Murat Aydemir and Salih Bilgin's collaboration Nevâ, released on Golden Horn Records, is a work of musical juxtapositions. The ney and tanbur, seldom played in duo, have very different aesthetics. The sensuous ney, beloved instrument of the Mevlevi Sufis, is often compared to the beauty of the human voice. The scholarly tanbur, on the other hand, is considered expressive of the classical Ottoman/Turkish repertoires. Yet as tanbur master and foremost expert on Turkish classical music, Necdet Yasar, remarks about Nevâ, "Aydemir and Bilgin successfully interweave the music of tanbur and ney." Murat Aydemir's musical life is deeply influenced by Tanburi Cemil Bey. The album's title, Nevâ, pays homage not only to Tanburi Cemil Bey's "Nevâ Pesrevi" (the opening track), but also to the sounds and songs carried by musicians and their instruments through the generations - nevâ.
In keeping with nevâ, Aydemir and Bilgin's repertoire presents works spanning several hundred years in traditional and modern interpretations. Cantemir's regal "Pençgâh Pesrevi," composed in the late 17th century, represents the oldest work on the album. "Pençgâh Pesrevi" makes an interesting contrast to the album's late-romantic era Turkish classical pieces, such as the rarely performed and sadly overlooked "Nevâ Pesrevi" composed by Tanburi Cemil Bey. Modern interpretations of classical styles of improvisation are interspersed throughout the album, including three "Müsterek Taksim" on tracks 2, 7, and 9. The unusual performance of "Fihrist Taksim" on track 4 gives listeners a rare opportunity to hear the subtle differences between modes in the Rast family (normally, improvisations move only between modes in unrelated families). Finally, several tracks accentuate the individual instruments, such as "Ussak Sazsemaisi," composed by ney master Aziz Dede. The tanbur used in this recording was made by master Sacit Gürel and the ney was made by Salih Bilgin. The ney and tanbur are supported by the daf (frame drum).
Murat Aydemir is best known for his work with Incesaz, one of the hottest combos performing new interpretations of Turkish popular and classical music. He began his studies at Istanbul Technical University's Conservatory, under Tanburi Necip Gülses. He has performed with the prestigious Ministry of Culture's Government Ensemble, formed and directed by Necdet Yasar, who represents the link from Tanburi Cemil Bey and his son Mesut Cemil in terms of school and sound. Aydemir has also been a member of the Ministry of Culture's Classical Music Chorus in Istanbul.
Salih Bilgin is one of the leading ney virtuosos in Turkey today. Bilgin is the primary student of Niyazi Say?n, the greatest living ney player and an expert on Mevlevi Sufi music, with whom he still studies ney making, ebru (marbling), and tesbih (prayer beads). He has performed internationally with the Romeiko Ensemble, the Istanbul Tasavvuf Music and Semah Ensemble, and the Istanbul Government Classical Music Chorus. His extensive recording work brought him into collaboration with Melihat Gülses, Alaaeddin Yavasça, Derya Türkan, and Huseyin Tuncel. He performs with the Cantemir Ensemble, who provided the accompanying CDs to the authoritative "Kantemiroglu Edvari" and "Türk Musikisinde Makamlar (The Makams of Turkish Music)."