The Turbans - The Turbans (Six Degrees Records)

Add Date: 04/03
Focus Track: 1, 3, 9, & 4
FCC: Clean
Format: World

Artist Info: In a politically divided time it’s hard to imagine a band comprised of members from across Europe and the Levant as not being inherently progressive. The Turbans’ lineup features musicians with roots in Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel, Iran, Greece, Spain, and England. Yet transmitting a political message was not their initial impulse. It was simply music.

And friendship, as it turns out. Oshan Mahony, the “seventh best guitar player in the band” he says with a laugh—the core group is seven members—met violinist Darius Luke Thompson in Kathmandu. The half-Iranian, half-British nomads immediately hit it off. They began busking throughout India, picking up musicians along their journey.

Seven years later The Turbans deliver to global audiences the same high-energy blend of Balkan, klezmer, Gypsy, and sundry other styles they’ve been bringing to venues around the world for years—India, Hong Kong, the Middle East, and all throughout Europe and North America. While the band has pulled from numerous folk traditions for live shows, recording required a new mindset. 

“For this album we all went together to the farmhouse where I grew up in Northumberland,” says Mahony, whose parents bought a previously abandoned five-hundred-year-old property on the border of Scotland and England and turned it into a community arts center. “We all contributed about thirty songs. Some were traditional sounding, others were poppy. When you have a classical violinist playing an Indian raga you create something really weird and new.”

The breadth of genres on these eleven songs is astounding, which is why Kurdish percussionist Cabbar Baba called The Turbans “music from manywhere.” This coinage has also come to serve as the band’s reply to where they’re from.