Boston Turkish Film and Music Festival6th ANNUAL BOSTON TURKISH FILM FESTIVAL SM
March 29 - May 13, 2007

Seher: Sufi Music from Turkey and India, A Celebration of RUMI

Deepak Ram & Neva Özgen Ensemble






Sunday, April 15    7:00pm    
TSAI Performance Center, Boston University


NEVA OZGEN, kemence
DEEPAK RAM, bansuri
DIANA ROWAN, troubadour harp
TUPAC MANTILLA, percussion 

Two great musical traditions from Turkey and India meld their sources in celebrating 800th birthday and Unesco’s International Rumi Year. Neva Özgen, one of the few female masters of the Turkish kemence (fiddle), draws upon the Sufi repertoire inspired by the poet Rumi and recites his evocative poetry. Bansuri flutist Deepak Ram, a senior disciple of the great Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia, joins her along with Diana Rowan on troubadour harp and Tupac Mantilla on percussion. 

The music of this quartet explores the sonic relationship of four instruments, while attempting to be faithful to the aesthetics of Raga and Makam. The philosophy of improvisation inherent in Indian and Turkish classical music, which is generated by Raga and Makam, has inspired the composition and performance style of this group.

Spring Giddiness

Today, like every other day, we wake up empty
and frightened. Don't open the door to the study
and begin reading. Take down a musical instrument.
Let the beauty we love be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.

The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don't go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don't go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don't go back to sleep.

I would love to kiss you.
The price of kissing is your life.
Now my loving is running toward my life shouting,
What a bargain, let's buy it.

Daylight, full of small dancing particles
and the one great turning, our souls
are dancing with you, without feet, they dance.
Can you see them when I whisper in your ear?

All day and night, music,
a quiet, bright
reedsong. If it
fades, we fade.

-- Jalaluddin Rumi


Co-presented with the Boston University International Student Consortium

Neva Özgen: 

As the daughter of highly respected Turkish classical musician Ihsan Özgen, Neva Özgen was born in Ankara in 1977 and grew up in Istanbul surrounded by Turkish classical music and jazz. 

Perhaps as a means to carve her own path, Neva's first expressed interest was in Western classical music and the flute. She learned to play both soprano and alto flutes but soon after entering the Istanbul Technical University Conservatory she switched to clarinet. It wasn't long before her interest in Turkish Classical music overtook her interest in Western classical traditions and she decided  to study the kemence, an instrument integral to Turkish classical music. Ironically, it was during this period that her father began to experiment and pursue his interest in jazz and other forms of music. While her father, and main influence, Ihsan Özgen focused on playing experimental, cross-cultural, jazz pieces and taksims (improvisations), Neva pursued  her interest in Turkish classical music. She honed her skills as an accompanist and ensemble player studying under Alaeddin Yavasca. Neva has deeply immersed herself in the works and taksims of Tanburi Cemil Bey and her recent influences include composer and performer Munir Nurettin Selcuk and Bekir Sidki Sezgin.

Like many kemençe players in Turkey today, she aims to continue the tradition established by Tanburi Cemil Bey which was passed on to her father. Ihsan Özgen's influence on his daughter cannot be underestimated and Neva Özgen can be considered a student of what is recognized as the 'Ihsan Özgen school' of Turkish classical music. She  has accompanied him in performances of Turkish classical music in Europe,  in the United States and Turkey and as Ihsan Özgen moves on to explore more experimental forms of music, Neva is preparing to take over the  Anatolia Ensemble. She has already played on two recordings, Aegean and Balkan  Dances and Masterworks of Itri and Meragi, by the Turkish classical Anatolia Ensemble which her father led for many years. Neva Özgen is also featured on a recording titled Women Composers and Performers of Turkish Classical Music. 

