Turquazz: a Jazz and roots festival for all the senses

Turquazz is “Anatolian jazz without limits! Next month, it makes its global debut in London with fourteen events in 10 different venues over 17 days.

Running from 13 to 30 March 2019, this brand new festival celebrates contemporary Anatolian culture, encompassing music, film, food, dance and spoken word.

The festival kicks off with a pop-up Jazz dining event at Laz in Camden, a special evening with diners given a short history of Anatolian and Turkish jazz and food culture through a varied menu with multiple sharing plates, main dishes, desert and drinks. DJ Murat Meric will be setting the scene with his collection of Turkish Jazz vinyls.

For those wanting to experience Turkish Tango, head to Exmouth Market on 14 March to hear the jazz-tinged sounds that popularised this music and dance in Turkey from the mid-1920s onwards.

Still from documentary Nublu, screening at Rio Cinema on 23 March 2019


Musical pioneer and master musician Erkan Oğur brings his Anatolian Blues Project to Rich Mix on 18 March, while the Rio Cinema screens three music documentaries on 23 March: the Lost Songs of Anatolia, Jazz in Turkey, and Nublu about New York’s legendary underground club and live music venue owned by Swedish–Turkish musician İlhan Erşahin.

Brother and sister duo Nağme Yarkın and Baturay Yarkın will take to the stage at Marylebone’s St Cyprian’s Church on 16 March to perform a delicious mix of classical music with jazz traditions and Argentinian tangos, embedded with Turkish roots music they grew up with.

Lost Songs of Anatolia, screening at Rio Cinema on 23 March 2019


Another not-to-be missed concert is by The Origins, a six-piece outfit led by bass player Cem Tuncer and featuring trumpeter Barış Demirel. The band perform with a range of wild instruments, including the Anatolian Kamancheh, the Kopuz (lute), kanun, clarinet, kaval, duduk, bendir and oud – it is by all accounts “no ordinary jazz set up!” 

Tottenham’s Balabam offers a night of poetry and jazz. Literature from renowned Turkish poets such as Nazim Hikmet, Ahmet Muhip Dıranas and Bedri Rahmi Eyüboğlu will be read in its orginal language and with English translations, with Turkish jazz as the musical backdrop.

Trumpeter Barış Demirel will play with The Origins at Cafe Too, Dalston, on 26 March


Worldwide FM’s Debora Ipekel closes the festival with a fine party at Brilliant Corners in Dalston. She promises to take us “into the Anatolian desert with a musical mash up of psychedelia, jazz-rock, jazz-funk and other further out discoveries and soon-to-be released cuts from her co-owned Turkish record label and imprint Zel Zele”.

This incredible long fortnight of culture is backed by Turkish Airlines, the Yunus Emre Institute, the Arts Council England, and SOAS University.


13-Mar | Wed 20:00 – LAZ @Camden Jazz Bites £45

14-Mar | Thu 19:00 – Exmouth Market Centre Tango Dancing: The “Past” £10

15-Mar | Fri 19:30 – SOAS, University of London Reflections in a Golden Horn: Jazz and Turkish Music Join Guest List via website

16-Mar | Sat 20:00 – St. Cyprian’s Church Yarkin Duo £12

18-Mar | Mon 19:30 – Rich Mix Erkan Ogur – Anatolian Blues Project £20

20-Mar | Wed 20:00 – Phoenix Arts Club Timeless £12

23-Mar | Sat 13:00 – Rio Cinema Lost Songs of Anatolia (Q&A with Director) £10

23-Mar | Sat 15:10 – Rio Cinema Jazz in Turkey (Q&A with Director) £10

23-Mar | Sat 17:40 – Rio Cinema NUBLU (Q&A with Director) £10

25-Mar | Mon 19:30 – SOAS Tritonet Join Guest List via website

26-Mar | Tue 20:00 – Café OTO The Origins feat Baris Demirel £12

27-Mar | Wed 20:30 – 606 Club Funkbook A La Turc £12

28-Mar | Thu 20:00 – Balabam Turkish Poetry & Jazz £10

30-Mar | Sat 19:30 – Brilliant Corners Jazz Semai with Debora Ipekel Free Entry

Event Details

Title: Turqazz London 2019

Dates: 13 to 30 March 2019

Venues: Various – check the Line-Up section of the Turquazz website for details

Admission, information & tickets: most events are ticketed, with entry prices varying from free to £45. Register (for free events) or buy online in advance from the Turquazz website