ÖNDER FOCAN Trio, Turkiye
Önder Focan – guitar
Enver Muhamedi – bass
Burak Cihangirli – drums
Some years ago, the renowned and established jazz guitarist Önder Focan joined forces with 2 younger instrumentalists who attracted a lot of appreciation recently and formed a trio. Such a trio of jazz guitar, bass and drums is an interesting ensemble in the jazz world providing orchestral textures, interplay and a lot of freedom for the players at once. Therefore, they choose their repertoire very carefully – it consists of special arrangements for their format, originals by Önder Focan, jazz standards and jazz arrangements of Turkish music.
Önder Focan started his musical journey by playing mandolin at the age of 8. He switched to guitar at 15 and gradually turned entirely to jazz. Being mainly self-taught, he has become a jazz musician and a sought-after guitarist, composer, and arranger. Eager to become better and better, he attended seminars of the International Association for Jazz Musicians and took Jazz Ensemble courses at the Istanbul Academy. In 1997, he performed as a representative of Istanbul Culture and Arts Fund at the Guitar Night that was organized by MIDEM with 11 international guitarists. In 2000 he was named the best artist in Western Music at Mujdat Gezen Art Centre. Since 2002, he has been the art director of Nardis Jazz Club. More than 315 musicians have performed at the club, often accompanied by Önder Focan – among them we may mention Benny Golson, Kurt Elling, Dianne Reeves, Al Foster, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Roy Haynes, Tierney Sutton, Kenny Drew Jr, Roseanne Vitro, Christian Mc Bride, Roy Hargrove, Ron Carter and an abundance of local top musicians. Always valuing and recognizing social responsibility projects, Focan has directed and coordinated projects such as Istanbul – Pori Music Networking, which enables young musicians to have experience on stage both in Istanbul and Pori.
Önder Focan has released 15 albums. In 1998 Beneath the Stars, featuring the great drummer Bill Stewart and Hammond B3 player Sam Yahel, honored him as the first Turkish jazz musician to record for Blue Note label. He has participated in more than 90 festivals in Turkey, USA, France, Germany, France, China, Malta, Italy, Brazil, Senegal, Finland, Australia, Jordan,Hungary, Switzerland, Croatia, Serbia, Cameroon, Estonia and more.
Enver Muhamedi was born in 1994 in Mitrovica, the city in the north of Kosovo, once known as the center of rock and jazz music. He used to play classic guitar first, then double bass. He was part of many bands and orchestras ranging from jazz to rock in Kosovo and Albania playing acoustic and electric bass. In 2014 he moved to Istanbul and quickly became one of the most favored session musicians in the jazz/music scene there. Among the festivals he has performed at are Istanbul and Ankara Jazz Festivals, Pristina, Tirana, and Berat Jazz Festivals, ReMusica Contemporary Music Festival, as well as in London, Zurich, Fribourg, Bern, Luzern, Basel, Tilburg, Breda, Lviv, Utrecht with many famous jazz musicians – David Friedman, Christos Rafalides, Michel Godard, Yotam Silberstein, Roy Paci, Giovanni Mirabassi. He resides in Istanbul, plays in many jazz ensembles and also works as a bass player, back vocalist, acoustic guitarist and arranger with the Turkish hip-hop singer Ozbi, He has recently released his first solo album ‘Letter to K’, an homage to the country where he was born and grew up and the journey to Turkey after the war in Kosovo. The music can be described as a combination of jazz, classical, folk and world music with melodic compositions accompanied by interactive improvisations.
Burak Cihangirlu encountered music at a very young age with the help of his father,
who is also a drummer. In his student years, he enrolled in Bahcesehir University’s Jazz Certificate Programme and became a pupil of the well-known local jazz musicians Cengiz Baysal, Ferit Odman, Sevket Akinci and Sibel Köse. That gave him the opportunity to quickly become a part of the jazz scene. At the age of only 20 he played drums for the world music band ELI; he was invited to be the drummer at the debut album of Baturay Yarkın Trio; played drums for Nilufer Verdi in the 25th Anniversary of the Istanbul Jazz Festival in 2018. His first solo album is called Destiny, the second – End of the Dream.