Nazan Nihal, vocals
Utar Artun, piano
Jussi Reijonen, oud and guitars
Galen G. Willet, e. bass
Giuseppe Paradiso, drums and percussions
Bruno Raberg, bass
Yazhi Guo, Chinese flute
Layth Sidiq, violin
Naseem Alatrash, cello
In Anatolia, where Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and the Mediterranean world overlap, layers of history – thousands of years of it – can translate into layers of melody, rhythm, and sound. This is the vision of Neotolia, an international ensemble of diverse, highly skilled musicians based in Boston. Led by singer-songwriter Nazan Nihal and pianist/composer Utar Artun, the project explores traditional and tradition-inspired pieces through the lens of contemporary composition, jazz, world music and improvisation.
On their latest album, Neotolian Song (Interrobang Records; release date: April 23, 2017), they imagine lost ancient languages (“Neotolian Song”), mourn those lost to terrorism (“Değişmek Cesaret İster/ Change Takes Courage”), and weave new emotion into striking folk songs. Artun and Nihal have enlisted musicians hailing from Finland to Lebanon, from Iraq to China to add their own voices to complex yet elegant pieces.