Anyone who knows Turkey will already realize that music plays an important part in Turkish culture and to celebrate this ancient part of Anatolia’s heritage, AKAT, has recently opened a ‘Music Village’ in the Yanıklar district of Fethiye.

Celebrating Anatolian Soul: Fethiye's Music Village

The Anatolian Cultures Research Society (AKAT) has opened Turkey’s first ever village dedicated to music in Fethiye. Tucked away in Yanıklar village and surrounded by beautiful countryside, the new establishment has rapidly become popular with music lovers from all over Turkey and the world. Its display of musical instruments, such as the guitar, ney (reed flute), kaval (shepherd’s pipe), bağlama (fretless stringed instrument) and üç telli, (a bağlama-like instrument with three strings) are just a few of the fascinations this rural idyll has to offer.

Celebrating Anatolian Soul: Fethiye's Music Village

Never too late to learn

As well as a wealth of traditional instruments there are also classes for those wishing to learn how to play them, as well as activities, including films, workshops, and small, informal village concerts.

Celebrating Anatolian Soul: Fethiye's Music Village

A wealth of Turkish musical culture

Turkish folk music has been chosen as this year’s main theme for AKAT. Over the course of the coming year everyone involved will focus on playing traditional Turkish instruments like the sipsi, a woodwind instrument, and the dört telli, a bağlama-like instrument with four strings. There are courses for those who are interested, given by local senior musicians as well as younger ones.

Celebrating Anatolian Soul: Fethiye's Music Village

Music is universal

The village’s motto is “Music is Universal.” Both participants and reachers at AKAT play many kinds of music and want to encourage all types of musicians. It is  possible to play Western instruments, like the guitar, or the range of traditional instruments supplied by the village. Regardless of previous musical experience, enthusiastic students of any age are welcome to enroll for the music courses.

Celebrating Anatolian Soul: Fethiye's Music Village

AKAT teachers are happy to introduce foreigners to melodies from all over Turkey but apart from instrumental courses, traditional folk dance workshops and seminars on music, culture and history are also being offered.

Students can learn how to play bağlama under the guidance of Adem Tosunoğlu and İsmail Çakır. Other teachers include Gülay Diri on the daf (frame drum), and Selami Çiftçi who teaches the kaval, instrument traditions and Yörük culture.Merih Aşkın Kopuz gives fretless guitar courses while Ali Ulutaş, Mehmet Ali Kayabaş and Yusuf İslam Bodur show students how to play the üç telli.

Learning all about Turkey

Some students learn how to play kabak kemane, a traditional string instrument with Central Asian roots, while others play bağlama or the guitar. You may even hear a group singing Turkish folk songs. There will also be field trips to some of the regions more rural areas.

The village’s general coordinator is Aytaç Gökdağ; Mehmet Günay Eser, Emre Dayıoğlu and Turna Ezgi Toros serve as general artistic directors; workshop coordinators are Şahin Yıldız and Eren Şahin; and the photography director is Levent Sarı.

Celebrating Anatolian Soul: Fethiye's Music Village

Gökdağ explained that the music village is a first of its kind in Turkey, saying,

This project was our dream for more than 10 years. We have taken time to gather the right team around us before launching AKAT.” Gökdağ also explained that the village draws students of all ages from different countries as far afield as Israel, the Netherlands, Austria, Sweden, and the UK.

He continued,

As we become known our team of talented musicians will inspire people who love music to come and visit us from all across the world. These musicians, who grew up in the highlands around Fethiye, are carrying on an age-old tradition that we want to introduce to the younger generations of musicians, to keep these traditions alive. We also aim to connect Turkey’s professional musicians with international students.”

Celebrating Anatolian Soul: Fethiye's Music Village

A breath of fresh air

The events coordinator, Mehmet Günay Eser, said that different music workshops will be organised.

We’re really trying to reveal what is hidden in the human soul. We have seventeen musicians, including academicians, attending our courses. “We’re really trying to reveal what is hidden in the human soul.”

Celebrating Anatolian Soul: Fethiye's Music Village

Gökdağ described the AKAT’s atmosphere as,

a breath of fresh air for people during these difficult times.

We’ve chosen traditional folk music as this year’s main theme.

The Teke region on the Mediterranean coast is especially rich in traditional music and has many local musicians,”

Celebrating Anatolian Soul: Fethiye's Music Village

The music village welcomes both foreigners and locals to its activities.

Thanks to Levent Sarı and everyone at Müzik Köyü for permission to use their photographs.

At the moment the website is under construction but meanwhile like their Facebook page ‘Müzük Köyü -Fethiye 2015