Kudsi Erguner

Psalms of Yunus Emre

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Psalms of Yunus Emre is a collection by flutist Kudsi Erguner of works of and/or adapted from the poetry of Yunus Emre, perhaps Turkey's foremost Sufist poet, and a contemporary of the great Rumi. The instrumental end of the works is held up by Erguner's ney with its inimitable smoothness, and a small collection of regional drums courtesy of Bruno Caillat, a protégé of the masterful zarb player Djamchid Chemirani. The most outstanding feature though is the vocal ability of Yusuf Bilgin, the son of a muezzin and a muezzin in his own right (one can hear tones related to adhans and Korean recitations here and there). His range and power are both in the upper ranges of the spectrum, able to sing a continuous stream of tone for upward of 30 seconds without a breath, wavering from note to note in an unending glissando. The poetry is largely directly devotional, with Erguner focusing on the concept of Emre as a Sufi (as he has been given many other titles over the centuries), and the music itself stays mainly in the domain of the sparse and powerful, with a single melodic line, no harmonies, and only punctuation-type drumming. The exception here would be the first and last numbers, however, as the drum is used to mimic a full chorus of chanters in a ceremony it would seem, with some noticeable power behind it. For Sufist music in general, there are perhaps better and fuller representations, even by Erguner himself. That said, the vocal prowess of Bilgin makes this album worth hearing in its own right.

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