Saz: Ancient Instrument’s Epic Journey From Central Asia to the Balkans

Nachtmanova may have met relatively late with Saz in the Berlin suburbs populated by many Turks and Kurds from Turkey, but in a short time has become popular for her enthusiasm for Turkish bardic culture and Saz - and of course for her crystalline voice.

"When I started to play Saz on YouTube it created some kind of interest because I believe I looked very un-Turkish," she says, alluding to her blonde hair.

Journey made in reverse direction Petra Nachtmanova plays Saz on a horse. Photo:

Nachtmanova's popularity reached another peak after she released a documentary film produced by Stephan Talneau, Saz: The key of Trust, this year.

In the documentary, she and her team travel from Berlin to Iran through Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo, Bulgaria, Turkey and Azerbaijan in order to follow the Saz's journey - from the opposite direction.

"We discussed making it a piece of academic research about Turkish bardic culture in Berlin but then our director said, 'Let's make a [documentary] film.' We did not want to go to Anatolia directly from Berlin but decided to follow a line from the Balkans to Anatolia and Iran," Nachtmanova recalls.

She understood that over time that there were two main lines in Saz's westward journey.

"The first was from Central Asia to the Balkans through Anatolia but another ran from India to Kurdish areas in Mesopotamia through Iran. These two main lines are also related to each other," she says.

She adds that the name of the instrument used in a country offers a clue to where the instrument originates from.

"For instance, the Bulgarian Tambura, related to the Indian Tambura or Bosnian Saz, is also related to the Anatolian Saz. The Albanian cifte telli,...

Continue reading on: