Here is a great example of why I love staying in hostels:
I met this lovely woman here (Janet) who is an artist fresh from an artists residency in Capadoccia (images.google it – it's spectacular). She said that she knew of a drum recital going on in Taskim – which is where all the Turkish people go to party/shop.
Though I'm not really that into drums, I like music and I haven't been going out that much since I've been here, so I decided to go.
To find this place, we had to go into this unremarkable building and up three flights of half-lit stairs. I was just starting to think this is how human trafficking happens when we start to hear drums.
Turns out the 'school' is just a studio space in an apartment building where this woman holds week long intensive courses on the darbuka, the traditional Turkish drum. The recital was supposed to be a celebration of the end of the course and a chance for all the students to play together.
I felt very honored to be there, because me and Janet were the only ones who were not in the course in attendance.
It seemed like a chill session more than a concert and the students had clearly not counted one anyone showing up to be entertained. The teacher had to play about an hour before the students would touch a drum but eventually we were being serenaded (can you serenade someone with a drum?) with the most intricate drum beats.
The teacher than took out what she described as a 'spike fiddle' and started playing. Now, this thing looks like a black widow spider, but sounds like an orchestra. The music sounded like it was coming from the depths of someone's soul. It had a large amount of sympathetic strings, like a citar, but unlike a citar, you play this with a bow, so it resonates deeply. I can't describe it any better than that. I just hope the sounds comes through on the video better.
I could have sat there all night and listened to her play that thing.
One of the girls in the class was really into Balkan folk music and started singing along. It was unreal this mix of cultures that worked together so well.
I ended up having a lot of fun, met some really nice people, did some yoga, and learned a lot about Turkish and Balkan folk music.
What more can you ask out of a school music recital?