Sunday, February 15, 2009


Second Week in Istanbul

It’s been two weeks now since we arrived in Istanbul and there’s been plenty of action to report!

TV appearances
Okay Temiz was going around the TV stations a couple days before the big show and he invited me to join him! On the first show I was interviewed and then I got to play a solo! On the second show me and Okay and a couple amazing drummers from Bulgaria traded fours! It was really fun!

On February 11th I got to perform my composition “Karsilama” in front of 2000 people! It was Okay Temiz’s 70th birthday concert. This was a huge sold out event, and it was such an honor that he invited us to play in it! All of the girls (me, natalia, Amanda, adama and Veronique) did a great job and the piece was very well received!

Us Backstage right before we played!

Our performance! The other musicians were on stage behind us

Close up of our performance

Us with Okay Temiz right after the show!

Lessons w Binyamin
My lessons with Binyamin are going great! I have a six hour lesson every other day and then every other day I practice. My left hand is getting the workout of its life!


Natalia and I have also been going to the studio every night from around 11 –3am to practice! Then we go out for French fries with sweet ketchup and carrot juice at 4am. (I love how when you’re abroad you do things you would NEVER do at home!)
I don’t think I ever played so much in my life! Binyamin’s studio seems to be a hang out for all the greatest drummers in Turkey. All these cat’s that I’ve been hearing about (Suat, Hamdi Aketai, ect) hang out there so I get to jam with everyone! Many of the drummers here have seen me play on you tube, so they come around to the studio to meet me. Everyone is extremely welcoming and nice to me here.

Binyamin plays the skin drum and puts a light in it to heat it up! It looks cool!

The Hamam (Turkish Bath House
Somebody didn’t pay the water bill in our apartment so they shut off our water a few days ago and it won’t be back for another couple days! So we thought it was a good excuse to check out the Hamam! The Hamam is a public bath house. In the old days people didn’t have showers in their apartments – they all bathed at the hamam. It was a beautiful ritual and a nice way to connect to your community and get pampered. So we checked out a small local Hamam (not touristic at all). it’s not the most beautiful one ive ever seen, but its cheap and the guy gives a killer scrub and massage. For the massage you lay on this warm marble block and he covers you in suds and then massages you. it’s really lovely! We’ve been going to all the neighbors with big buckets and borrowing water from them. We’ve been also using the bathroom at starbucks (I’m ashamed to say I use this situation as an excuse to get soy lattes)

Jam with Emin
Emin, the famous maker of dumbeks has his shop right down the street. There’s always people jamming there. He likes me a lot (maybe cause of that naked picture of me behind an Emin dumbek that he keeps in his drawer) . But anyway its always fun to go there and jam.

Us with Emin in his store

The Quest for Misirli Ahmet Continues

Still no luck meeting Misirli Ahmet but I’m determined to at least meet him once before I leave. It’s unbelievable how much I hear his name! He’s really a legend among drummers here!

Dinner Partys

Okay Temiz came over to our house for a dinner party! We turned our ping pong table into a dinner table and made a feast. Fabio came too. We all had a fabulous time playing music, eating and drinking wine!

Our fabulous dinner party!

Also our Italian boyfriend Fabio likes to come over and cook for us. He makes a mean pasta dinner!

Fabio making vegan pasta!

Check out Adama's video blogs at!

Friday, February 06, 2009


First Week in Istanbul

Merhaba! It’s been almost a week since we arrived in Istanbul so I thought it was about time for a blog entry!

The apartment that we found on Craig’s list is a dream come true! It’s so comfortable and there is plenty of room for all five of us (me, Adama, Natalia, Amanda and Veronique). The kitchen is incredible and there are two bathrooms, wireless internet, central heating and all the comforts you could ask for! Natalia and I have the master bedroom with the nicest bathroom I’ve ever seen! We each have our own sink!

Galata Neighborhood

And the Galata neighborhood – a musicians fairy land! We have not left our neighborhood this whole week because everything and everybody is within a ten minute walk from our flat! All the music stores, all the music celebrities, all the great teachers and all the live music venues are a short hop away! I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t leave this neighborhood for the whole month!

