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Turkish music and folklore focus of Frazee lecture

A singer, composer and scholar of Turkish music and folklore will present a lecture and concert at Linfield College.

Latif Bolat will present “Healing Sounds of Ancient Turkey,” an evening of Turkish Sufi mystic music, poetry and images on Thursday, Nov. 10, at 8 p.m. in the Richard and Lucille Ice Auditorium in Melrose Hall at Linfield. A pre-concert lecture, “One thousand years of Turkish mystic Sufi poetry, philosophy, music and rituals,” will be held at 7 p.m. in Ice.

Bolat will present music, poetry, Sufi mystic stories and images from the ancient land of Turkey. He will perform Turkish folk music and devotional Sufi songs, known as Ilahi and Nefes, from the Anatolian peninsula. The lyrics are taken largely from mystic poets including Yunus Emre, Niyazi Misri and others. Throughout the program, which also includes sacred ballads composed by Bolat, devotional poetry will be recited from 13th Century Sufi poets Yunus Emre and Rumi, and images of Turkish people and scenery will be reflected on a screen.

In addition to presenting the lecture and performance, Bolat will also meet with music, religious studies, sociology and anthropology students while on campus.

Bolat possesses a vast repertoire, ranging from Sufi devotional songs and Turkish folk music to classical pieces. His performances draw on ancient texts and employ traditional instrumentation such as the baglama (long necked lute), and he is often accompanied by other Turkish traditional instruments such as oud, bendir and ney flute. He has performed at festivals and concerts around the world. In addition to Carnegie Hall concerts and lectures, he has recorded four CDs, appeared numerous times on TV and radio and composed music for the PBS documentary “Mohammed: Legacy of a Prophet” and George Lucas’s TV series “Young Indiana Jones.” He is also the co-author of a Turkish Sufi poetry book, “Quarreling with God.” For the past 10 years, he has led educational cultural tours to Turkey.

Bolat is a native of the Turkish Mediterranean town of Mersin. After receiving his degree in folklore and music at Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey, he taught traditional music throughout the country. He went on to manage Ankara Halk Tiyatrosu, a musical theater company, which performed traditional musical plays. Bolat also received further degrees in Turkish history and Middle East religion and politics from Ankara University and an MBA from San Francisco State University.

The program is sponsored by the Department of Religious Studies, the Chaplain’s Office and the Frazee Lecture in Bible and Religion, established by friends and family in honor of Gordon G. Frazee, who served Linfield for 32 years as chaplain and professor of religion. The Frazee fund is used to underwrite an annual lecture under the auspices of the Linfield Religious Studies Department.

The symposium is free and open to the public. For more information, call David Massey, Linfield chaplain and assistant professor of religious studies, 503-883-2259, dmassey@linfield.edu.