World-renowned Turkish multi-instrumentalist Burhan Ocal, a peerless finger drum musician. Burhan Ocal has spent his career bridging the musical cultures of East and West, ancient and modern..
A native of Kirklareli, near Istanbul, he grew up in a musical family, From his father he learned a variety of percussion instruments, while his mother introduced him to religious vocal music. At an early age he was influenced by and began performing Turkish court and folk music, as well as neo-classical Turkish music. After his first contact with western music, he became interested in combining other genres and cultural traditions, such as jazz and Western classical music, with his own.
Burhan Ocal's instruments are as diverse as his music. In addition to a wide variety of percussion, such as the darbuka ( a vase-shaped drum played with the fingers), He is highly skilled player on a number of stringed instruments, including diwan-saz, tanbur and oud. His expressive voice adds to the spectrum of musical elements at his command.
Burhan Ocal has divided his time between Istanbul and Zurich. Seeking out a range of world-class collaborators, he has also performed with world-fame pianist Maria Joao Pires, jazz keyboardist (and Weather Report founder) Joe Zawinul, classical guitarist Eliot Fisk, the Kronos Quartet, with STING, Jamaaladeen Tacuma ( of Ornette Coleman's band) , Andreas Vollenweider, with the German trance/ambient artist Peter Namlook, as a guest artist with the George Gruntz Concert Jazz Band. At the 2001 Montreal Jazz Festival that summer, he appeared with an oriental style funk ensemble, Groove alla Turca, Burhan Ocal and Jamaaladeen Tacuma as well as the Istanbul Oriental Ensemble. They performed for more than 80,000 people in the featured concert outdoors in downtown Montreal. Mr. Ocal's first orchestral compositions (for percussion/violin/voice) with the Kronos Quartet and the second orchestral compositions with the Zurich Chamber Orchestra conducted by Howard Griffiths.
Burhan Ocal has made numerous recordings which have gained him many awards. For example, his first CD with the Istanbul Oriental Ensemble "Gypsy Rum" won the 1995 German Record Critic's Award and got to No .4 in the World Music Chart. The second recording "Sultans Secret Door" came out 1997 and also wone the German Record Critic's Award, which is very unusual. He recieved the Prix Choc in 1996 for his "Jardin Ottoman" and again in 1998 for his "Orient Secret".
Performanced, in North and south America, in all Europe, North Africa, ex Udssr, India, Egypt, and many other Countries.