All About Jazz - Articles (02.03.2015)
Burak Kaya: Climate Change (2015) By Chris Mosey

Published: March 2, 2015 - 4 Stars »» »»


Turkish guitarist Burak Kaya sees climate change as the greatest challenge facing mankind. On the sleeve of his album of the same name, he cites a Cree proverb: "Only when the last tree has been cut down, the last river has been poisoned and the last fish has been caught, will man finally realize that we cannot eat money."

He offers this disk as a ray of light in an increasingly dark world. The label and cover pictures by teenage Filipino artist Trisha Co Reyes show a little girl drawing back grey curtains decorated with skulls and the stumps of felled trees to reveal a magical world of animals and plants saved from extinction.

Some idea of Kaya's commitment may be gained from his description of the opening song,"Activists." He says it is a tribute to "environmental activists from different parts of the world who have set off from their own region to fight for the future of the whole planet."

"Gezi Park," "Hasankeyf" and "Gerze" are all Turkish ecological flashpoints. "Emek Movie Theater" celebrates a building from 1884 by architect Alexandre Vallaury which was torn down in 2013, victim of President Recep Tayip Erdogan's almost manic desire that Turkey should be seen to be part of the modern world.

"Tree Cutter Bridge" celebrates the forests to the north of Istanbul threatened by the construction of the third Bosphorus bridge, which began in 2013, and "HES Off" describes the damage inflicted on the Turkish environment by hydroelectric schemes.

Few can doubt his sincerity when it comes to the environment, but what of Kaya's music? He's an accomplished guitarist but as a composer relies a little too heavily on harmony. Most of his songs are complex chord clusters linked by runs. Melody is neglected.

Parts of "Gezi Park," "Hasankeyf" and the title track break this mould to excellent effect and hint tantalisingly at the possibility of greater things further down the line.

If, that is, we're permitted to get there by the people busy wrecking the planet in defiance of that Cree proverb.

Track Listing: Eylemcller (Activists); Gezi Parki (Gezi Park); Hasankeyf; Emek Sinemasi (Emek Movie Theater); HES’ Tir Git (HE’S Off); Agackesen Koprusu (Tree Cutter Bridge); Istanbul Bisiklet Yollari (Istanbul Cycleways); Iklim Degisikligi (Climate Change); Gerze.

Personnel: Burak Kaya: guitar; Ozan Musluoglu: Yinon Muallem: percussion.

Record Label: Self Produced

Style: Modern Jazz

Chris Mosey, 02 Mart 2015
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