Saturday, January 26, 2013

Kel Hamza

"Kel" Hamza Şenses
12" x 12", oil on masonite, 2013
Kel Hamza, one of the three singers that are featured on the CD Master Musicians of Urfa, might be the least colorful one of them (and therefore the least likely to be included in the Top 100) but ends up making the most of an impression on me. Hamza's appearance and sound are relatively polished. He was literate, well dressed, and a gentleman. The song Kışlalar Doldu Bugün, one of the songs featured in an article in the blog Bodega Pop, went straight into the list of my "100 greatest songs heard in the year". When the article appeared in April last year, all three singers (the others are Mukim Tahir and Bekçi Bakir) were raking in the points in my ranking system, and the CD is found high in the list of albums for the year. Urfa (or Şanlıurfa) is a city in Southern Turkey near the Syrian border famed for it's rich musical traditions. It's also known for its conservatism, which probably helps if it comes to the survival of old traditions. (One of the many contradictions of my life that make up the character that I am is my love for conservation while in social life and politics I favor the opposite.) Kel (meaning bald) Hamza Şenses was born in 1904 and died in 1939 as a result of a fall after being beaten in a brawl. 

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