June 2016, Letting Go and Receiving

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1am in Sydney, non-stop rain for 2 days, winter streaked grey skies inviting me to cocoon in, read and listen – fill the cup of inspiration. The book I just finished was the ‘Art of Asking’ (or how to stop worrying and let people help) by Amanda Palmer, the singer/songwriter who lives her life as an act of letting go, receiving and sharing her art, her heart. (check her out at amandapalmer.net/theartofasking).

 

In my own humble way, I have been living a version of her lifestyle. After the Australian Arts Council grant funding came through, I basically found myself with my hands out – accepting and depending on the support of friends and family as I couch surfed my way through writing an album and recording it in Sydney, Cairns and Istanbul (the grant money only covered production expenses). No home to call my own, literally living out of a suitcase and at times, feeling pretty vulnerable. It
was a year and a half of allowing life to take the steering wheel and putting
the breaks on my own stubborn will. Much harder than it sounds, even after
quite a bit of practice, I can’t say I ever got used to receiving without feeling
like a bit of a burden.

  

Bu apparently the truth of the matter is, when you let someone give you a gift, it releases the bonding hormone oxytocin within them. In other words, the person who is giving gets a feel-good high and feels closer to you as a result. Perhaps that’s why
spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama often say it is when we give that we are
truly happy.

 

To all the amazing people who gave me a home, a heart to lean on, family, inspiration, care, feedback, home-cooked meals, support and blessing after blessing, THANK YOU again and again. A thousand thank yous. I am deeply grateful.

June 2016, Letting Go and Receiving

1

 

1am in Sydney, non-stop rain for 2 days, winter streaked grey skies inviting me to cocoon in, read and listen – fill the cup of inspiration. The book I just finished was the ‘Art of Asking’ (or how to stop worrying and let people help) by Amanda Palmer, the singer/songwriter who lives her life as an act of letting go, receiving and sharing her art, her heart. (check her out at amandapalmer.net/theartofasking).

 

In my own humble way, I have been living a version of her lifestyle. After the Australian Arts Council grant funding came through, I basically found myself with my hands out – accepting and depending on the support of friends and family as I couch surfed my way through writing an album and recording it in Sydney, Cairns and Istanbul (the grant money only covered production expenses). No home to call my own, literally living out of a suitcase and at times, feeling pretty vulnerable. It
was a year and a half of allowing life to take the steering wheel and putting
the breaks on my own stubborn will. Much harder than it sounds, even after
quite a bit of practice, I can’t say I ever got used to receiving without feeling
like a bit of a burden.

  

Bu apparently the truth of the matter is, when you let someone give you a gift, it releases the bonding hormone oxytocin within them. In other words, the person who is giving gets a feel-good high and feels closer to you as a result. Perhaps that’s why
spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama often say it is when we give that we are
truly happy.

 

To all the amazing people who gave me a home, a heart to lean on, family, inspiration, care, feedback, home-cooked meals, support and blessing after blessing, THANK YOU again and again. A thousand thank yous. I am deeply grateful.

Anzac Special

April 2016, blog – Anzac special

anzac blog

Hi everyone. I am back in the rainforest now, in Cairns Australia where I am working on the edits for my upcoming album . I LOVE it up here in the tropics, swimming in water holes, eating fresh papaya and mangrove crab.

This time last year, I was in Gallipoli (Anzac Cove, Turkey) for Anzac Centenary, playing live in the presence of 24 world leaders including Prince Charles and Harry. Representing 2 cultures and acting as a peace ambassador was the ultimate experience, as this is why I make music and basically what my art is about.

In honour of the ongoing Anzac Centenary commemorations, and an offering of peace, I'm offering a free mp3 download of the exclusive "Season of Plums, Istanbul Edit" to all who sign up to my mailing list. This “Istanbul-ized” version of the song is not available for download anywhere else. It features the oriental stylings by fretless guitarist (Sinan Cem Eroglu) and was recorded especially for Russell Crowe. The song was given to him personally on the set of his "The Water Diviner" film, in Istanbul and he not only played it on the set but had the name of the song painted on a movie prop too. Can you imagine my surprise when I saw, on the big screen, the words "SEASON OF PLUMS" painted on a hessian sack in the middle of the Gallipoli war field??!! The sack got blown up in the opening scene, and I too was blown away!

I was blessed to work with Russell Crowe for a day and experience his generosity, while again representing both my cultures in the spirit of peace.

You can download your own copy of the song directly from my new website:

http://behiyesuren.com/
And here's a link to a little slide show video of the Water Diviner film shoot:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FoqCmENqwFk

Season of Plums music video - finally!!!! yayyyyyy !!!!!

Hi everyone, this month I'm excited to share my music video for Season of Plums, finally! It was made with the team at Mulong productions, in Cairns, Australia. I chose this older song, even though I’m in the process of recording a new album, simply because it’s fun and playful. Dressing up in 50s clothes, finding some local/international talent and shooting the clip in tropical Northern Australia brought me and the whole team joy, I hope it does the same for you.

