Salih Korkut Peker, strings man from Turkey.
March 6, 2008 5:56 AM   Subscribe

Whether on fretless electric guitar or fretless Turkish banjo, mister Salih Korkut Peker sounds mighty fine. And here he is again on banjo, getting down on some Turkish grooves with percussionist Gencer Savaş. Sweet! [note: see hoverovers for link descriptions]

And just for good measure (and, you know, to give the drummer some...), here's percussionist Gencer Savaş again, with three other folks (in funny hats!) in a charming rendition of "Sazendeler". Straight outta Turkey!
posted by flapjax at midnite (33 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Cool stuff! Fretless guitar is a beast.

Did you miss out a last link?
posted by chuckdarwin at 6:10 AM on March 6, 2008

Very nice. Now why does that remind me of David Lindley?
posted by Turtles all the way down at 6:13 AM on March 6, 2008

Ah, thanks chuckdarwin, I did indeed! Here it is: Sazendeler. I wonder if the fellow playing the mandolin-type thingie is Salih again?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:17 AM on March 6, 2008

I remember the pre-internet days when finding any kind of music out of my region's consensus tastes took effort, connections, and money. And now I can wake up, open my laptop, and say, 'the Turkish guitar stuff is okay, but I think I'm more in the mood for a fretless banjo with a bluesy, loping groove,' and hey presto. Five-minute chill-out.

This is a wonderful age we live in. I love the Internet. Thanks, man.
posted by ardgedee at 6:21 AM on March 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Wow, this is some great stuff. This guy is really good, too.
The posters of Attaturk are freaking me out. His eyes, man, are eminating light!
posted by NoMich at 7:07 AM on March 6, 2008

Yeah, NoMich, that's some soulful playing there in that link you posted.

This instrument, by the way, which I called a "Turkish banjo" in the FPP, has a proper name, of course. It's a Cümbüş.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:13 AM on March 6, 2008

ardgedee- I agree. and flapjax- thanks for finding all the music you post, it's fantastic.
posted by MNDZ at 7:18 AM on March 6, 2008

More Gencer Savaş on congas solo, apparently from the same funny hats session. He's incredibly fast and has amazing finger control.
posted by doctor_negative at 7:33 AM on March 6, 2008

Excellent Post, and fantastic music, however you really should warn people they will be jonesing for strong coffee and stronger hash upon viewing.
posted by timsteil at 7:45 AM on March 6, 2008

Turtles- David Lindley played cümbüş on a few Warren Zevon tracks.
posted by leapfrog at 8:12 AM on March 6, 2008

Thanks again Flaps.

Are you hip to Jon Catler? Here he is on fretless guitar. (music fades in about the 1:00 mark.)

Catler's been playing microtonal music around NYC since the 1980s. He plays fretless instruments in 19, 31, 49, 64 and other non-western scales.

Cow People (J.C. and the Microtones, 1984) is fantastic, I wish I could find audio for you online. In addition to the Catler brothers, there's Johnny Reinhard on electric bassoon. If Captain Beefheart's early Magic Band had gone microtonal they might've sounded like J.C. and the Microtones.

Turtlesatwd's comment, is interesting. Eastern microtonal music and even theory- driven microtonal stuff like Catler's seems to meet Elmore James back around the other side of something, by way of guys like Lindley, Beefheart, and Ry Cooder.
posted by Herodios at 8:12 AM on March 6, 2008

That breakdown at 1:32 of Turkish is awesome.
posted by Mach5 at 8:18 AM on March 6, 2008

I wasn't impressed with the Turkish fretless banjo stuff; this guy's rhythm is off, he stumbles several times; I kept expecting him to take off but he kept sort of plodding along.

I'm so far not impressed with the guitar stuff. He's sloppy with his muting and you can hear other strings ringing accidentally - sometimes it's on purpose but sometimes not; and he doesn't have very good ideas. And what a lame ending.

He doesn't have any good ideas. He has a reasonable tone, but just one tone, he never plays very fast or very slow, he never plays very loudly or very quietly, he has sloppy fingering and sloppy rhythm but worst worst worst his instruments don't sing.

Lots of fine young guitarists today, like Kaki King - I guess her guitar dances rather than sings, but hey - or if you want "world", Le Trio Joubran (that last video is slightly impaired by random noise from the crowd but I had to include it as I was there!)

(I saw the Catler brother's "Forever Blues Band" and was also not impressed. They haven't done well, so I guess no one else was, either.)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:38 PM on March 6, 2008

I like it when folks offer their well-offered and considered opinions, and some of your points are well-taken, lupus_yonderboy. This post was a bit unusual for me, in that I generally make music posts on solid professional musicians who folks may or may not like, but, generally speaking, their abilities on their respective instruments are unassailable. I was aware when I made this post, however, that here was a musician who is probably semi-pro, and who has some rough edges (I pointed out in one of the hoverovers, for example, that he's out of tune). So I think from this perspective you may be being being a bit hard on him. I also happen to disagree with some of your assessments ("He doesn't have any good ideas" for example). But that he doesn't float your personal boat, well, I have no argument with that!

Interesting selection of videos you linked to as comparisons. Taste is indeed subjective. For example, I found Kaki King's performance rhythmically unappealing: that somewhat gimmicky hammering-on/guitar body-slapping technique was by no means in the pocket. And talk about lack of tone! Also I found her performance rather scattered, idea-wise. She's flashy and very audience-pleasing, but for my money she has none of the warmth or soul in her playing that, well, Salih Korkut Peker has! Otherwise, the oud trio was very lovely, for sure: those are fine players, but I have to take some issue with their being presented like this: "if you want "world""... I personally don't quite understand why their skills at playing oud diminish the validity of Peker's completely different sort of expression. Even if they are from somewhere else in the "world".

