Hasretim - Journey to Anatolia

Marc Sinan, Dresdner Sinfoniker, Traditional musicians from Turkey and Armenia


In 2009, Guitarist and composer Marc Sinan embarked on an unusual journey, its route leading from the Black Sea coast, where his grandparents lived, to the Armenian border. En route he located and filmed traditional musicians, players whose craft is dying today, capturing a music that speaks of restlessness and temperament, and bears the footprints of Anatolia’s cultural and ethnic diversity. In Hasretim, Marc Sinan’s musical findings are integrated into his own contemporary music for mixed ensemble (orchestrated and arranged by Andrea Molino) with Turkish and Armenian guests. Premiered as a “musical installation for orchestra and video documents”, Hasretim received an award from the German UNESCO Commission in 2011. The present CD/DVD package incorporates two full length (audio and DVD) performances of Hasretim, plus the field recordings made by Sinan and Dresdner Sinfoniker director Markus Rindt on their journey, which open a window on a fascinating musical world.

Hasretim ("My Longing") ist ein multimediales Forschungsprojekt und eine musikalische Reise auf der Suche nach kultureller Identität: 2009 brachen der in Berlin lebende Gitarrist und Komponist Marc Sinan zu einer ungewöhnlichen Reise auf, deren Route ihn von der Schwarzmeerküste, wo seine Großeltern gelebt hatten, an die armenische Grenze führte. Unterwegs spürte er Meister der traditionellen Musik auf, deren Kunst heute im Sterben begriffen ist, und filmte sie. Dabei fing er eine Musik ein, die von urwüchsigem Temperament kündet und die Spuren der kulturellen und ethnischen Vielfalt Anatoliens trägt. „Hasretim“ vereint Sinans musikalische Funde unter Beteiligung der Dresdner Sinfoniker mit seiner eigenen zeitgenössischen Musik für ein gemischtes Ensemble (orchestriert und arrangiert von Andrea Molino) mit türkischen und armenischen Gästen. In einer Premiere als „musikalische Installation für Orchester und Video-Dokumente“ vorgestellt, wurde „Hasretim“ 2011 mit einem Award der deutschen UNESCO-Kommission ausgezeichnet. Die vorliegende CD/DVD enthält zwei komplette „Hasretim“-Performances sowie die Field Recordings, die Sinan und der Dirigent der Dresdner Sinfoniker, Markus Rindt, auf ihrer Reise machten und die ein Fenster zu einer faszinierenden musikalischen Welt öffnen.
Featured Artists Recorded


Original Release Date


  • CD 1
  • Hasretim
    (Marc Sinan, Traditional)
  • 1Prolog05:02
  • Hasretim: Tableau I - Ordu
    (Marc Sinan, Traditional)
  • 2Ordu Taksimi02:28
  • 3Asiye nin Gurbeti02:09
  • 4Gayri Dayanamam02:35
  • 5Boztepe'nin Basinda03:19
  • Hasretim: Tableau II - Yayla
    (Marc Sinan, Traditional)
  • 6Kara Koyun Horlatmasi03:30
  • 7Doyulurmu, Doyulurmu (Neset Ertas)02:54
  • Hasretim: Tableau III - Trabzon
    (Marc Sinan, Traditional)
  • 8Ismail'in Sinan'la Atismasi02:53
  • 9Sürmene'de Kar02:44
  • 10Acisu Horonu02:25
  • Hasretim: Tableau IV - Erzurum
    (Marc Sinan, Traditional)
  • 11Asik Eminoglu Hicivi04:35
  • 12In Memory of Vahide10:02
  • 13Askale Tanzara03:50
  • Hasretim: Tableau V - Kars
    (Marc Sinan, Traditional)
  • 14Asik Günay Yildiz ve Asik05:10
  • 1599 Beautiful Names03:54
  • Hasretim
    (Marc Sinan, Traditional)
  • 16Epilog05:23
  • CD 2
  • 1Intro/Credits [without music]
  • 2Hasretim
    (Marc Sinan, Traditional)
  • 3Field Recordings from Anatolia
  • 4Photo Documentary [without music]
“Hasretim” (“My Longing”) is a unique project. In 2010, guitarist-composer Marc Sinan, together with Dresdner Sinfoniker director Markus Rindt, undertook a journey to Anatolia. Sinan’s mother’s family had originally come from the Turkish Black sea coast, so this was a kind of homecoming, as well as a search for musical roots and cultural identity. It was also more than this.

Before setting out, the travelers had asked themselves some fundamental musical-philosophical questions. Such as: why don’t contemporary Turkish composers and players look to their incredibly rich folk traditions for inspiration? As Sinan asks, “Why is there no National School?” Where are the Turkish composers documenting regional music and incorporating it into other musical forms? Where is the language of contemporary music that can trace its roots back to the court music of the sultans, or which has evolved from folk forms?

Over the course of many weeks on their journey from the Black Sea coast to the borders of Armenia, they considered these matters as they located and filmed traditional musicians, attempting to penetrate their music and to document it while it is still with us. In the cities, they observed, the old “singer-songwriter” clubs are simple teahouses today. “It is only seldom that one meets young musicians there such as kemençe player Mesut Kurt from Trabzon or singer Asiye Göl from Ordu. Very few of them are able to make a living with their music, yet they play with great lightness and virtuosity. Their music speaks of restlessness and temperament and bears the footprints of Anatolia’s cultural and ethnic diversity.”

The field recordings incorporated here are powerful and moving performances which, on the DVD, can be experienced both in their original context and integrated into the contemporary music which Sinan – with the aid of arranger-orchestrator-conductor Andrea Molino – subsequently created for the Dresdner Sinfoniker and its guest soloists.
In this two-disc set, the CD features a live performance of the Hasretim project at the Schleswig Holstein Music Festival in 2011, while the DVD includes the premiere performance from Hellerau in 2010. Sinan originally referred to his extended composition – which was awarded the Welthorizont special prize by the German Commission for UNESCO – as a ‘musical installation’: indeed, video and sound projections of the field recordings are ‘installed’ as crucial components of the presentation. At the same time the orchestration makes a case for the timelessness of the local recordings; depending on context they can sound archaic or cutting-edge. As Sinan notes, the compound time signatures commonplace in Turkish traditional music are still a challenge for professional players in the West. And Western improvisers have only latterly begun to deploy, as extended instrumental technique, the circular breathing second nature to Turkish players of the kaval, or the zurna.

The musicians of the field recordings have learned from aural tradition, passing along the sounds and techniques and musical values of their elders, bypassing formal training. In contrast, the Turkish guests in the concert recordings, the musicians augmenting the Dresdner Sinfoniker, are all schooled professionals. With their knowledge of various regional musical idioms as well as familiarity with western notation and music theory their presence provides a bridge to the rawer sounds of the rural players and singers. Ultimately, listeners may find themselves considering not only a juxtaposition of cultures but also the music’s expressive ability to unite players of diverse backgrounds. Or as the Süddeusche Zeitung put it, “Hasretim conveys above all a native warmth. Wherever you focus your attention, whether saz, kemençe, davul, oud, zurna or duduk are in the foreground, everything sounds so wonderfully rounded and earthy (...) Once ethnological curiosity is blended out, anywhere with such music could be home.”

In addition to the Hellerau concert and the field recordings, the DVD also includes background notes on the music, the musicians and the milieu by Marc Sinan and musicologist Martin Greve.