You can watch it directly from the link below. If you like it, please share it.

http://behiyesuren.com/

or via my youtube channel

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq_hwXVipq0

Thanks a million :)

 

Australia Council for the Arts Approval

australian council arts logo

Dear Ms Suren,

Congratulations on your successful application to the Australia Council for the Arts. We have approved $19,930.00 for the following purpose: To make an album of original songs with contemporary Western and Turkish folk music influences

You were successful in a very competitive environment and we look forward to receiving updates on the project’s development.

Happy, inspired 2016... it’s been ages since I last blogged.

I’ve been busy making the album that set me off on an epic journey from Sydney to Cairns to Istanbul, experiencing the best couple of years of my life so far. I have received many gifts, both rock-star grand in nature and humble. Learning to receive wasn’t easy for a person more accustomed to giving. That’s what these last couple of years has in part been about. I came to realise that when you give you’re in control and when you receive, you dance a much more vulnerable, unpredictable dance. Also, I understood that when you allow someone to give you something, it develops their bond of love towards you. Receiving is in essence the truest, heart-opening act of generosity.

Street Music

Hi beautiful friends,

It’s been a while since my last blog. I just wanted you to know that I am still alive and kicking. I hope you’re all fantastic. Here in Istanbul, spring has broken through winter’s stagnant seal; sunny days lined with pastel-blossomed, jade-leafed trees faintly murmur the promise of summer as the turquoise, ancient Mediterranean generously prepares herself for the droves of guests she will receive. Next week I am visiting her in Kas (a little town not too far from Antalya) for a little songwriting inspiration…

Ethnomusical Adventures

For those of you who don't know, I got the twitch again and have embarked on yet another leg of this musicological journey of self-discovery. The ride started out bumpy from ice, snow and anxiety. The day I left, snowflakes were dancing down in a wiggling motion over Istanbul like a premonition of the whirling dervishes I was on my way to see in Konya. As my comfort zone faded into the background, the landscape outside the bus window turned into highways of vanilla ice-cream with chocolate mud stripes carved out by car tyres. After arriving in the new city, I rushed directly to the Mevlana Cultural Centre for the sema ceremony. The mevlevi dervishes appeared on the arena floor, the orchestra began, and as each dervish closed his eyes, raised his face and arms upward and began to lose himself in movement and music, so did I:

Blog Beirut

I land in Beirut and am immediately taken by the striking contrasts. In the French influenced architecture peppered with bullet holes, the disarray of traffic and haze of pollution beneath the enveloping mountains, I see sheer beauty. The small city of 1-2 million is buzzing with vibrancy, like a seed about to germinate for the upteenth time in history, it is a potent vine that refuses to let a civil war or any outside force keep it from thriving.

A Journey Back In Time

Tonight, post Christmas in a Muslim country where surprisingly, the streets are decorated with fairy-lit trees for the "Noel Festival", the stores have been deadly calm for December and the skies generously opened on Christmas Eve to sprinkle snow on this excited little Aussie, I sit in my tropically over-heated apartment writing this last blog for 2011.

And of course, it must begin with a big thanks to all of you for taking the time to read and share your thoughts with me this year. What an adventurously rich time 2011 has been, visiting the motherland and seeing so clearly and undoubtedly why I sing and write the music that I do.

Buoyant Black Sea dreams

Buoyant Black Sea dreams

As some of you already know, I just couldn’t stay away from Istanbul, he lured me back in like an unpredictable lover, maintaining his ground as my muse and master. I say 'master' because I keep on learning difficult lessons here and ‘he’ because my friend suggested Istanbul was a man, free-spirited, powerful and intoxicating. The image made me laugh. “How true”, I thought, “I’m hooked”.

Heading East

Thank you to everyone who came to see my first show ever in Istanbul last night with a line-up that sums up this eclectic city - bass player AryaAfshar Mohajer from Iran, percussion player Miguel Moreno from Spain and violinist Okan Arikan from Turkey. I was so thrilled with the music, a perfect blend of east/west influences. I've posted some images on facebook and will have a video up on youtube shortly.

grandfather Dies To Save Family Honour

Speaking of roots (see blog below), I’ve been busy digging mine up. Here’s the interesting story I uncovered…

The women of my grandmother’s and great grandmother’s generation often had two or three marriages in their lifetimes because their husband’s would go off to war and not come home. My grandmother (nene) and namesake, Behiye Suren, lost her first husband under more mysterious circumstances. He died when he was only 25 years old.

Belonging

Belonging - how important is it? Somewhere at the core of my being, I have longed to. Here, in the motherland, Turkey, I see how being cut off from my roots and then cutting myself off in a rejection of oppressive, traditional values, only I got hurt. This kind of hole in your psyche can not be filled up with any external thing. After years of seeking, globe trotting, experimenting with lifestyles, careers, romance, anything but the thing I was running from, I realise that only the seed of your being, the people and place where you come from, can give you the core strength or 'roots' to be who you are. But I guess you have to be ready to accept it or the experience, though right under your nose and searching for you, will never find you. Rumi says that it isn't the thirsty wo are looking for water but the water itself that is looking for the thirsty...was Turkey waiting for me?

My Blog

So the day after tomorrow I leave for Istanbul but first heading to Seoul to check out the undergound music scene in a part of town called Hongdae. I'm hoping to jam and even better, perform with some of the local musos. And my mouth is watering at the thought of the local food markets...sundubu (seafood tofu spicy soup), here I come!