I’m in Ankara, in a taxi, speeding through what feels like the middle of the night, although that’s just the jetlag talking. My friend Soo Yong and I are trying to get to the Haverford/Bryn Mawr Chamber Singers’ concert at the architecture building at Anadolu university, but the campus is huge and sombre, full of looming buildings and speed bumps to add excitement to the drive. Eventually our driver drops us off in front of a large, dark and sprawling building, which we enter. No Chamber Singers immediately in evidence, but there’s a murmur of voices down a corridor and we follow it, fining ourselves sudenly surrounded by… jugglers. Some have balls, some have bats, some have diabolos, everything is flying through the air. Which way to the choral concert we ask ( or rather Soo asks)?
“That way!” say two jugglers, one pointing East and the other pointing West. After getting sllightly clearer directions, we set off again, up stairs, down corridors where sneaky little flights of steps lurk to trip us.
“Have you seen a bunch of American singers?” Polite students shrug or look vague. We go down more dark corridors, out a door, are collected by a helpful student who leads us over a bridge crossing a tiny canal, into another part of the building and points helpfully. More hallways, and finally, an auditorium.
We arrived in time for the first song. The audience was impressed with the Bach, and with the spirituals, but the first Turkish song brought down the house—a good thing too, with the composer in the audience. Later the Turkish chorale came out and performed, among other favourites, “Guantanemera” and, of all things, “Sunrise, Sunset.” The last thing I expected to hear in Turkey was Fiddler on the Roof!
So, yes, the Travelling Medievalist is accompanying the Bryn Mawr/Haverford Chamber Singers on their tour of Turkey. Expect more posts on music, Turkish culture and, inevitably, food.