Though Neva's primary passion is Turkish classical music, she has inherited her father's adventurous spirit as well as his talent. Neva has performed with Orbestra in England and with American jazz musician Butch Morris' group in New York alongside Turkish ney player Suleyman Erguner. Recently she performed with Canadian violinist Hugh Marsh, percussionist Ben Grossman and vocalist Brenna MacCrimmon in the Mercan Dede Ensemble which blends Eastern and Western musical traditions. She has also performed with Anatolia Ensemble, Montreal Tribal Trio, Atlas Ensemble, Nederlands Blazers Ensemble, Nv/Elect.Voices, İstanbul Authentic Turkish Music Ensemble, Shujaat Hussain Khan, Peter Murphy, Mich Geber, Kudsi Erguner, Frangiz Ali-Zade, Javanshir Guliev, Theo Loevendi, and Karman İnce among others. Neva believes that a musician must be well versed in the classical works of master composers but she also believes that classical forms of music can be expanded and built upon through improvisation. Truly her father's daughter, she believes in searching for new idioms through playing with the classics and that all new musical languages are built upon the foundations of  the past. Legacy, which is released in September 2001 by Golden Horn Records, is Neva Özgen's debut album.

Deepak Ram: 

Senior disciple of world-renowned bansuri maestro Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia.
Best Instrumental Album, South African Music Awards, 2000
Nominated Best Male Artist & Best Instrumental Album, South African Music Awards, 1999


Deepak is an incredibly versatile artist who is well known for his evocative performances in traditional North Indian Classical Music, his collaborations with musicians of other genres, his innovative compositions and for his excellence as a teacher. Deepak Ram's first love is north Indian classical music. Indeed, he is an accomplished soloist. He is a delightful and captivating performer, combining technical mastery with personal charm. He has performed in the United States of America (where he is currently based), South Africa, United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Austria, Germany, Lebanon, Turkey and Holland and had the honor of accompanying his teacher, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, in Geneva, London and Paris. 

Deepak began his formal training in bansuri and tabla under Sri Jeram Bhana in South Africa in 1975. Two years later he was off to Mumbai, India to study flute under the late Sri Suryakant Limaye (India's master flute maker); he simultaneously spent a short time under flautist, Pandit Vijay Raghav Rao. It was in 1981 that his dream was realized when he became the disciple of the celebrated flautist, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia (with whom he continues to study from time to time). During this period he also studied tabla under Sri Yashwant Padhye and music theory and voice under Pandit Rajaram Shukla. Deepak earned a Masters degree in Music (MMus) from Rhodes University, South Africa, in 1996 for his thesis, Exploring syncretism between Indian and western music through composition. 

Deepak's versatility is apparent in his numerous collaborations with musicians of various genres. These include performances with jazz pianists Darius Brubeck and Bheki Mseleku, Tunisian oud player and vocalist Dhafer Yousseff and the popular South African band Tananas. On January 1 2000, Deepak performed with South African musicians like Sibongile Khumalo and the Rwandan diva, Cecile, on Robben Island in South Africa's millennium concert hosted by presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki. Deepak has six solo albums to his credit and as a session musician can be heard on over twenty five albums. His bansuri can also be heard on movie soundtracks, such as The Fast And The Furious, Matrix Revolutions, India, Kingdom of the Tiger and Stealth.

Deepak's knowledge of both Indian and western traditions is evident in his compositions which range from pieces for jazz groups, western flute quartets (flute, violin, viola and cello), choral works and ballets to orchestral pieces. His last work 'SURYA' for classical guitar and bansuri, commissioned by the award -winning guitarist Mesut Özgen was premiered at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Deepak is currently working on music for bansuri and string quartet. One of Deepak Ram's fortes is his ability to communicate his knowledge, making him an excellent teacher. Most recently, he served as visiting professor in Indian Music at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He lectured full time for four years at the University of Durban-Westville, South Africa, and has conducted many workshops in Indian music in the USA, United Kingdom, Ireland and South Africa. He also has several publications to his credit, including an instruction booklet, Harmonium made easy. 

 Diana Rowan: 

Harpist Diana Rowan’s playing has been described as having "unusual power and beauty."

Born in Ireland, she lived in Washington D.C., Belgium, and the Mediterranean island of Cyprus before making her permanent home in Berkeley, California.

