FolkWorld #63 07/2017
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Article in German Article in Turkish

BaBa ZuLa XX

BaBa ZuLa

Artist Video BaBa ZuLa @ FolkWorld:

BaBa ZuLa is a Turkish alternative musical group, founded in Istanbul in 1996. With a wide variety of influences and a wide range of instruments, they create a unique psychedelic sound.


Founded in 1996, the band features Levent Akman and Osman Murat Ertel till today. Latest incarnation added Periklis Tsoukalas, Melike Şahin and Özgür Çakırlar. The other founder member Emre Onel was replaced by Coşar Kamçı in 2005. He was replaced by Özgür Çakırlar in 2012. BaBa ZuLa added live drawing artist Ceren Oykut into the mix in 2004. She left the band in 2010. Her presence onstage had added an important visual aspect to BaBa ZuLa's live performances. Akman, Ertel, and Onel originally formed BaBa ZuLa as a side project of now disbanded psychedelic Anatolian rock group ZeN.

Group started performing internatıonally with Kumanova Jazz Festival in 2003 and gradually started building an international audience as well as a cult following in Turkey.

In 2005 BaBa ZuLa was exposed to a wider international audience when they were featured in a documentary, Crossing the Bridge by Fatih Akin, which took an in-depth look at Istanbul's contemporary and avant-garde music scene.

Musical style

BaBa ZuLa: XX

Described as "Turkey’s most beloved alternative music purveyors" Baba Zula create a unique psychedelic sound, combining Traditional Turkish instruments, electronica, reggae and dub. The core of their sound is the saz, a Turkish bouzouki-like stringed instrument with a bright, high-pitched sound.

They use a revolutionary approach to electric saz combining it both with retro and hi end electronic effects that creates an original sound that was not present before them.

BaBa ZuLa have performed at festivals such as the The Spirit of Tengri (Almaty, Kazakhstan), Images of Middle East (multi-city Denmark tour), Roskilde Festival (Denmark), Sofia Film Festival (Bulgaria), Klinkende Munt Festival (Belgium), Printemps de Bourges (France), Cologne Triennale (Germany), Şimdi/Now Festival (Germany), Arezzo Wave Festival (Italy), the Venice Biennial (Italy), the Boost Festival (Netherlands) and the Era Nowe Horyzonty (Wrocław, Poland).

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Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.

Date: June 2017.

Photo Credits: (1)-(2) BaBa ZuLa (by Gülbabamüzik/Wikipedia).

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