. The reason for this was as follows according to Gabi: “An intertwined simit and pretzel is one of our symbols. With this we would like to emphasize the link between these two cultures and what we see as one of our duties: Actualizing this link and enabling intercultural communication. We rolled up our sleeves to emphasize this symbol and started baking.” A Christmas video showing this activity was produced together with the students of the German School two years ago.
Manzara İstanbul’s Christmas videos are extraordinary and magical in their own way. And they tell you through tunes and images so much about the beauty of different cultures coming together… You can listen to many more Christmas songs with Turkish melodies on Vimeo page of Manzara Istanbul.
Text: Marie Hartlieb (Maviblau)