Turkish Singer, Composer and
Scholar of Turkish Music and Folklore
Latif Bolat, one of the most renowned Turkish musicians in North America , is a native of the Turkish Mediterranean town of Mersin. After receiving his degree in folklore and music at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, he taught traditional music throughout the country. He then went on to manage Ankara Halk Tiyatrosu, a musical theater company, which performed traditional musical plays. Mr. Bolat also received additional degrees in Turkish History and Middle East Religion and Politics from Ankara University and an MBA from San Francisco State University.
Now residing in the USA, Mr. Bolat is one of the most distinguished Turkish musicians in this country. He has presented concerts and lectures at colleges, universities, performing arts institutions and festivals across the US, Canada, England, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Philippines, Scotland, Singapore, Indonesia and Turkey. With a vast repertory that includes songs in classical, folk and Sufi mystic music styles, he accompanies his singing on the baglama (long-necked lute), and various other traditional instruments from the Turkish folk music tradition.
Specializing in the ancient Turkish mystic-devotional music genre, Latif Bolat has been received with appreciation and enthusiasm throughout the world, as he provides a unique philosophy and approach to the performance of traditional music. By creating an intimate, almost "storytelling" atmosphere, he explains Turkish folk and mystic music and its sociopolitical and cultural elements. The performance both entertains and invites the audience to ponder questions such as how major sociopolitical factors influence culture and the art it produces.
A typical concert visit by the Latif Bolat Ensemble consists of an evening concert, one or more lectures or workshops, and may include an informal question/answer session. Each institution tailors the performance package to fit its particular needs, choosing from lecture and workshop subjects such as:
-Turkish music genres and music theory (makams)
-Turkish history from Central Asia to Anatolia
-Contemporary Turkish politics, culture, language
-A new perspective about Islam and Islamic mysticism (Sufism)
-Sufi devotional practices: music, dance, rituals
In his lectures, he tries to tie together the related disciplines of Turkish and Ottoman history, politics, and religion from within the framework of Turkish culture and music.
Mr.Bolat performs as a singer and accompanies himself on the traditional Turkish stringed instrument "baglama." Other traditional acoustic Turkish instruments which frequently accompany him include frame drum, ney flute, kanun, violin and oud. As an important part of the presentation, Turkish devotional poetry from the 13th century mystics Rumi and Yunus Emre as well as later Turkish mystic poets are also sprinkled throughout the program. In addition to spoken elaboration, slides are used to create a complete experience by providing scenes of the Turkish countryside, cities, artwork, architecture, and people. This provides a deeper understanding of the culture by combining the musical presentation with images of its origin. Mr.Bolat also leads Mystic Cultural tours to Turkey providing a once-in-a-life-time cultural experience.
His recent performance and teaching engagements include:
* Soundtrack and film works: A week of performances at the Carnegie Hall in NYC. Soundtrack music for George Lucas Studios TV series "Young Indiana Jones" and PBS documentary “Mohammed: Legacy of a Prophet”. Partial soundtrack for "Burn Notice" TV series in the USA.
* Book and CDs: Co-author of the Turkish mystic Sufi poetry translations and anthology: “Quarrelling with God: Mystic Rebel Sufi Poems of the Dervishes of Turkey”. Released 4 very successful CDs distributed worldwide.
* Awards and Grants: Recipient of the European Union's “Best collaboration song” award with the Bulgarian group Lot Lorien. The California Art Council rewarded Mr.Bolat with a grant for his contributions to the preservation of Turkish traditional music. Turkish Ministry of Culture awarded a grant for his Turkish Sufi poetry translations project titled “Quarreling with God”.
* Concerts and conferences : at many institutions worldwide including, the United Nations, University of California at Berkeley, Monash University in Melbourne, University of Chicago, Ohio State University, Indiana University, North Carolina State University, Georgia Tech, UCLA, Stanford University, UC Santa Barbara, University of Southern California, San Francisco State University, University of Washington, Oregon State University, University of Utah, Sacramento State University, Sonoma State University, Arizona State University, University of South Carolina, Claremont College, University of Hawaii, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Clemson University in S. Carolina, Young Harris College in Georgia, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, Washington University at St. Louis, University of Colorado at Boulder, Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio, University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign, Sacramento City College, Brigham Young University and many others.
* Festivals across the World: including All India Sufi and Mystic Music Festival, Edinburgh Middle Eastern Spirituality Festival, Alaska Folk Festival, London Festival of Islamic World, Monterey World Music Festival, Boulder World Music Festival, Singapore World Music Festival at the Esplanade, Lotus World Music Festival in Bloomington, Vancouver Spiritual Music Festival, Memphis in May Festival, Carnegie Hall Global Encounters Festival, Canberra National Festival in Australia and others.