Laco Tayfa represents a new synthesis within the Turkish Roma (Gypsy) tradition. Under the leardership of clarinetist Husnu Senlendirici, Laco Tayfa brings Turkish regional folk music into dialogue with contemporary world music styles, fired by a driving Roma improvisational style known as "dogaclama". The name "Laco Tayfa" is a synthesis of Romani and Turkish: "laco" is a Romani world meaning "good"; "tayfa" is an Arabic transplant into Turkish connoting a combined work group, extended family and musical ensemble. "Laco Tayfa" suggests the energy of good musical work, forged out of firendships, shared visions and histories, and coooperative explorations via improvisation and exprerimentation. Laco Tayfa was recently heard on Brooklyn Funk Essential's In the Buzzbag, a syncretic project bringing hip hop, funk , reggae, and rap genres into dialogue with Turkish music and improvisation.
Husnu Senlendirici comes from a family of musicians from the Turkish Aegean coastal town of Bergama, where local Roma musicians play for local inhabitants of different ethnic groups. Interestingly, in this area Roma musicians play versions of brass band instruments. A typical traditional wedding band consists of clarinet, trumpet, snare durm and a double-headed folk bass drum called "davul". The Senlendirici family has consisted of musicians playing clarinet and trumpet for generations, hence the meaning of their last name, "the ones who create celebrations". Husnu's grandfather played trumpet and clarinet, while his father, Ergun, became a highly celebrated trumpet player who moved out of the regional wedding circuit to join studio, conccert and touring musicians working out of Istanbul. After training at the state music conservatory in Istanbul, Husnu joined his father in concerts and recording with world music artists such as Okay Temiz, touring Europe and United States. Husnu also particapted in local avant-garde experiments, such as the fusing of Roma improvisatory style, Turkish melodies and Western classical and jazz harmonies, as pioneered by Engin Duzyol. While seeking new musical challenges, Husnu remanins grounded in local Roma and Turkish urban styles, performing at weddings, with urban singing stars at concerts and on recordings.
For this project with Laco Tayfa, Husnu works with tradional folk material from each of the regions of Turkey, using signature Roma tunes as a basis for a new synthesis which incorporates jazz harmonies, riffs and textures with Indian tabla as well as North African and Arabic rhythmic patterns. In this repertoire, Husnu also presents sounds from his native region, such as 9/8 meter Roma wedding pieces with driving melodic solos in the Aegean style, the melody of an Aegean folk dance form (zeybek) known as Harmandali with solo clarinet and davul in the manner of a neighborhood wedding and an impassioned interpretation of an Aegean urban folk song, Izmir'in kavaklari. Within traditional treatments of these diverse regional styles Husnu embeds new improvisations. Thus the Black Sea piecces maintain the characteristic parallel 4th harmonies, but add suprising twists and silences. The Rumeli (Turkish Balkan) repertoire of Deryalar and Ramize incorporate Roma Macedonian harmonies in 3rds. The Central Anatolian tune from Fidayda is performed in the baglama style characteristic of its origins, but moves into an electro-baglama solo which imitates the guitar. The musicians joining Husnu in Laco Tayfa are from Bergama and Izmir.