Burhan Öçal, who plays a slew of
instruments from the davul and darbuka to the tambourine
and the piano, is exuberant and unaffected, like his
"My mom and dad used to go to Istanbul, to the Yüksekkaldirim, to buy film. They'd take me and my sisters along. We always got all dolled up. My sisters in starched, hound's tooth hoop skirts and white pointy-toed shoes... 'Cat-eye' sunglasses. It took 14-16 hours by train from Kirklareli (in Thrace) to Sirkeci Station. My mother prepared provisions for the road that she brought along in metal containers like soldiers' rations tins. Cookies made of rye or whole wheat flour. Delicious homemade cornbread spread with tomato puree..." Burhan Öçal's eyes light up as he describes his boyhood days down to the smallest detail. "I was actually one of the luckiest and happiest people in the world," he says. Where the words end, the music begins. He drums a rhythm with his fingers, his feet. He's so happy, so unaffected, so bursting with energy it's impossible not to be caught up in it as he speaks.