Koma Sê Bıra performing on İstiklal Caddesi, Istanbul, Turkey, May 11, 2013:
I visited Istanbul in May, shortly before the violent silencing of civil protest on Taksim Meydanı began. On İstiklal Caddesi – Independence Street – I ran into a gathering of mostly young people. More men than women but not exclusively male dominated. Three young guys started playing music; the crowd was dancing, clapping and cheering. While I watched and listened I was getting the impression that, next to the music, the very act of being present at this place and having their music plaid, had a mesmerizing effect on both the musicians and the audience.
A bit later, a Kurdish-German woman who was visiting from Berlin, told me that the three young guys were Koma Sê Bıra, a group of three Kurdish brothers (as I’m right it’s the translation of their band’s name), all three musicians receiving recognition among the Kurdish community while playing in public places.
A performance of Kurdish music on Istanbul’s Independence Street has quite some symbolic meaning. Not that it is forbidden by law. However, as I learnt by listening to bystanders, it tends to stir some discontent with residents and shop owners, which in turn made one of the musicians feel uncomfortable, and consider to end the performance.
Luckily they didn’t stop playing, so I was able to point my camera, take a few shots and get a feeling of the atmosphere.