Through the harmonious blend of qanun, oud, kemenche, and percussions, the ‘Spirit of Istanbul’ swept through the streets of London and Manchester this past week. Turkish music masters brought the Spirit of Istanbul to London and Manchester.
In two evenings celebrating the musical heritage of Istanbul, the Spirit of Istanbul Concerts took place at London’s premier hall EartH Theatre and Manchester Cathedral on the 11th and 13th of December 2023, respectively, at 7 pm. While Türkiye’s Ambassador to the UK, HE Mr Osman Koray Ertaş delivered a short speech at the London concert; High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Mary-Liz Walker JP DL , and Türkiye ‘s Consul General in Manchester, Mr Seyfi Onur Sayin also spoke briefly about the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Türkiye at the Manchester concert.
As part of the centenary celebrations of the Republic of Türkiye, the Spirit of Istanbul concerts were meticulously organised under the auspices of Yunus Emre Institute London in collaboration with the Turkish Consulate in Manchester and with the support of Turkish Airlines and Turkish Culture and Tourism Office UK (GoTürkiye). Furthermore, the Manchester leg of the concert series was accomplished through generous sponsorship from prominent establishments, including Cengiz Holding/Iconichem, Ceramica Impex, Bien, Village Market, GEMAK, Etçi Mehmet Steakhouse, and Goss Outdoor.
Bringing together the musical heritage of Istanbul with beautiful works, Türkiye’s leading virtuosos Göksel Baktagir on Qanun, Yurdal Tokcan on Oud, Derya Türkan on Kemenche, and Bülent Elmas on Percussion came together in the concert. Compositions by Göksel Baktagir and Yurdal Tokcan, as well as anonymous pieces, were performed alongside the immortal works of composers like as Abdülkâdir Merâgî, Sultan Selim III, and Tanbûri Cemil Bey during the events.
Both performances drew a large crowd of music fans, including diplomats, community leaders, merchants, and artists from all over the UK as far afield as Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool, Leicester, Stockport etc. These highly acclaimed concerts provided music lovers with a one-of-a-kind and spectacular night of music.