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Rebetiko: music without frontiers
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 04 Sep 2008 Thu 04:42 am

A cross-culture celebration

For Londoners, Turkey is now no longer a mysterious presence at the edge of Europe but almost a familiar cultural identity. An audience at a Stoke Newington Green (north London) concert of the music group Nihavend had a chance to listen to Turkish and Ottoman music celebrating Istanbul one night when, outside in the streets of Stoke Newington (home to a large Turkish community), there was tension. It was resolved as the concertgoers emerged into a pandemonium of honking car horns and waving Turkish flags: Turkey had just beaten the Czech Republic in the Euro 2008 football tournament.

Down the road at the Arcola Theatre, the Orient Express festival was under way, its aim to support the people of the Sulukule (Water Tower) quarter of Istanbul, whose houses are about to be demolished to make way for urban development along the shores of the Golden Horn. In 2010 Istanbul will be European Capital of Culture, and slum clearance – at least in the tourist zones – is high on the agenda. But Sulukule is home to a long-standing Roma community. Historically it has been a focus of popular musical culture, where Istanbuliots like to go for a good night out. So political and cultural activists are organising to resist the clearance, and globalised diaspora politics makes it unsurprising to find the campaigning to save Sulukule has spread to north London.

http://mondediplo.com/2008/08/06music

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