Baba Zula were formed in Istanbul in 1996, and co-founders Osman Murat Ertel and Levant Akman remain constants today. Their music began with a new spin on the Anatolian rock greats of Baris Manco and Cem Karaca, and gained international fame after being featured in the film ‘Crossing the Bridge’ by Fatih Akin in 2005. They draw much of their inspiration from 1960’s psychedelia, but their gig at Nells Jazz & Blues featured a much heavier side of their style. While I am a late-comer to the BaBa ZuLa frenzy, their audience was clearly dedicated and diverse. Their extreme intensity draws you into a trance-like state, only to be broken when Ertel climbs onto the bar for his final solo, pulling most of the crowd to him. Melike Şahi, the newest member of the band, was missing from the line up that night, and some of the crowd were obviously disappointed. Şahi’s voice can be crucial in some of their songs as a contrast to the electronic sound. However, Ertel and Akman both gave a completely unique audio and visual experience while not diverging from the true essence of their musical style.
By Maisie Fitzmaurice, BA Development Studies and Study of Religion