Welcome to Tziganie: Through his music, Ramazan Sesler wants to “bring family heritage to life”

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The Welcome in Tziganie festival kicks off tonight with the Gipsy Kings headlining. Son of Selim Sesler, legendary Turkish clarinettist, Ramazan Sesler has fervently taken up the family torch for many years, as he still intends to demonstrate this Saturday, April 30, on the Seissan stage.

Ramazan Sesler, you are going to participate for the first time in the Welcome in Tziganie festival. Have you ever heard of him before?

In the past, I heard about the festival through artist friends who had performed there. I am thinking in particular of Toma Feterman and his group La Caravane Passe. When the festival contacted us to discuss organizing a concert, I reviewed the great programs of the last 5 years. I am very happy to meet the festival audience and the splendid tent very soon. As well as his team that does a remarkable job.

Also read:
Gers: return with great fanfare for the Welcome in Tziganie festival, from April 29 to May 1 in Seissan

Through your music, do you consider yourself close to the gypsy culture of the Balkans and the famous brass bands? Is it a universe that speaks to you and that you like?

Of course I feel close to the Balkan gypsy culture. I myself am a gypsy and my grandparents’ generation came from Drama in Greece, near Thessaloniki. In general, it seems to me inaccurate to disassociate the gypsy, Turkish and Balkan cultures because the peoples, and with them their music and their cultures, have lived together for centuries. We are not talking here about cultures that have coexisted but about a common culture. And this still persists today.

“We all need to get together and celebrate”

That said, this common culture is rich and diversified, so naturally there are nuances, for example in terms of instruments. I do not subscribe to the flow of marching bands and marching bands. We have some specificities related to our Turkish gypsy identity that translates, for example, into the rhythm, the melodies, as well as the instruments. We do not have any brass instruments in our training, but there are two instruments that are very present in Turkish culture: the kanoun and the lute. And more generally, brass bands are rare in Turkey, unlike other Balkan countries.

Was it important for you to take up the torch after your father?

Picking up my father’s torch is very important to me because I come from a line of musicians. I am the guardian of a tradition and a style of three generations. My family has a musical history that begins in Greece and continues, after the Greek-Turkish population exchange in 1922, in Keşan in Turkey, then in Istanbul and on the international scene.

In my career I also develop projects in other musical styles such as jazz, Turkish popular music and pop. But taking up the torch of my father Selim Sesler and keeping this family heritage of several generations alive is essential.

So what are you going to offer the public during the festival?

With my musician friends we contact a beautiful repertoire and with my friend (and manager) Ekim Öztürk and my stage brothers, we will play the wide range of the repertoire of our project “From father to son, a clarinet legend”. Compositions by me and my father, as well as pieces from the Thracian and Balkan repertoire, and also makams of Turkish classical music. To honor the festive spirit of the festival, we’re going to put the emphasis and cursor on festive, rhythmic tracks. After two years of the pandemic, we all need to come together and celebrate. Come and celebrate this party moment in the open air, to dance!

Practical information

TICKETING. For those who do not yet have their precious sesame, there is still time to get it through the website www.welcomeintziganie.festik.net or at dedicated points of sale: Fnac, Carrefour, Géant, Hyper U, Intermarché or Office from Val de Gers to Seissan (allées Pierre Bédat de Monlaur). Presale prices: 27 euros on Fridays (reduced price 25 euros); 22 euros on Saturdays and Sundays (reduced rate 20 euros); cultural pass at 15 euros; three-day pass for 55 euros. More information on the website www.welcome-in-tziganie.com.

PROGRAM. Friday April 29: Bako Jovanovic with Marko Sabanovic (8 pm), Gipsy Kings with Nicolás Reyes (10 pm), Kal Band (0:00 am), DJ Panko (1:30 am). Saturday April 30: Remedios Amaya (6:30 p.m.), Ramazan Sesler (8:30 p.m.), Elvis Ajdinovic and Jelena Markovic (10:30 p.m.), Kiril Djaikovski (12:30 p.m.), DJ Killo Killo (2 a.m.). Sunday May 1: Rozaje (6:00 p.m.), Natacha Atlas and Dzambo Agusevi Orchestra (8:30 p.m.), Parno Graszt and Bohemian Betyars (10:30 p.m.), Pad Brapad (1 hour).

TRANSPORT. Transfers will be offered to festival goers between Auch Bus Station and Seissan at the following times. Friday April 29: departures at 6:15 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; returns at 00:00 and 01:30 Saturday April 30: departures at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.; return at 15:00, 12:00 and 01:30 Sunday May 1: departures at 2:00 p.m. and 6:15 p.m.; returns at 3:00 p.m., 12:00 p.m. and 02:00 a.m. Monday May 2: return at 11:30 a.m.

FESTIVAL “OFF”. On the fringes of the festival, a second free and accessible stage will open for everyone next to the Théâtre de verdure de Seissan, on Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1, starting at 2:00 p.m. Guaranteed atmosphere!

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