Founded in Istanbul in 1996, Baba Zula feautures founding members Levent Akman (percussion, rhythm machines,toys), Murat Ertel (saz and other strings,vocal), as well as darbuka player Coşar Kamçı who replaced original member Emre Onel in 2005. BaBa Zula added live drawing artist Ceren Oykut into the mix in 2004. Her presence onstage has added an important visual aspect to BaBa Zula's live performances.
Baba Zula go to great lengths to provide their fans with a unique live show experience. Their ritual like performances are a mixture of disciplines of art, often featuring belly dancers, elaborate costumes, poetry, theatre and live animation, delivering viewers a tantalizing audio-visual feast.
By mixing oriental instruments such as the darbuka, electric saz, and spoons with electronics and modern sounds, BaBa Zula creates a sound all their own called "Oriental Dub". While a ney can represent the past Sufi-Islamic tradition, and a clarinet is the symbol of the music of the Turkish gypsies-an electric saz together with a wooden spoon can serve as musical compass to Turkish musical roots going as far back as pre-Islamic, shamanic times, through Anatolia reaches all the way up to present-day Istanbul.Despite sounds that might initially come to mind when one hears the phrase "Oriental Dub", Baba Zula's music is in fact rock'n roll that rolls in a way that westerners haven't heard since the late '60s rock epoch. Baba Zula share their legacy with us through their music, a music born out of Istanbul and influenced by the memories of Istanbul passed on to them from generations past.
arife tarif BaBa ZuLa nın konukları
The group, which from the very beginning has shown great interest in featuring guest musicians and players in concerts and albums, has been accompanied by stars such as the Thracian Selim Sesler (clarinet master), the Canadian singer Brenna MacCrimmon (specialized in Balkan folk music), Alexander Hacke (E.N.), Fred Frith (from Henry Cow, John Zorn, etc), Jaki Liebezeit (Can), Hüsnü Şenlendirici (Clarinet master from "Laço Tayfa"), Ralph Carney from San Fransisco (saxophonist who worked with Tom Waits and B52's) and the diva Semiha Berksoy (first Turkish opera singer and painter).
Baba Zula have turned up the volume and energy levels at festivals such as the Roskilde Festival (Denmark), Sofia Film Festival (Bulgaria), Klinkende Munt Festival (Belgium), Arezzo Wave Festival (Italy), Images of Middle East (multi-city Denmark tour), Cologne Triennale (Germany), Printemps de Bourges (France), Şimdi/Now Festival (Germany), the Boost Festival ( Netherlands) and the Venice Biennial.