Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Turkey’s Bridge to Modernity

When a society decides to embrace modern western secularism, what sort of soundtrack does that produce? Crossing the Bridge: the Sound of Istanbul is a new documentary opening in New York June 9th, captures some of the music of contemporary Turkey, which is providing the backdrop for some of the most dramatic events in current world history.

With tens of thousands of Turkish citizens, outraged by recent Islamic motivated violence, demonstrating for secularism and against the current government, Turkey seems to be making a decisive step. The EU, perhaps worried about losing Turkish labor for jobs “Europeans just won’t do,” is less than thrilled, but that should not deter them. The will of the Turkish people seems clear. They want a government that guarantees a peaceful, secular, and modern society.

Crossing the Bridge, like Turkey, seems to feature artists like Orient Expressions and Baba Zula, that might be influenced by tradition, but are producing a modern sound. Other artists featured in the press kit are quite diverse, including notably a Kurdish singer, and a Canadian-born folk singer, suggesting Turkey is indeed becoming an increasingly tolerant, pluralistic, modern society.