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Baba Zula

Biography

Technically, Baba Zula consists of four people. Film composers Levent Akman, Murat Ertel, and Emre Onel formed the group in 1996 and were joined by Oya Erkaya in 2003. But it takes a small army of sounds and guest artists to round out the polished eclecticism on Baba Zula's albums: Akman on percussion, rhythm machines and "toys" (according to their label Doublemoon); Ertel on saz, other strings and vocals; Onel on darbuka, sampler and vocals; and Erkaya on bass guitar and vocals have been joined on their albums by reggae legends Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar, Einsturzende Neubauten bassist Alexander Hacke, Brenna MacCrimmon (a Canadian who sings Balkan music) and a cadre of Turkish folk, classical and pop musicians. The group's albums pair reggae with belly dance grooves with downtempo with classical Turkish clarinet -- odd-bird matches that sound as if they were made in heaven, if heaven (fingers crossed) looks anything like the cosmopolitan mecca of Istanbul. The group has appeared on soundtracks, scored films, written original music for plays and played international festivals, including the Roskilde Festival.
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