Sing in Turkish? Well, ah, okay?

Sometimes, it’s the projects you start with a carefree attitude that give you the most pleasant surprise...

Early last year, my friend (and beautiful singer) Katina Heard came around to my house for a music jam. Not just any music jam, mind you; this was for my friends who play Balkan and Middle Eastern music. And not the sort of crazy songs you see on Eurovision, either. I’m talking about the traditional music played by the grandparents and great-grandparents of current-day Eurovision contestants. Kinda like how Chinese kids are really digging Mozart today.

I’d never heard Katina sing before, but on this particular night, she pulled out her guitar and played a stunningly beautiful Greek song. Her voice was soft, sweet and earthy; it gave me shivers! We discovered we had similar tastes in music (pretty, melodic, gentle), and so after 1am when everyone else had gone home, we tossed around the idea of starting a band. Our guitarist friend Brody Willys soon joined the team, and our band Rose Water was born!

Brody sent us all a link to a Turkish song he’d found on youtube called “Debreli Hassan”, suggesting it might suit our sound. I’m always apprehensive about singing in different languages. What happens if - through mispronunciation - you unknowingly substitute the word for “love” with the word for “garbage bin”? Nevertheless, the song was too gorgeous to pass up, so I consulted a Turkish friend on the pronunciation...and now it’s one of my favourite songs to sing!

A couple of weeks ago, our good friend Amber Hansen made a demo recording of our version for her Masters folio. It was a quick, one-take job...but the result came as a pleasant surprise! The recording features me on clarinet and the top vocal line, Katina Heard on piano accordian and harmonies, and Brody Willys on guitar.
While mixing, Amber said we sounded like floating white clouds, so she put together this little video. I’d love to hear your feedback! 

Rose Water - 'Debreli Hassan' (Demo 2011) from Amber Hansen on Vimeo.