Limerick, Ireland
Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, There is more than one way to skin a sheep, 2007, video projection, 6 minutes 45 second

Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla

b. 1974, USA & 1971,Cuba

This film depicts a Kaçkar tulum player using this musical instrument to fill up the flat tyre of an old bicycle in an underpass bicycle shop in Istanbul. As he tries to inflate the punctured tube, he produces a series of shrill and penetrating notes that roar throughout this busy interchange, creating a soundscape that resonates with the different speeds of modernity and development at the crossroads of Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East. The tulum represents what may be the most ancient piping instrument in the world.

Generally played in the small villages of the Kaçkar Mountains in the eastern Black Sea region of Turkey, especially among the Hemsin and Laz people (but also attributed to the Greek culture that was once present in this region, known as the Pontos), this folk wind instrument, whose fundamental shape is derived from the carcass of a sheep, plays a key role in the transmission of these various ancestral languages, cultures, oral traditions, and music histories. Moreover, its musical variants, from the great pipes of the Highlands to the Roman versions, have played a key role as instruments of war.

Like so many other places in the world confronting the new realities of globalisation, the Kaçkar region faces the difficult challenge of preserving its traditional heritage while finding ways to sustain and develop itself economically. This has led to a major decline in the population of the region, as many people have left to work instead in the larger cities.

(Text: too early for vacation catalogue, 2008)

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