Five facts about Islandman’s star guests, Okay Temiz and Muhlis Berberoğlu, at Friday’s big EartH gig

This Friday, 27 January, East London venue EartH plays host to the brilliant Islandman, an electro-acoustic live trio behind some of Turkiye’s most exciting new dance music.

The group have sold out shows with their combination of Turkish psychedelia and global beats, and they are forever originating.

Cue virtuoso guest artists, percussionist Okay Temiz and multi-instrumentalist Muhlis Berberoğlu, who will join the band live on stage on Friday for Islandman’s biggest UK show to date.

T-VINE’s Gizem Ozturk puts the spotlight on these two inter-generational stars (Okay Temiz turns 84 next month, while Muhlis Berberoğlu is 28 this year), giving us five striking facts below about them and their exceptional musical talents.

1) Okay Temiz – an Ethno jazz phenomenon

Turkish percussionist Okay Temiz is one musician to look out for at the Islandman gig. The master drummer, now 83-years-old, was light years ahead in his virtuosity, having seemingly come out of the womb with a good rhythmic ear thanks to his mother Naciye Temiz, a Fasıl musician with an expertise in the oud and cümbüş.

The influence of Temiz’s environment, growing up in a farm surrounded by sounds of nature and the music of different cultures like the Pomaks and Romans, are all evident in his music today, further proving he was just born to make music.

2) Temiz’s musical inventions

Through his education at the Tophane Arts Institute, Temiz acquired the skills to craft and invent his own instruments, like copper drums, the Magic Pyramid, and Artemiz made with camel and sheep bells — an idea picked up during his childhood and the time he spent at the farm.

Besides touring all over America and Europe with thousands of concerts and festivals under his belt, the virtuoso is known for regularly giving seminars and hosting workshops to share his musicianship.

3) The birth of iconic group Oriental Wind

In the late 60s, Temiz was jumping from one European city to the other with the Ulvie Temel Orchestra, especially making his presence known in one of the jazz capitals of Europe, Stockholm, where he met his future ‘Sevda’ bandmate, Turkish trumpeter Maffy Falay.

Temiz’s association with legendary American trumpeter Don Cherry and South African bassist Johnny Dyani would also revolutionise his music forever through the influence of African and Indian traditional music elements.

Joining forces with Dyani and South African trumpeter Mongezi Feza, Temiz made waves in the jazz universe with the group Xaba.

In 1974,  the group Oriental Wind was born. A mix of Turkish and Swedish jazz musicians including pianist Bobo Stensson, master of ney, mey saz and kaval Hacı Tekbilek, bassist Palle Danielson and saxophonist Lennart Aberg, the group fused ethnic European and Turkish instrumental elements into jazz.

4) Muhlis Berberoğlu – a folk music prodigy

Muhlis Berberoğlu, is a multi-instrumentalist folk music prodigy, who quite literally is never be seen without his bağlama in his hand.

The Sivas (central Turkiye) native has been playing alongside renowned musicians since his teens. Berberoğlu most famously joined darbuka master Mısırlı Ahmet, Stephane Galland, Nedyalko Nedyalkov, Petar Ralchev and Sinan Cem Eroğlu to collaborate on different musical projects.

At just 18 years of age, Berberoğlu took on the role of music director and arranger of a project which featured prominent Turkish artists like Fuat Saka, Leman Sam, Mehmet Erdem and the Boğaziçi Jazz Choir.

5) Hemdem

Out of the younger generation artists in the Turkish music scene, 27-year-old Berberoğlu has been a leader in promoting Anatolian folk music worldwide.

His collaborative and critically acclaimed album with Sinan Cem Eroğlu, ‘Hemdem’, was released under the label of Ahenk Music in 2018, entering the World Music Charts at Number 18. Its commercial success was aided by the fact songs from the 13-track album were regularly broadcast on radio and streaming platforms in North America, Australia, Germany, Greece, and Spain, while the videos received of the duo were watched hundreds of thousands of times.

Hemdem gave equal billing to the baglama and guitar, featuring well known Anatolian Folk Songs and original compositions by Berberoğlu and Eroğlu. The pair’s recordings were a mix of hybrid improvisations and arrangements that combined the musical sounds of the East and West, attracting global interest and generating strong reviews among the world’s leading music critics.

Click here for more details about this Friday’s gig and to book your tickets.