Sam Karpienia / Ulaş Özdemir / Bijan Chemirani
A fertile dialogue between the Occitan Troubadour and the Anatolian Aşik
The FORABANDIT Project was born in Marseille in 2009 with the goal of celebrating libertarian poetry
from Occitania and Anatolia. The group resulted from the fortuitous encounter between three musicians who manifest this libertarian force daily.
Sam Karpienia, singer and mandolin player, uses a contemporary approach to perpetuate the lyric tradition of courtly poetry employed by the troubadours of Occitania in the South of France. Ulaş Özdemir, on the other hand, carries on the tradition of aşık songs from Anatolia, a figure of the itinerant troubadour.
Both take their inspiration from traditional songs only to reinvent them in their own fashion. The Persian rhythms of Bijan Chemirani’s percussion mingle subtlety with the songs of these new poets. The troubadour and the Aşık share a common itinerant lifestyle that leads them to travel incessantly throughout their countries. Their poetry gradually loses its religious content to become a descriptive, critical and engaged chronicle on the daily life of their peoples.
With the Forabandit project, the three musicians explore the relationship between music from different backgrounds and from foreign cultures to see how they can nourish each other in order to create something new, an innovation, an original creation, the fusion of the past and present. The value of this approach lies precisely in the apprehension of culture and tradition considered not as a foundation but as a vanishing point in perpetual motion.
The term «forabandi», which in the Occitan language means “be put aside”, incorporates all manner of deviant or heretical thoughts, be they religious or secular. The word “bandit,” included therein, also reveals the group’s musical direction: Forabandit seeks to express its viewpoint on both poetry and music with a brigand’s attitude. The group employs in an unprecedented way melodies and traditional poems about love, commitment, struggle or confinement, but also composes works based on contemporary poets.
The subtle songs of these new, modern day troubadours are revived by the soft and intimate voice of Ulaş Özdemir and find a powerful echo in the hoarse, expressive and profound voice of Sam Karpienia. To the rhythmic pulsations of Bijan Chemirani’s zarb, they reveal all the vibrant poetry of Occitania and Anatolia in a resolutely Mediterranean setting.
“Forabandit,” the group’s eponymous debut album, was recorded using analog technology. It features the bağlama, the sacred instrument of the aşıks of Anatolia; the mandocello of the mandolin family; the zarb (tonbak), the principal percussion instrument of traditional Persian music, and two vocals.
With the desire of expressing moments of love, refusing moments of resignation, FORABANDIT grooves in order to find age-old moments of freedom, works of what could have been and may still be…