All of the streets in our neighborhood are windy and cobble stone and there are tons of cafes , grocery stores , restaurants and plenty of great musicians playing on the street. There are very steep hills in the neighborhood. By the end of the month we will all have very nice butts!

The Dumbek Chic Posse Walking Around Their Hood

Celebrities in the Neighborhood

So far anyone we hoped to meet happens to be right here in Galatta! Here are some of the celebrities we’ve been hanging with:

Okay Temiz

Okay Temiz is one of the cutest people on the planet. He is a world known percussionist who has released countelss albums, one of which is my top five favorite albums of all time – Zurnas and Darbukas. I met him after his show at Lincoln Center several years ago and we’ve kept in touch. He has an amazing atelier right around the corner from us.

The girls and I went to meet him and we performed for him a piece that we’ve been working on that’s actually inspired by a piece on his album Zurnas and Darbukas! He couldn’t believe it!

Performing for Okay Temiz

Next week is Okay’s 70th birthday and he’s giving a big rhythm concert with drummers from all over the world to celebrate and guess who he invited to perform in it…….. Us! We will play the piece called Karsilama in the second half of the show! woo hoo! He’s being very nice to us and seems to want to hang out with us every night!

Selim Sesler

Selim Sesler is one of the greatest gypsy clarinetists in the world and he plays for free right in our hood several nights a week! We’ve already seen pichim play twice. Every night we see amazing live music!

Missirli Ahmet

Missirli Ahmet has a darbuka school right on our street! They have a very specific style. They only play on the clay and skin drums. They don’t let people join in the middle of their course, but it was nice to hang out there and see the beautiful school. They are very protective about their style – they don’t let the students record, video tape or even take notes! They won’t even let us observe the classes!

Missirli Ahmet’s Brother Hikmet Checking Out My Style at the School.

My Fabulous Teacher Benjamin

I’m having the best dumbek lessons of my life! Natalia and I went to meet this drummer Binyamin who was recommended to us. We ended up staying there for five hours! He gave us so many exercises – I filled up eight pages of my notebek! I haven’t felt so pushed in a long time! It’s ALL about the left hand! I’m gonna take a lesson with him every other day and then every other day practice. Today it took me four hours just to go over everything we did in the lesson! He doesn’t speak a work of English but its okay and he sends me text messages in Turkish telling me to practice! How cute! I’m very excited about studying with him.


The girls found a nice dumbek teacher to give them group lessons. His name is Hakan and he has a cool studio in our neighborhood.

Other Friends so Far


David is a sweet guy from Ohio that has been living in Istanbul for three years studying dumbek and teaching English. He’s been helping us acclimate here, taking us around, giving us advice and introducing us to good people.


Fabio is a nutty Italian percussionist working for Okay Temiz. We hang out with him a lot. He’s really fun as long as you don’t let him drink too much Raki.

Fabio Drinking Raki

Other Interesting Odds and Ends

Upcoming Shows in the Middle East

Wednesday Feb 11th. 8:00pm
Okay Temiz Birthday Concert
(212) 231 54 97-8
CRR Concert Hall
CRR - Cemal Resit Rey Konser Salonu
Darülbedai Caddesi, Harbiye
Istanbul. Turkey

Thursday March 12, 2009
Alexandria Library
Great Hall
Alexandria, Egypt

Wednesday, March 18th
Ewart Hall
Cairo, Egypt

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


Istanbul, Ready or Not, Here We Come!

We are about to embark on a wonderful adventure! Me, Natalia, Adama ,
Amanda and Veronique will spend the next month in Istanbul!

We've already secured an amazing apartment in Galata which is the
center of the music neighborhood with all the music shops, studios and
night clubs!

We've also arranged to take lessons with Misirli Ahmet, the inventor
of the Turkish Split Hand Technique!

I got my dumbek, kemenche, poi, fake hair and all of my cutest
outfits. I plan to learn Turkish on the plane ride over with some
Turkish language books I got (it's like 12 hours so I'll be totally
fluent by the time I arrive). I already know how to say "Turk gem
choc boktan" which means "my turkish is shit" and a few other useful

So wish us luck! If you want to be notified when a blog is bosted,
sign up on the left of the screen.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?