After four fun days and nights, Fethiye’s 3rd International Music Festival came to an end on Sunday evening.
At the final concert, following four sets of inspirational, exciting and sometimes moving music, everyone came together on the stage for an emotional final ‘curtain call’.
For the crowds that came along every night it was like an incredible musical banquet, combining the familiar and the new with colour, spice and sweet moments.
Final curtain falls on another year
The last concert, which like the previous nights was well attended, both entertained and moved the audience by turns.
Mehregan Ensemble entranced the crowd with their mystical Iranian music.
This was followed by the kind of lively set we have come to expect and enjoy from Scott Jeffers and Traveler.
Ukraine group Spiritual Seasons were next up with some more of their incredibly diverse music and then finally and feast of folk music from British group Inu brought the festival to a close.
For the previous three evenings Fethiye’s Beşkaza Square had been an equally vibrant and high-spirited venue for the town’s music lovers to meet and enjoy listening to talented musicians. Around the square were tents and stalls selling books and all sorts of produce from different parts of Turkey. It was a genuine multi-cultural experience for Fethiye.
World class musicians in Fethiye
Denis Stern and Barish Kasiak, Ibiza’s guitar duo Los Vagabundos, transported the audience to Spain, via other parts of the Mediterranean with energetic abandon and a collaborative energy that has for the last three festivals temporarily turned the square into a lively Balearic plaça while they are playing.
Scott Jeffers came without his American band this year; working wonders with his Turkish group instead. His musical repertoire has expanded since he first took Fethiye by storm, in part due to his travels around Turkey, Northern Africa and Eastern Europe, which he makes a point of doing when he crosses the Atlantic to join the festival.
It is wonderful that, like Los Vagabundos, he has become an integral and much loved part of the festival and Fethiye community.
Together they brought the audience to their feet with some spectacular joint improvisation.
Fethiye is once again fortunate to have the chance to listen to some exquisite Iranian music. This year the town hosted The Mehregan Ensemble, a group of top class musicians who played for the Fethiye audience at a level that would make city concert goers across the world green with envy!
The term international music certainly applied to Ukraine group, Spiritual Seasons.
Their lead singer, Viktor Smirnov’s linguistic ability was awesome as he sang songs from France, Germany, Finland, Sweden and with their dancers he and his fellow musicians certainly added to the joy of listening to Irish songs being played on the Turkish Mediterranean.
Inu, the folk band from Britain who had performed at the first festival, some of you may well remember Marick Baxter’s talented flute playing and Louise Baxter’s inspiring singing. Well, this time they not only did they manage to get the audience clapping, they also got at least some of the Brits reminiscing about the folk festival scene, so popular in the UK.
For many, the highlight of the festival, if the numbers of people recording their performance on their phones is anything to go by, was eclectic group Vivalda Dula, which also happens to be the name of their tremendously talented Angolan vocalist. She also danced, wowing the crowd as they gathered ever closer to the stage. The musicians, who all live in Houston, Texas, hail from all parts of the globe, including Argentina and the US.
Deep Blue Blues
An informal session at the town’s Deep Blue bar brought Vivalda Dula together with Inu’s Louise Baxter in a totally inspirational and improvised performance of Gershwin’s ‘Summer Time’. For many that alone made the evening worthwhile but no, they also enjoyed another session with Scott and Los Vagabundos!
Musical jam adds flavour to Taste of Fethiye
Another treat was held up the hill in Kayaköy, where Taste of Fethiye held its twice-yearly craft fair in the old Livissi market square. Bringing the abandoned and crumbling town back to life in this way is a boon for local businesses and the eighty or so stallholders who come to sell their handmade and homemade products.
It was also another wonderful opportunity to see Los Vagabundos and Scott Jeffers perform together in a brief but spirited jam session. They were also joined by their friend and fellow musician, saz and üçtelli player, Ahmet Erarslan.
Set against the backdrop of Kayaköy’s world famous ruins, in bright, warm sunshine with a gentle breeze, it made a perfect afternoon’s entertainment for everyone.
International friendship, a place on Turkey’s cultural map
Fethiye is both privileged and fortunate to host such amazing world-class musicians. The town’s International Music Festival has brought musicians from more than
20 countries together over the last three years, mostly at their own expense, enriching the town’s culture and community.
Friendships have been forged and horizons widened. With three successful festivals under its belt the town should at last be able to gain support
from Turkish, or even international sponsors.
As the practical, technical and organisational glitches that inevitably happen when planning and executing such a complex festival are overcome, as they surely will and must, the event deserves a place in Turkey’s festival calendar, offering as it does a unique contribution to the country’s music and cultural scene.
Many thanks to everyone involved in organising and performing in the festival.
Fethiye Times is grateful to Nichola Chapman, Levent Sarı and Rosie Simpson for giving permission for FT to use their photographs.
Well done everyone and good luck for next year!