The city of Istanbul inherits its name from the Greek “Eis tēn polin” meaning ‘into the city’. Born in Istanbul, Barlas Tan Özemek’s music revolves around this evolving metropolis.
Strumming on his guitar, this modern-day Aşık or troubadour tells tales about his native Turkey, its people and culture in these volatile times. Barlas’ powerful lyrics blend perfectly with his gorgeous contemporary acoustic sounds.
The nephew of Turkish pop legend Bülent Ortaçgil, Barlas has carved out a fine reputation as a singer-songwriter, performer and arranger. Playing the guitar from an early age, the talented young musician has arranged and mixed the music of Turkey’s new contemporary voices such as Yasemin Mori and Gaye Su Akyol.
As an emerging artist, he’s worked with seminal bands KFKO and KonstruKt, releasing experimental jazz-rock music. Barlas also formed free jazz trio Marika with Berke Can Özcan and Korhan Futacı, and performed with jazz musicians Peter Brotzmann, Joe McPhee, Michael Zerrang and William Parker.
After years of collaboration, Barlas is currently recording his first solo work. Ayna Kırıldı (The Mirror Broke) – the debut single from the album – was released last year was released last year, followed by Oy Beni (Vote Me).
The bass and electric guitar player returns to the songs that inspired him when he first started his musical career. Delving into Anatolian anthologies and reinterpreting tunes embedded in collective sonic memories from the 1960s onwards, Barlas pays homage to poets Orhan Veli and Aşık Veysel, and musicians pioneering rock star Fikret Kızılok, and his uncles Ercüment and Bülent Ortaçgil.
Presented by Tuned In London, Barlas plays London on Wednesday. The setting is Sands Film Studios, a deliciously sumptuous and intimate sofa-filled cinema that’s housed in a historic building and neighbourhood in the capital’s East End. Tickets are on sale in advance and on the door – tea and biscuits included! Or visit nearby The Mayflower Pub on the river for a stronger brew.
Title: Barlas Tan Özemek
Date: Wednesday 10 May 2017
Event times: starts 7.45pm
Venue address: Sands Films Studios, 82 St Marychurch Street, Rotherhithe London SE16 4HZ
Admission: £14 – includes tea and biscuits!
Buy tickets: tunedin.london
Artist info: facebook.com/barlastanozemek