June 15, 2024

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Interview with Gülşah Erol: Jazz is an endless world and the most meaningful and beautiful side of music: Video

Jazz interview with jazz composer and cellist Gülşah Erol. An interview by email in writing. 

JazzBluesNews.com: – First, let’s start out with where you grew up, and what got you interested in music. How exactly did your adventure take off? When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of?

 When did you realize that this was a passion you could make a living out of? 

Gülşah Erol: – I always felt that I was different from the people around me, but I couldn’t explain this to myself and especially to my family. My friends and people I found close to me didn’t love me, and I was constantly dealing with problems created by people in my life. I saw that the more I loved people, the more people disliked me. I had a very sad childhood. I grew up in Eskişehir. When I was 3-4 years old, I used to do ballet holding on to the armrests of my little wooden bed. There was a famous TV series back then. Wind of Lie, I used to dance to his music. My family must have seen my interest in music and dance in that way for the first time at that time. When I was in the 3rd grade of primary school on 1993, I took the conservatory exams and was selected for the cello department. I couldn’t play classical music very well because I had a bad cello during my university years. By the way, I still play with the same cello. When I couldn’t play classical music as I wanted, I was improvising and relaxing myself. I was sure that one day I would travel the world with a cello on my back. But I didn’t expect it to be like this.

JBN: – How has your sound evolved over time? What have you been doing to find and develop your own sound?

GE: – Because I have a bad cello, strange noises were heard when playing. I started to find these sounds meaningful after a while and added them as sounds to my improvisations. I had sound richness without disturbing my classical technique and my own voices began to form involuntarily. Later on, with my discovery of contemporary music, I transformed those sounds into a more meaningful one and started free improvisation. In time, after accompanying all kinds of music, I became interested in jazz. nowadays I try to base all my improvisations on blues and jazz. For this, I use every resource I can get my hands on. I experience famous and important saxophone solos, bass solos or some jazz walkes on the cello. I try to bring my classical technique closer to jazz bassists and try to put aside the soul I have acquired before and create a new soul.

JBN: – What routine practices or exercises have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical proficiency, in terms of both rhythm and harmony?

GE: – I practice all the scales regularly and I improvise at the same time while listening to the bow techniques, especially the music I like. I try to be included in every music. I have out-of-the-box working techniques, I study the works, exercises and solos of other instruments. I make an effort to accompany and understand musicians who are better than myself. I often improvise after exercise and try to try out what I’ve learned. I don’t try to imitate, I always try to reveal myself.

JBN: – Have you changed through the years? Any charges or overall evolution? And if so why?

GE: – I had a very popular time in Turkey for a short period of time. Afterwards, I had great problems because of life, people and my wrong choices. I had major depressions from time to time, but then I made good productions and got up again. Most things I want happen, but now I wish to be in Europe more and I wish to accompany good musicians on stronger stages. I love the world of free jazz, and apart from my own music, I have a band called where I do free jazz. So far, I have had the opportunity to work and perform with names such as Peter Brötzmann, Joe McPhee, Ab Baars, Wolter Wierbos, Andreas Kaling, Bart Maris, Jim Black.

It is not possible to improvise freely in Turkey, and the world of sound that I put forward as a solo performance does not appeal to people in Turkey. That’s why I wanted to create a new project where I could feed classical music with jazz. jazz has gained ground in Turkey, more precisely in Istanbul, but other experimental works are not yet attracting attention.

JBN: – How do you prepare for your recordings and performances to help you maintain both spiritual and musical stamina?

GE: – I’m in a very unsympathetic environment, I usually put a lot of effort into making my music. People are so disrespectful. they are always trying to drain my energy, i see bad behavior all the time, most people force me to be unqualified. I really try very hard to protect myself and therefore I am very lonely. I have a few good musician friends. I wouldn’t be able to breathe without them. I try to move forward by staying in the moment, believing in myself, without thinking about the future as much as possible. I have a really tough life.

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JBN: – In your opinion, what’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?

GE: – Love! If you love to do something, you can bring it to life no matter what. It is my love for music that keeps me in balance. I didn’t lose my mind because I worked with love, I was out of balance but it was because of people. What helped me find my balance again was my love for music. I love all aspects of art and creativity and it keeps my mind. If I wasn’t doing this job, people could drive me crazy or even kill me. I am tired and unhappy, but I am happy when I see what I have produced. I succeeded, despite all the bad, I succeeded.

JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; are you okay with delivering people the emotion they long for?

GE: – Since I was a child, I always wanted to touch people’s hearts in my music. I thought that if I could remind them of their longings, I could touch their conscience more. Özlem hurts the conscience and one realizes where he went wrong. Conscience brings people closer to the person they should be. I don’t like unscrupulous people and I know they can’t understand anything nice. But life is greater than that unscrupulousness, and one day even the most unscrupulous will learn to be conscientious.

JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of standard tunes are half a century old?