But everyone has different tastes, which is a fine thing. There's room for all sorts of music, happily.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:39 PM on March 6, 2008

Holy crap, I wanna fretless guitar now so bad.

lupus, flapjax, boys, boys, isn't there a compromise?
posted by not_on_display at 10:22 PM on March 6, 2008

...isn't there a compromise ?

Jimmy goes "world"! And, hey, he's also a little outta tune, and hits a clam every now and again, so... PERFECT!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:27 PM on March 6, 2008

By which I mean I get to post a really sloppy Jimmy Page vid by accident. Here's Michael Hedges, what I meant...

There goes my hopes of becoming a negotiator.
posted by not_on_display at 10:30 PM on March 6, 2008

Haha, the Page one was apt as well... errp, take either one. 'S all good.
posted by not_on_display at 10:30 PM on March 6, 2008

I could listen to sloppy Jimmy forever.
posted by not_on_display at 10:32 PM on March 6, 2008

Yeah, that Hedges clip is cool, all the more so since it's from 1987. I'd never heard of him, thanks for that.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 10:45 PM on March 6, 2008

Thanks for the kind words, fjam.

I put Kaki King and then Le Trio Joubran to sort of cover all the bases, not because they're massive faves of mine (in fact, I don't have any of Le Trio on CD and one Kaki King somewhere...)

Kaki's got the monster technique and rhythm, and the trio has the monster soul, and rhythm. Plus, they're "young instrumentalists"; I think Kaki will become very interesting as she matures and develops emotional depth.

A clarinet method I read when I was very young said, "Smoothness is the essence of instrumental technique." It took me a long time to appreciate what this really meant.

This guy's a perfectly good instrumentalist; if I went out in Turkey and saw him in a bar, I'd be happy to do so. But he isn't going to "make it" unless he fixes the flaws I pointed out above, or makes something out of those flaws. He doesn't have the great soul, he doesn't have the fast fingers, he doesn't have the unerring rhythm.

The reason to write about these flaws is not to diminish this musician per se but to expose details that you might have missed, and in this case, I believe show lack of greatness. Making you aware of the subtleties will make you MORE appreciative of truly great music.

After all this, I pretty well have to put up or shut up :-D so here's a link to some of my own playing which tries to exemplify a lot of the virtues I've been expousing. I play all the parts; it's definitely multi-tracked and tweaked (all by me) but I basically sat down and played it in.

In particular, there's a lot of crescendos and descrescendos and speed ups and slow downs that I didn't "write" but that naturally came from the material. Because it's supposed to be mysterious and romantic, in the solo parts I'm using a rubato technique where I rush to the top of a line and then dawdle at the last minute to get to the downbeat, very typical of classical music cadenzas. I think it has smoothness, and it think it has heart, and I think there are lot of good ideas -- and I think these musical values are somewhat "objective" even if you don't like the music.

All right, I've really opened myself up for criticism here - lay it on if you like!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:48 PM on March 6, 2008

Loved the Hedges clip, I'd never heard of him either. Crap, dead in a car accident, a loss.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:52 PM on March 6, 2008

Wow, lupus, what a wonderful mess that was. You should put more stuff on MeMu.

And flapjax... I gotta listen to more of your MeMu stuff... the Daniel Johnston song is one of my favorites.

Here's to good music. Finding MeFi, threads like these, has been a blessing to my ears.
posted by not_on_display at 11:13 PM on March 6, 2008

Yeah, there are plenty of flubs and the intonation is a bit approximate here and there, but I feel it has a vibe to it. Which for mine is really the primary thing. Guy's telling the story, a few clams aren't going to ruin it.

Thanks for posting, I enjoyed it.
posted by Wolof at 11:23 PM on March 6, 2008

A wonderful mess indeed! Nice-falling-down-the-stairs quality there! I like the crazy bombast of the rhythm. This would make a wonderful soundtrack to an animated film, I think. I see a big group of little men marching, but continually stumbling over each other, some of them wandering away and rejoining the group, all of them occasionally slamming into some wall, or off a cliff...

Glad you like the Johnston cover, n_o_d.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:23 PM on March 6, 2008

Wolof, jinx!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:24 PM on March 6, 2008

*clinks glass*
posted by Wolof at 11:44 PM on March 6, 2008

Wow, I have to use that.... "a wonderful mess". Very kind of you, I love it. At some point I need to stop writing stupid computer programs and start doing more music...
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:55 PM on March 6, 2008

NOTE: I sent a MySpace message top Salih, introducing him to MetaFilter and letting him know I'd made this post about him. Just got a reply from him:

"thank you very very much friend... i'm feel much better in this cloudy friday )))

i'll be happy if you post this words to metafilter... if you don't want it, nevermind. this words also for you ;)

all of those videos are little "hanging arounds" but also we can say, "first warm up sessions for tasty new projects". i read the critics and i'm so happy to read something honestly about me. thank you all friends, for positive and negative determinations on me. every honest word is a cure for me."

posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:41 AM on March 7, 2008

posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:36 AM on March 7, 2008

That is so cool. Keep it up, Salih!!
posted by not_on_display at 3:57 PM on March 7, 2008

I think Erkan Oğur (he starts playing about halfway into this video) pretty much invented the Turkish-style fretless guitar, and others have taken it up since then.
posted by klausness at 6:20 PM on March 7, 2008

Oh, and as for Salih Korkut Peker, I have to admit that I wasn't really convinced by his fretless guitar stuff, but I liked the cümbüş playing (especially the songs with Gencer Savaş).
posted by klausness at 6:51 PM on March 7, 2008

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