World cultures meet at Pera fest

World cultures meet at Pera fest
Friday, November 30, 2007

A multicultural festival comes to town for the sixth time this year. Pera Fest, which starts on Dec. 3, hosts plays, movies, dance performances and discussions in various venues of Istanbul's Beyoğlu district

ISTANBUL – Turkish Daily News

 A meeting point for all nations, Pera Fest is a festival that triggers feelings of tolerance, brotherhood and multiculturalism.

    The sixth annual Pera festival begins Dec. 6 this year, and hosts more than 30 plays, movies, dance performances and discussions over 15 days.

 World famous artists will meet in Istanbul to commemorate Celaleddin Rumi and the famous Turkish composer Ahmet Adnan Saygun at the festival.

 In past years, the festival has hosted musical performers Eleni Karaindrou, Savina Yannatou and Ketil Bjornstad, and this year it will welcome artists from Chile, France, Italy, India, Russia, Spain and Greece.

 The festival opens its doors with a performance by “The Children of the Wind” (Rüzgarın Çocukları) at the Lütfi Kırdar Congress Center in Istanbul's Maçka neighborhood. The dance show tells the story of gypsies from India, through central Europe, to settle in Spain. “Dhoad Gyspies” from Rajasthan, India, “Tchass Gypsy Music” from Romania, and “Calle Cerezo Flamenco” from Spain are the performers.

 The Roma of Sulukule, who live in the famous but now-declining Istanbul district, will be showcased in other activities during the festival. Roma musician Selim Sesler will perform in Tierra Dec. 7-8. A panel discussion on the Roma people and culture will be held at the Pera Museum.  


From Chile to Crete:

 Chilean singer Mariana Montalvo, who left her homeland during the military junta and settled in France, will be on stage Dec. 6 in garajistanbul. Sardinian artist Franca Masu's concert is on Dec. 8 at the Italian Culture Center. Masu will present Sardinian music, which dates back to the Catalan people.

 One of the most interesting groups of this year's festival comes from an island. The group, which founded by musician Ross Daly, is called “Labyrinth” and will perform songs from Crete on Dec. 14.

 “Balkanatolia,” “Swing a la Turc,” “Elektronik Kumpanya” are the other performances that will take place in garajistanbul.

 Siblings Özcan Ulucan, Ayşen Ulucan and Birsen Ulucan, violin virtuosos and up-and-coming young Turkish talents in classical music, will take the stage at Beyoğlu's Italian Culture Center.

 The Mimar Sinan University Fine Arts State Conservatory Orchestra, conducted by Gürer Aykal, will perform the closing performance of the festival. The concert will performed be at the Atatürk Culture Center (AKM), and is called “100th Anniversary of Saygun,” after the İzmir-born Ahmet Adnan Saygun. Saygun, a Turkish composer and musicologist who is considered one of the most important 20th century composers in Turkish music history, died in 1991.

 The nostalgia of Pera will not end with music and dance performances. The two-week festival also hosts film criticisms and dialogues on the different cultures of Beyoğlu.

 On Dec. 15 there will be a film screening in the Galata Perform venue, about how the Pera district developed and changed shape with the passage of time. The film, called “Kuledibi sok. No.23,” won the best documentary award at the City and Architecture Film Festival.

 The festival also plays host to important names such as Talat Sait Halman, İskender Pala, Ahmet Soysal and Elif Şafak, who will come together to discuss “The Effect of Sufism on World Literature: From Rumi to the Present Day.” The festival continues until Dec. 17.

 The Greater Istanbul Municipality Chambers of Culture and Social Works and Pi Productions are organizing the Pera Fest, which includes various events, ethnic and classical music, tango, flamenco, and modern dance and animation films.

 For further information, visit




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