GE: – Whatever music musicians grow up with, that music has a place in their future. The music they listen to determines the future of every musician. For this reason, families should approach this issue carefully. It is important that they reveal what is in them instead of repeating the usual things. Jazz is an endless world and the most meaningful and beautiful side of music. To understand this, it is necessary to listen to a lot of jazz and reach out to every field of jazz. A musician who wants to be free must be interested in jazz. they have to work hard to enjoy it. It is important to learn classical jazz, but when this is imposed on a musician, it becomes meaningless. The important thing is that the musician reveals his own soul with the good technical knowledge he has learned. walking towards eternity with jazz, with strong knowledge learned. Every musician should experience this.

JBN: – John Coltrane once said that music was his spirit. How do you perceive the spirit and the meaning of life?

GE: – What we create, what we do that makes life meaningful. I have never seen beauty from anyone except good-hearted musicians and loyal listeners. The world is a beautiful place, but people are bad. cruel, arrogant, ugly, disrespectful and selfish. If you’re talented and successful, few people like you because people usually look for happiness in superficial things. whereas true happiness is what you add to the world. that is, to create a beauty. and every person can create beauty by using their hands, mind and heart. but instead they want to consume more, spend more, shred, destroy and eat more. The more they want them, the more unhappy they become, and their admiration for creative people turns into anger and jealousy, because whatever the creators do, they do good things and they don’t give up. They continue to produce whether they are happy or not, and they do it just because they love it. perhaps the greatest envy of the general public is the infinite love that the creators have inside. As far as I can see, people are without love, intoxicated with love for matter and people, and they even see each other as a meal. the moment they are full, the moment they consume, they become unhappy and are looking for a new person. his eyes are really blind. their hearts are truly blind and their souls very evil.

The meaning of life is neither in a person nor in a substance. the meaning of life is nature in its most natural form that creates life! and naturally composed music is nature’s greatest gift to man. therefore my reason for living is music, my soul, heart and mind exist only for him. I try to be a nice and good person, the person of this world is not for me, but the talent I have makes this world bearable. I am very aware that I was born for this.

JBN: – If you could change one single thing in the musical world and that would become reality, what would that be?

GE: – I could to purify people from all kinds of commercial music made to be famous, and to eliminate the hierarchy. I would destroy the layers formed between the public and the artist, and ensure that all people are raised as artists at the same time. because the real artist is an intellectual, he strives to make the world a more beautiful and better place. close to nature, in harmony with nature. cares about spiritual values, not dependent on substance. The problem of the whole world is this hierarchy. Everyone is trying to be someone important, whereas everyone is one and important anyway. any job, no status should matter. only what matters is what we give to the world and how we feed it right. We are breathing in a really bad world order, changing it is changing everything. equality, everything should be equality. It is necessary to drive people away from greed, evil greed rules the world and they are never satisfied. In an order where everyone is equal, maybe this evil ambition can be controlled.

JBN: – Whom do you find yourself listening to these days?

GE: – It’s 04:21 and I write this interview with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland and Brian Blade – JazzBaltica 2004 performances.

I dreamed Wayne Shorter once and I still can’t forget that dream. It gave my dreams the first grand master. No one else entered. Then I listened live in 2016. This is a big chance! I would love to meet him, but he was very tired and I was discouraged.

Brian Blade, on the other hand, I love very much, the whole projects intrigues me. At the beginning of the interview, I listened Abdul Wadud Solo Cello album, then Anthony Davis, James Newton and Abdul Wadud – “Rivers I Know” 1982 album. I listen to Lars Danielsson a lot, whenever I’m bored, I open up. I always, always listen to Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Sometimes I read their words to life and music, I share. Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans, Ron Carter, Oscar Pettiford, Doug Watkins, John Surman, Ray Brown are the ones I listen to.

JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?

GE: – Kindness is honesty and fairness. To approach love with purity is to protect and develop it. I wish to live in a better world. I’m tired of people’s wickedness. Wishing to live in a better world.  I am tired of political concepts and impositions. I’m tired of not being able to live freely as a woman, of the violence, the oppression.  I’m tired of an unjust order, the value not given to people, the pleasure of the rich. May the good win!

JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine: where and why would you really want to go?

GE: – Now I have to get away from this country and all the bad people and take me to a place surrounded by the best, most beautiful people in the world and make music with them and for them. I don’t want to go back in time because there is so much war, pain and struggle. Leave me to a place that is more productive, more peaceful, close to nature, living in harmony with nature, without ambition, where there is no competition. I must go to that place that cares about spiritual values, where wealth is surrounded by good feelings and emotions.

JBN: – So far, it’s been me asking you questions, now may I have a question from yourself…

GE: – Wouldn’t we be living a better life if REAL, benevolent artists could rule the world?

JBN: – I don’t think so, the country is political and good politicians govern correctly. You made a very emotional and abstract interview, but it’s good that you are honest, but not to the end, unfortunately. You did not want to cooperate with us, which is the same that you will not cooperate with dozens of jazz festivals in Europe and the United States, of which I am the main organizer. 

JBN: – At the bottom line, what are your expectations from our interview?

GE: – It would be nice to reach good, beautiful, helpful people and artists who strive to make the world a better place. I hope this interview will help me win them over.

Interview by Simon Sargsyan

Gülşah Erol: Duygum, müziğim, kimliğim birilerine ulaşmalı | Back on Stage

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