Music afficionados should not miss the electrifying Brussels premiere of Turan, coming to Bozar on the 7th of April 2023.
Bringing Kazakh folk stylings into the 21st century, Turan is a five-member ensemble formed in 2008 by students of the Kazakh National Conservatory. Their extraordinary sound fuses a contemporary sensibility and tech with traditional Eurasian nomadic music – and the result is otherworldly.
Drawing on their mastery of characteristic Kazakh musical scales, diatonic frets, throat-singing and rondel-like vocal layering, the ensemble is making a name for itself (and for Kazakhstan) evoking the ritualistic and shamanic, in a virtuoso performance that embraces dance, singing, theatre, video and lighting effects.
Turan are celebrated for their almost jazz-like improvisational style, which seems so ‘today’ and yet is part of keeping alive ancient Kazakh customs. Having toured extensively since 2008, they remain somehow under-the-radar. They are ripe for explosion into Belgium and Europe’s music scene.
In wild outfits, they not only play a dizzying array of instruments but play too with staging and movement to conjure the hunters, shaman and legendary horseback ‘batyr’ of Kazakh culture. Listeners are taken on a hypnotic narrative journey. Percussion drives and rolls teasingly through a pulsing wash of sound from the plucked strings of dombra and sherter. Wind instruments seem to raise owls from the dead. This is no pastiche or sentimental reproduction of a bygone culture. It’s electrifying.
Band member Serik Nurmoldaev describes their mission as seeking “to recreate pictures of the past in the present time.” Together with throat-singer Abzal Arykbaev, Maxat (Maksat) Medeubek, Bauirzhan Bekmukhanbetov, and Erzhigit Aliyev, the ensemble seems to channel the deathless suspense of Lalo Schiffrin and experimental world-painting of Aphex Twin while bringing their own ancestors to the party.
The gig will take place at Brussels’s hallowed art-deco Centre for Fine Arts, Bozar. Joining Turan there will be vocalist Medet Chotabaev, the multi-award winning Kazakh tenor who has taken the world by storm.
Tickets are a bargain at 10 euros. It promises to be a night that will stay with you in your dreams.