BERK GÜRMAN – Biography
Berk Gurman is a flamenco. He is both a guitarist and a singer who has a unique artistic personality, a personal and crazy flamenco technique. On August 4th, 1982 he is born with his twin sister with whom he kick started his musical career as a duo according to his point of view. Thanks to all the influences on him; which he described in his own words as the land on which he lives that nurtured him along with his art and music loving parents, Berk grew up under all these influences.
As flamenco, music, painting, poem, literature all get to him, he developed a certain higher sensation for them; in other words he found the reflections of his soul echoing in them. But apart from all of them came flamenco not because he chose; he said it came as a natural way of living, to him a call of truth that rather chose him. A truth that he can no longer be separated from, a truth he is following the wake of its shadow, a truth he got stuck to. His mother’s proficiency in Turkish music, along with his father’s enthusiasm for flamenco and Berk’s love for guitar are the biggest reasons behind his decision to follow his ambitions, in a way music was transferred to him genetically.
His own parents couldn’t follow their musical ambitions and maybe it’s the reason why starting from his childhood he clings to flamenco with everything he got and intertwines himself with the music. He was 9 years old when he started playing the guitar, an instrument which he describes as a bridge between him and the music, but it was long before he felt his connection to the music. As a constant part of his life he was listening to Camaron de la Isla (Cante), Paco De Lucia (toque), long before he played the guitar or sang a song. After all we learn to speak by listening. In this manner, he knew that the produced music was dependant on the vocabulary of the people producing it and that the music without a philosophy wouldn’t live.
Flamenco was philosophy with music, a journey of thinking and feeling that never ends. In his own words, with his perception and feeling of art, he was a voyager, almost like a pilgrim on the path to truth, a path he walks on because of flamenco. This truth started to seep in to him beginning from Efdal primary school, and then continued with FMV Ayazaga Isik high school which he left for Pera fine arts high school to better seek this truth. After high school he went to Bilgi University majoring in sound engineering, but the calling that never ceased a moment get the better of him, and following this calling he left the college to go to Andalusia. In 2003 his application to the Christina Heeren Foundation located in Seville is approved, and in the first year he was initiated as an avanzado which means and advanced initiate. He got to spend time with maestros like Manolo Franco, Miguel Angel Cortes, Nino de Pura, Manolo Sanlucar and this in turn strengthen his technique.
These are what his heart wanted and he sated his heart. He found himself surrounded with brothers and sisters that he felt too familiar with and whom he calls “flamencos.” Andalusia and Anatolia were the lands which he treasured the most and these lands nurtured him. His endeavor to acquaint flamenco guitar with Anatolian people and also facilitate and encourage them to play flamenco guitar, lead to lute, baglama, oud, clarinet, zither and many more local instruments to be a point of interest in Andalusia.
When the time came for him to return to his home, after he has done his military service, he got
to record what is coming from his heart; and in 2007 this presented a Kirkuk folk song to the Latin world and especially Andalusians; Evlerinin onu boyali direk. It was as if there were people who have forgotten or even who have never known that Central Asia originated lute and Middle East originated oud turned into the guitar we know in Iberia Isle by the hands of Ziryab, this track made sure they remembered or learned the truth about the guitar’s origins.
Because the instrument is transported across the Mediterranean, the music and “makam” are also conveyed. After he composed and produced two studio albums, Kismet, 2007 and Iki arada, 2009 which are mostly vocalized by his twin sister Oyku, because he wanted to vocalize and record his songs, they decided to pursue solo careers after the second album.
They each had a different story to tell, Berk wanted to continue on a flamenco as he started out, and in 2011 this left-handed guitarist recorded Yesari his third studio album, dubbing it as all the things crossing his heart.
Yesari means something like a heart that is close to left side. In this studio album, he used the flamenco forms solea, buleria, alegria, rumba, tangos along with a track by Nina Pastori and her husband Chaboli’s, Valgame Dios, which is translated by him from Spanish to Turkish.
For Berk art is to do something that is never done, and also never to repeat what you have already done. This is how Berk Gurman feels, the singularity of all the things that are different, the unity of things universal. Maybe it is not an easy road to journey on, but it is who he is, and what he loves the most; flamenco.