Turkish musicians share culture in Port Townsend; free concert planned Saturday
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Singer Aysenur Kolivar, left, and Onur Senturk, playing the panduri, bring Turkish music to Port Townsend High School on Tuesday. The troupe will visit four schools during its tour of the area and will give a free performance Saturday at the Wheeler Theater in Fort Worden State Park. Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — A Turkish music troupe is touring Port Townsend this week, bringing its culture to local schools before performing in a free concert Saturday.

Aysenur Kolivar, a folk singer from the Black Sea region of northern Turkey, is traveling with a band of three people who perform traditional songs using string, keyboard and percussion.

The songs, passed down through the generations, express happiness and sorrow, Kolivar said.

Centrum is hosting the tour, called “Caravanserai,” which is sponsored by Arts Midwest and funded by the Building Bridges Program of the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

“After 9/11, there was an awareness that something had to be done so Americans have a better understanding of other people in the world,” said tour manager Lindajoy Fenley.

“The idea is to build bridges through music.”

The group appeared at Port Townsend High School on Tuesday morning during first-period orchestra class.

It performed at Grant Street Elementary School on Monday and will play there again Thursday.

It also will perform at Swan School, a private school.

The group will be guests on KPTZ-91.9 FM at 1:15 p.m. Friday.

It will perform in a free concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Joseph Wheeler Theater at Fort Worden State Park.

No tickets will be distributed for the show. Attendees will be seated on a first-come, first-served basis in the 280-seat theater.

Most expenses are covered by the Building Bridges Program.

The only Centrum responsibilities are housing and transportation, according to program manager Peter McCracken.

The sponsorship is what makes the presentation of the free concert possible, he said.

Fenley said the tour was a coveted opportunity for the musicians, who had never been to the U.S. before.

On this trip, the group visited Kansas, Idaho, Alaska and Washington state.

Port Townsend is the final stop on the tour.

After Tuesday’s class, the four musicians traveled to Seattle by van for a shopping trip and a visit to music stores.

Tuesday’s class of about 30 students at first appeared bewildered by the unfamiliar sounds but warmed up to it as the different instruments and songs’ content were explained.

There were some universal experiences.

“When I was very young, I started to play these instruments, but it was not so hard for me because the tunes were in my ears,” said Onur Senturk, who played several stringed instruments along with an instrument that resembled bagpipes.

At the end of the class, students attempted to coax some sounds out of the instruments.

“The high school students get it, but they don’t want you to know they do,” Fenley said.

“They also are a little more involved in the afternoon.”

“The younger kids were rapt and were asking all kinds of questions,” McCracken said of the visit to Grant Street.

“They were totally engaged.”

For more information, visit www.centrum.org.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 06. 2014 7:42PM
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