Cumhuriyet
Black Sea Jazz and Mircan 

“Music is the reason for my existence” ,

 

 says MIRCAN. She is a successful civil engineer but the passion for music inside her knows no end. On her new album, Sâlâ, she fuses the sounds of the Black Sea region with jazz rhythms, singing songs about triumphing in life in spite of losses.

 

Mircan’s broad range of musical skills comes from the days she spent in the village of Içkale (formerly known as Chxala) in the district of Borçka. When Mircan was 9 years old, her family moved from Artvin to Istanbul, but they went back every summer to the village, where she was deeply impressed by the matchless natural beauty and all of the music which was preserved there.

 

Mircan studied civil engineering at Yıldız Technical University and completed a master’s degree at Boğaziçi University. After that, she worked on several projects related to engineering technology. Mircan is currently running a Turkish office that represents a multinational company operating in the field of earthquakes and construction technology.

 

“Engineering is a field in which I received professional training after I grew up. Music, though, is an emotion that has existed inside me ever since I was born. Singing and making music makes my existence meaningful.”

 

SYMPHONIC ROCK EXPERIMENTS

 

When Mircan was in university, she sang in a Turkish choir and participated in folk dances. She also started a music group with some friends that included her ex-husband, Erhan Kemal Kaya. Named Vaha, this group played symphonic rock music and Mircan continued performing with the band after graduating.

 

Music was a part of her life, but she was also successful in her profession: “Engineering is at least as attractive to me as music. Engineering technology might seem to be the exact opposite of music, but I got excited about my work. Sometimes becomes a desire becomes more and more intense until you explode, and that’s how it was a few years ago when I pick up my guitar, said ‘I am going to sing’ 

 

 

OUR LULLABIES

 

Mircan has been performing in a club in Arnavutköy with Emin İgüs for almost two years. Her album titled Bizim Ninniler (Our Lullabies) was released in 2004. Her next album, Kül (Ashes), was released by Kalan Müzik in 2005 and features folk songs performed “spontaneously” in a “non-traditional” style. One example of that style is Bilmem Neden Böyle Soldmu, a Neşet Ertaş folk song, which she performs with an electric guitar and improvised backup vocals. She performs Evlerinin Önü Yoldur with blues techniques and also sings a song in Georgian language. She says, “Kül was an album that focused on pain and sorrow. We included songs that I thought emphasized peace and which embrace everything in a compassionate way. You could describe Kül as an album that is a distillation of all the different music channels that I have been listening to.”

 

 

FRETTING OVER LOST TIME

 

After releasing Kül, Mircan wasted no time and started working on Sâlâ right away. As she was researching Laz and Megrel music, she began corresponding with Roger Mills, who was studying the same subject on the internet. Mills is an Australian researcher and musician living in England who poured his heart and soul into mixing Sâlâ in Bristol. The album cover features a memorable photograph taken when she was leaving Babs May, the 82-year-old landlord of the house she stayed at for 15 days in Bristol.

 

 

FAVORITE POETS

 

Mircan wrote a song based on Metin Eloğlu’s Kalıncacık poems, and for years she sang it with a single guitar. On this album, she performs it with an arrangement that resembles jazz: “The melodies for Özdemir Asaf’s poems, Çağrı and Ölümün Yükselişi ve Çöküşü, came to me about three years ago when I was playing my guitar in my home. These are related to the theme of the album, which is overcoming death. What is important is to learn to live with that pain and enjoy life in spite of everything. That is why I am a person who is able to really enjoy life. Perhaps that is why I enjoy things that other people do not notice. It is important to be able to reconcile with the loss of people we love very much. Those are the emotions that I tried to communicate.”

 

UNCATALOGUED

 

If you wait for three minutes after the end of the last song on the album, For You, you can listen to a different version of the same song “Seed of a Denial” remixed by Roger Mills. Mircan has to use English a lot in her daily life, and she really enjoys singing the English songs on the album.

 

A company named Mondomix has made an agreement with Mircan for the electronic rights to Sâlâ and will handle worldwide digital sales for the album.

 

After she had recorded the album, she took it to the managers of a music production company, who said, “Very beautiful but we’re not sure  it will fit our catalog.” She answered, “I want to do music that is not catalogued anyways,” and decided to start her own company. She founded her company to support her own music as well as to have the opportunity to work on different projects as well. She called the company UnCatalogued Music Production in order to describe her own style, which does not fit into any musical category.

 

“I am fighting to stay outside of the mainstream in spite of pressure from the media. I am investing the money I earn from engineering into my music as an effort to remind people about what music used to be and what its purpose used to be. At the very least, music did not used to be a way of earning money.”

 

Hatice TUNCER - Cumhuriyet – Feb. 4, 2007