Recently I found myself having to explain where I live. In Cyprus? Yes, but …so let’s start with a little housekeeping.
I always refer to “North Cyprus.” That’s how I know this country and how most of my English friends describe it. To give it its full title, it is the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, also known as the TRNC – or, in Turkish, the KKTC (that is Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti). It is, according to Wikipedia, the de facto state that comprises the northeastern portion of the island of Cyprus. Thank you.
North Cyprus is a fascinating place. It lies in the heart of what used to be known as the Levant, the lands set within and around the eastern Mediterranean. It is a glorious mix of cultures, Ottoman, Ancient Greek and Western, with some Arabic influences.
Music lovers are spoilt for choice. Many famous names have come to perform here from tenor José Carreras to pop legend Tom Jones and metal gods Deep Purple. Fans of classical music have two outstanding venues to enjoy, within the ancient walls of Bellapais Abbey and the spectacular seaside Amphitheatre in Kyrenia. Both will be put to good use in the weeks to come.
Next Tuesday (6th June) kids from the Cyprus Art, Music & Ballet School will be performing at the Abbey. The violin and brass instrument students will be play popular classics, led by their tutor, French horn maestro, Turgay Hilmi.
Turgay is an internationally-renowned musician who has worked hard to promote links between North Cyprus and Germany, where he sends much of his time. Next month (30th July) Hilmi turns conductor for a major concert at the amphitheatre, a joint production with local artists and performers from Germany.
It will feature the Georgensmünd Wind Orchestra, the Nuremberg Concert Choir, the German Rotary Choir and Vox Africa, a choir made up of African students studying in North Cyprus. Concertgoers will hear works from Bach, Beethoven, including the Ode to Joy, Morricone, Lloyd-Webber, and others, while looking out to sea.
For a more sedate evening, how about Karmi Church on Friday 16th June, where local pianist Arman Ratip will play Turkish folk tunes and his own idiosyncratic compositions? Here there are drinks on the terrace from 6pm at Spot Bar and Corner Cafe or book dinner after the show at the nearby Crow’s Nest or Treasure restaurants.