meet West African kora
– Frankfurt Journal
(at Baltimore Avenue)
Philadelphia, PA 19143
The Mehmet Polat Trio is a spiritual yet adventurous meeting of three masters of their magical instruments: ney, kora and oud rooted in Ottoman, Anatolian, Balkan and West African music traditions. Their original compositions are colored by daring improvisations and grooves, presented in an atmosphere of chamber music. The Mehmet Polat Trio invites you to a sincere musical journey from the past to the present.
Mehmet Polat was born and raised in Urfa, Turkey, and studied Ottoman music in Istanbul. His new approach to the oud – a close relative of the lute common not only in Turkey but also North Africa, the Arab world, and the Caucusus — and his broadened vision towards music making brought him to Amsterdam in 2007, where he collaborated and experimented with many other musicians from around the world and became fascinated by the inner world and spiritual side of African music, especially the timbre of the harp-like kora. With kora as the earth element, oud as space and ney as air, the idea of Mehmet Polat Trio was born.
Victor Sams was born and raised in the Dutch Antilles, and grew up playing reggae. Seeking to learn more of his African roots, he studied kora in Mali. In addition to several percussion instruments, he plays kamale ngoni, a small kora first used in Wassoulou popular music in the 1960s and derived from the ancient ceremonial donso ngoni (hunter’s harp) of southern Mali.
Ney player Pelin Başar studied classical Turkish music and composition in Istanbul, was an accompanist for the Turkish State Choir of Samsun, and now lives in Paris. She joined the trio in 2016. The ney, a type of reed flute, is one of the most ancient instruments of Turkey and the region and an important solo instrument in both secular classical Turkish music and the ritual music of the Mevlevi Sufi order.