La Guitarra Turca
Music with and for wide open ears' Swedish Daily News 'a master player of the Turkish Saz' Tom Cheney, Billboard magazine 'a thoroughly professionnal saz master' Turkish 'Nokta' newspaper ' Nyofu has made Turkish folklore his own to an astonishing degree' Turkish 'Hurriyet' newspaper 'the best concert I've been to in a long time' Eldorado Concert Reviews, Swedish Radio Born in Los Angeles, of African American-Indian-Danish-Lebanese heritage, Nyofu was raised in a musical environment. His father played jazz piano and was an avid listener of many styles of music. Nyofu began playing upright bass as a teenager, starting with local jazz and salsa groups. After studying classical bass, composition and North Indian Ragas at California Institute of the Arts, he traveled to Europe with the intention of going to India to pursue his interest in yoga and Indian music. Arriving in Turkey for a 'short-stay-on-the-way' he quickly made friends with musicians there and was offered a job accompanying a popular folk singer. It was then that he came in contact with the saz, the long necked lute that is the national instrument of Turkey. It was pretty much love at first sound and he began learning the basics by watching the lead saz player (an ex-guitarist who blended guitar techniques with traditional ones) and practicing on his own. He would eventually settle in Sweden, where there was both a vibrant Turkish musical community and an eclectic multicultural scene as well. There, he worked with Turkish drummer Okay Temiz, saz player/singer/ composer Zulfu Livaneli and ney master/ multi instrumentalist Ahmet 'Hadji' Tekbilek, all major names in Turkish music. He has toured all over Europe with these artists, leading his own groups in between, playing clubs, festivals, and numerous radio and TV broadcasts, while continuing to visit Turkey periodically. A familiar face in the Turkish music world, Nyofu, who speaks the language fluently, has gained recognition there for his translations into English of popular Turkish folk minstrels and original, yet authentic saz playing. Nyofu returned to the USA in 1994, where he has collaborated most recently with John Bilezikjian and Omar Faruk Tekbilek. 3 Worlds Music is the fruition of a longtime vision shared with his brother Mark Tyson and friend, musician and multi media master Josef Blocker. Nyofu has 2 CD's available on # Worlds Music, 'Timeless Songs- Turkish Minstrels and Mystics From 13th Century to Present'; and 'La Guitarra Turca'- original work blending Mideast, Latin and Jazz in an instrumental /vocal mix. The baglama is a long necked lute made of mulberry and pine, which was brought west from it's original home in Central Asia by Turkic nomads, who eventually settled in what is now Turkey. It is commonly known as saz, which means instrument in Turkish. Sazes are made in five primary sizes; starting from the largest, divan, baglama, dambura, bozuk (short neck dambura), and cura. The primary and lead saz played by Nyofu is dambura, with short neck and cura accompaniment on some songs. The saz is traditionally used to accompany the songs and tales of the bards, known as ashiks, Turkish for 'in love'. It is only in the last generation that the saz is coming out on it's own as an instrument capable of an expanded repertoire. Among the most influential names in this development are: Arif Sag, Talip Ozkan, Orhan Gencebay, and Zulfu Livaneli. Ashik Veysel and Ruhi Su were also very important, not for creating new styles, but for repopularizing the old during the folklore revival of the '70s.