Divan & Divine
CATID: EUCD2962 | Label: ARC Music
Divan & Divine is the latest album from Turkish multi-instrumentalist Zeyn’el and will release on 23rd June 2023.
The songs of Divan & Divine are inspired by the poems of the Anatolian troubadours of the 14th to 16th centuries, yet they touch upon and translate to the prejudices suffered by many today.
The album artwork symbolizes that true justice can only be applied with impartiality and without prejudice, a concept that has come to be universally represented by the image of a blindfold. Despite the weighty subject matter, the musical explorations are lifted by light vocals and intricate strings. Zeyn’el’s ultimate message is one of awareness and hope.
The first single, ‘Ela Gözlü Pirim Geldi’, out June 2nd 2023, is one song that focuses on a historical injustice; the horrific execution of the poet Seyid Imadeddin-Nesimi. Then with his original composition, ‘Sevmedi Beni Sevmeyi’, Zeyn’el shines a brave light on child abuse in and around Turkey and the abuse and violence that many women suffer in his homeland, and indeed, around the world.
The profound and complex lessons relayed through these folk songs of yesteryear sparked inspiration in the young Zeyn’el, leading him to study philosophy as an undergraduate. He went on to blossom as a Turkish indie-folk singer, songwriter, and collaborator. Born in Istanbul, he has been immersed in the Anatolian "Aşık/ozan" traditions from an early age.
Zeyn’el now studies for a PhD in musicology at Istanbul Technical University. He has worked as a sound engineer in the Turkish rock music world for over a decade. His work in his homeland’s rock community has allowed collaborations with notable artists, such as Mirkelam, Madrigal, Leman Sam, Evrencan Gündüz, Can Ozan, Batuhan Kordel and Su Soley. Zeyn’el’s prominence in this exciting and passionate scene has allowed him to grace well-known Turkish venues, including Alt Caz, Shaft, Indigo and Hayal Kahvesi Beyoğlu.
Ever the explorer, Zeyn’el’s innate interest in the world has led him to discover new sounds from the Americas, Central Asia, and the Middle East and the opportunity to reflect on similar injustices throughout these regions’ histories. The themes of his heritage resonate with many cultures across the globe.
With such diverse inspiration, it is perhaps not surprising that Zeyn’el produces a unique sound. Accomplished in playing the banjo, ukelele, guitar, and his self-modified merlin dulcimer, Zeyn’el has also evolved his tuning style to allow for a sound more suited to Anatolian music. By combining these musical skills, his philosophical learnings, and the messages passed down from the past, Zeyn’el creates a bold blend of old and new. A captivating combination of Western influences and Turkish-Anatolian tradition that highlights issues of great ethical significance. Sadly, some of these issues are as prominent and relevant today as they were centuries ago.
By truly understanding the profound and ancient words of the past, we can provide a better future for all. A future where truth, love and kindness are the weapons of justice. A justice that is divine.