Baba Zula picBaba Zula is a Turkish music group from Istanbul. The group was founded in 1996 by singer and saz player Murat Ertel, percussionist Levent Akman and darbuka player Emre Önel. Önel left the group in 2005 and was replaced by Coşar Kamçı. In the period from 2004 to 2010, the live illustrator Ceren Oykut was also part of the band. Baba Zula mix Turkish and Middle Eastern music with elements of dub reggae, psychedelic rock and modern dancefloor rhythms. They describe their music style as “Oriental Dub”.
Baba Zula evolved from the Istanbul band Zen, who were founded by Murat Ertel in the late 1980s and who combined psychedelic rock with Turkish music. In 1996, the band were offered the opportunity to do the soundtrack of the film “Tabutta Rövasata” by Istanbul director Dervish Zaim. The proposed project was not to the liking of all the Zen members and that is why a few members of the band founded Baba Zula as a side project. Originally planned to be a one-time soundtrack project, Baba Zula proved to be so successful that the musicians decided to continue in that formation and under that name. The soundtrack has since been remastered and is available once again. More albums followed as well as soundtracks for several Turkish films and numerous tracks on world music compilations. In Germany, the band became known especially through the soundtrack to Fatih Akin’s film “Crossing the Bridge”.
In their unique live shows, Baba Zula combine music, singing, belly dance, poetry, elements of theatre and live painting for an audio-visual spectacle and synthesis of the arts. Traditional oriental music and ancient shamanistic traditions meet 1960s psychedelic, electronic samples and dub effects.
Baba Zula have always worked with various guest musicians and artists throughout their history. Among them are the singer Brenna McCrimmon from Canada, Alexander Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten, Jaki Liebezeit of Can and many others. In 2005, they also recorded an entire album with the Jamaican dub reggae veteran Mad Professor. The album is titled “Duble Oryantal”.
As a supporter of the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul in 2013, Baba Zula give their art a political dimension and draw on their popularity to point out the prevailing wrongs in their country. Just making music and getting their audience up and dancing is not enough for Baba Zula. They also have a message. And it is mostly to help the poor and oppressed,and to oppose the authoritarian and restrictive state power.
The album “Gecekondu” was released in 2011. It focuses on the conflict of big city life on the outskirts of Turkish cities. On this album, too, a large number of guest musicians are featured. Among them are Asian Dub Foundation founder Dr. Das, the Norwegian nu-jazz musician and pianist Bugge Wesseltoft and French guitarist and improviser Titi Robin.
The highly anticipated album "34 Oto Sanayi" was released in autumn 2014, followed by the double album "XX" on the German independent label Glitterbeat in 2017.
1996 Tabutta Rövasata (Soundtrack)
1999 Üc Oyundan Onyedi Müzi
2003 Ruhani Oyun Havalari
2005 Duble Oryantal
2007 Dondurmam Gaymak (Soundtrack)
2007 Kökler
2010 Gecekondu
2014 34 Oto Sanayi

Text: Robert Lippuner / Gypsy Music Network
Translation: Jamie Davies


  gypsymusik 400x308px      newworld small      FORPRESS Jasha logo BLACK small     Dalit Music logo red vertical no background in symbol