Latif Bolat tours extensively all around the world, presenting his music and knowledge of Turkish Culture. He performs at the university and colleges as well as art centers and cultural institutions. At universities, usually he is invited thru a co-sponsorship between Music, Religious Studies, History, Political Science departments as well as the Multicultural Office and Student Activities Committees.
A typical concert visit by his Ensemble consists of an evening concert, one or more lectures or workshops, and may include an informal question/answer session. Each presenter tailors the package to fit its particular needs, choosing from lecture and workshop subjects such as:
-Ottoman history and cultural landscape for the past 700 years
-Turkish music genres and music theory (makams)
-Turkish history from Central Asia to the Mediterranean
-Contemporary Turkish politics, culture, language
-A new perspective about Islam and Islamic mysticism (Sufism)
-Sufi practices: music, poetry, dance and rituals
In these lectures, Latif Bolat tries to tie together the related disciplines of Turkish and Ottoman history, politics, and religion from within the framework of Turkish culture and music.
His concerts have 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 with explanations on the music itself, sociopolitical and cultural elements of Turkish Mystic and Devotional music, the performance draws the audience in to ponder questions such as how major societal factors influence culture and the art it produces.
Latif 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 and oud. As an important part of the presentation, Turkish devotional poetry from the 13th century mystics Rumi and Yunus Emre are also sprinkled throughout the program. In addition to spoken elaboration, slides are used to create a complete experience by providing scenes of Turkish countryside, cities, art and architecture, and people. This provides a deeper understanding of the culture by combining the musical presentation with pictures of its origin.
In addition, if the presenter feels appropriate, Latif Bolat can also include some "Whirling Dervish" ritual performers in the program. That way the audience would experience a truly unique cultural presentation of the Turkish mystic dervish culture. Please click here for a sample written concert program where Turkish mystic music, poetry, ritualistic whirling and images are all combined into a beautiful presentation.
Latif Bolat's recordings:
He has recorded 4 very successful CDs over the past 8 years. All of his CDs presents truly traditional Turkish devotional music in addition to his own compositions on traditional Turkish mystic poets of the past centuries. He works as a preservationist of this traditional art form and life style as well. In these days of commercialism, he feels the urgent need for returning to the roots. To get more information about these titles' contents and samples please visit the CDs page by clicking here.
Latif Bolat and Jennifer Ferraro have been working on ancient Turkish Mystic poetry translations for several years. As a result of this work, they put together a wonderful collection of Turkish mystic poems from 13th century to the present titled "Quarelling With God". This book is available at many better bookstores as well as online. You can order it by sending a request message to: Lbolat@aol.com. To read a short summary of the book and some sample poems please visit our Book page.
To Listen Samples:
Please go to the individual CD pages to listen to the samples from CDs.
The Latif Bolat Ensemble:
Latif Bolat presents his program in many combinations of musicians depending on the arrangement made with the presenters. In addition to the very successful “troubadour” style solo performance, he can travel with a trio, quartet and more. His accompanists are all very successful musicians in their fields and have been touring with Latif for the past 10-15 years.
With a single modest fee Latif Bolat brings all these wonderfully educational and entertaining cultural elements to the communities and students. Since the finance is not a priority in his artistic endeavors, this fee is very affordable and very negotiable.
Latif Bolat's Musical Mission
Latif Bolat's cultural mission can be summarized as "preserving the cultural traditions in this rampant wave of commercialism". Even though today's globalization has been presented as the greatest invention of our times, it has been serving as a destructive force all around the world, especially in the indigenous world. Many traditional cultures are ravaged by the "money oriented" commercialism, advocated and instigated largely by the world economic and political powers. Such a worldwide system serves perfectly to such powers that they support the destruction of anything traditional, even in their own home countries like the US and Europe. The result is a deep alienation of many generations and adaptation of totally foreign life styles and cultural values. As part of the general culture of a land, music is the most easily affected cultural element, largely due to the communication monopolies of these destructive powers. At the end every traditional culture has lost many of it's beautiful aspects and uniqueness. Therefore we are progressing toward a uniformed world culture which is based on the commercial value rather than the artistic beauty of an artwork. Latif Bolat advocates getting back to the roots of every culture and develop a mutually beneficial, democratic and egalitarian cultural relationship among many peoples of the world, instead of a one-sided master-slave relationship as the Globalization pursues.
This page will try to explain the state of Turkish music today by giving a historical overview about the Turks in general and Turkish music in particular. By doing this we can understand the present situation and the future trends in Turkish culture and music.
Please click here to visit our Turkish Music page.
We provided several sheet musics for your use. To view the sheet musics of the songs performed by Latif Bolat in his 4 CDs please click here.