Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | May 4, 2010

international music at molly’s cafe

i am so lucky to know so many musicians!  as a result, there is great music at molly’s cafe.  here are some examples.

donovan mixon

jazz has become an international genre, but americans know it best.  there is not a huge jazz scene here in istanbul, but i am lucky to be friends with donovan mixon, who is a professional jazz guitarist.  he plays about once a month at molly’s cafe, with the next time on sat may 8 from 9 to 11.

nicholas and hayyam

turkish sanat music is the traditional ottoman music, though it is also connected with the traditional music of arab culture.  at the last turkish jam session there were 4 people playing three ouds and one also playing violin.  these four people were from canada, france, malta, and iraq.  it was amazing to watch them play together and a great pleasure to hear them.  sometimes an armenian turkish french woman, agnes agopian,  plays qanun, which is a kind of dulcimer.  she is very serious about her music and is well known in turkey in that circle.  she has explained how this music is played together on the same notes, unlike western music, which involves harmonies.  when one instrument is playing more, the others strum a kind of chord as an accompaniment.  truthfully, i did not like this music much as first because i did not know much about it, but now i have learned more about the music itself and i have come to enjoy it a lot.  a couple of sessions ago, there were so many musicians that they had to play in two shifts!  one musician was a percussionist but had not brought a drum, so he used a wooden backgammon board instead. turkish jam sessions are every 2nd wed, with the next one on wed may 12,  8 to 10  (or 11 or 12!) and then again on wed may 26.

karl doblhammer

this month a german musician will play and sing in german.  karl doblhammer is austrian and goes back and forth from here to austria.  his wife teaches at the austrian high school down the street.  karl was a little concerned about playing here because so many of his songs are in german, but music is international, and it is an opportunity for my german-speaking customers to enjoy the words. karl will play at molly’s cafe on sat may 15 from 9 to 11.

grup alcala

a turkish group, grup alcala, will come to play latin music on may 22 from 9 to 11.  they have been around for a long time and pretty much get the beat.  latin music is actually quite popular in turkey, as the rhythm suits the culture.  tango and latin dance classes are very popular in istanbul.  perhaps we can get up and dance when grup alcala is playing at molly’s cafe!

inca sol

i am very excited about having a group of ecuadorean incas play here at molly’s cafe.  they have been coming to istanbul for four years now.  they sell ecuadorean do-dads on the street and there are two groups of them that play music.  one group cracks me up– they dress in american indian feather headdresses, but they play incan music.  i am sure it is because turks think they are kizilderi, redskins.  their music is very good, with both the melancholy of the pipes and the active energy of all the instruments.  i arranged for them to play with my crappy spanish and their crappy english and turkish, with side negotiations in quechua, their native language. they will play on wed may 19 from 8 to 10 and sat may 29 from 9 to 11.

i am very pleased that molly’s cafe has become so international, not only in its customers, but also in its music.  i hope you will stop by soon to enjoy the environment here, with or without music!



  1. FYI: The Iraqie Oud played is called Khyam Allami (Not Hayam), also, being a fan of this sort of music, I’d recommend you to look up his album

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