Turkish psychedelic five-piece Baba Zula will make their Adelaide debut with three shows at the WOMADelaide festival this year.
Their live shows are unpredictable even if you a well-versed fan – every song involves extended improvisation, which makes each show unique.
Periklis Tsoukalas is the Greek born electric oud player for the group and he says the band prides itself on their unique performances.
“A song on our record that might be 3 or 4 minutes isn’t the same on stage, as we might play it for 10 or 15 minutes,” Periklis says.
“We have the freedom through improvisation on stage, depending on the situation and the chemistry of the people.”
Growing up in a musically orientated family gave Periklis an early understanding of music which helped shape his experience.
“My dad was a drummer in the ‘60s and growing up in a musical family we had many records and instruments in our house,” Periklis says.
“At that point I loved guitar, but after time the oud came to the front and became my main instrument.”
The uniqueness of playing the oud means it’s much harder to find the right gear to complete their rig, as there isn’t as large a market for gear.
However, he does use familiar guitar and bass pedals like Wah and delay (particularly reverse delay) to generate psychedelic sounds.
“Even if you’re a guitar player the research never stops, guitar players are always changing guitars, amps and pedals,” Periklis says.
“You can imagine how much harder it is for us oud players to find the best amplifiers and other equipment.”
The group was initially formed in Istanbul in 1996 by Levent Akman (spoons, percussions, machines, toys) and Murat Ertel (electric saz and other stringed instruments, vocals, oscillators, theremin).
They have toured all over the world playing in France, Germany, England, Scandinavia, The Middle East, India, Central Asia, Japan and the United States.
In fitting what WOMAD represents, the group has been defined by its multi-cultural involvement and appeal.
“It’s funny because some of the member’s ancestors came from Greece and my ancestors came from Istanbul,” Periklis says.
“We feel privileged to be playing such places and it’s really important for us to meet all these different cultures.”
Grab your tickets HERE.
Check out Baba Zula’s live performance of “Abdülcanbaz” in Berlin.