Diana’s classical training (MM in Piano Performance) combines with her intensive studies in Celtic, Balkan and Mediterranean/Middle Eastern music to create compelling solo and ensemble performances.

Currently collaborating with bansuri master Deepak Ram, Balkan vocal ensemble Ya Elah, and early and world music harp trio Trillium, Diana can also be heard on CDs such as "Cantigas de Amigo" with Ensemble Alcatraz and Kitka, Tim Rayborn's "The Flame and the Shadow," a full-length classical piano CD, and her solo album "Panta Rhei."

Tupac Mantilla

Tupac was born in Colombia in 1978. He started his musical career at the age of four as a pianist and kept his piano studies for 12 years, most of them at the National Conservatory of Colombia. In 1994 he started studying drum-set and percussion at Javeriana University and after seven years of formal training with Masters Isauro Pinzon and Mario Sarmiento, he graduated with honors as a Classical Percussion Major in 2003. As a student of the Music department at Javeriana University, he was a member and performed as a soloist with several groups and ensembles like the symphonic orchestra, the percussion ensemble, the symphonic band, and the jazz ensembles, amongst others. He also recorded in many projects and participated in several national festivals from 1998 to 2003.

Besides his Classical activity he has also been involved with Colombian popular and traditional music from a very early age, and his work as a drummer and percussionist is widely recognized in the rock, jazz and studio scene.

Since the age of 13, Tupac worked with the government as music teacher of orphaned children, and in 2000 he produced, composed and arranged the album “Sueños” (Dreams), that came out as a result of his ten years of working with these kids.

He won the “LOUIS ARMSTRONG” Jazz Award in 1997 (SWHS) Hanover, Pennsylvania – USA. And in 2002 won the Bogotá’s Philharmonic Orchestra Young Classical soloist Contest, with the “Concerto for Marimba and Orchestra” by Brazilian composer Ney Rosauro. He was selected to represent his country as a percussionist and as a soloist two consecutive years at the “Pergine Spetacolo Aperto” in Trento, Italy (2002 – 2003), and also performed in Italy with Argentinean Acapella Quartet OPUS 4. In 2003 - 2005 became a member of the Faculty at JAVERIANA UNIVERSITY Music Department and also at EL BOSQUE UNIVERSITY Music Program in Bogotá.

Since 1999 he has given several rhythm, percussion, body-percussion, and rhythmic skills workshops throughout his country, based on the STOMP technique and the use of regular life objects as percussion instruments. He is the founder, composer and director of TEKEYE, the main experimental percussion group in Colombia, which has been constantly touring and playing for 6 years and has made many appearances in TV programs, advertisement campaigns, and percussion and theater international festivals. In 2000 he joined the famous Colombian rock band “1280 ALMAS”, with which he has been touring after recording their last two albums (Bombardeando and Sangre Revelde), and also has been a member of the progressive rock band YAKUS since 1994, the trio MARIMBULA and the JUAN MONSALVE JAZZ QUARTET.

Tupac has studied and taken workshops with Ernesto Simpson, Julio Barreto, Dennis Chambers, Dave Weckl, Alex Acuna, Ignacio Berroa, Memo Acevedo, Danilo Perez, Antonio Arnedo, Ney Rosauro, Ermeto Pascoal, among others.  Nowadays he is a graduate student of the Contemporary Improvisation Program at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston (USA), he got the NEC’s 2005-2006 Wildcard Honors Ensemble with the trio Tuplejo, and was a recipient of the Donald & Alice Noble Scholarship for 2006-2007. He was just selected to represent New England Conservatory at the Panama’s Jazz Festival in January 2007. He is a student of Rakalam Bob Mosses, Gary Chaffee, Danilo Perez, Jamey Haddad, Jerry Leake, John Hazilla, Dominique Eade, Michael Cain, Hankus Netsky, Anthony Coleman and Ran Blake. And for the past year he has been playing in several and diverse musical groups including the Zilzala Middle Eastern Ensemble, The Hankus Netsky and Friends Quartet, the Sven Trio among others.





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