A famous folk singer in Turkey
If you travel for long in Turkey as a Canadian you will inevitably be asked, “Do you know Brenna MacCrimmon?” or “Do you like Brenna MacCrimmon?”
I once blogged about the most famous Canadian in China – Dashan – who achieved fame not for his ability to speak Chinese, but for his ability to perform a particular style of comedy in Chinese. Similarly, Brenna MacCrimmon not only speaks Turkish, but sings traditional folk songs in Turkish, and by doing so beautifully has apparently won the hearts of several million Turks.
MacCrimmon sings “Yağmur Yağar Taş Üstüne”
From Ontario to Istanbul
MacCrimmon discovered Turkish and Balkan folk music in the vinyl record collection of a public library in Ontario. She began collaborating with Turkish and Macedonian musicians, and then ventured across the Atlantic to the source of the music. She traveled Turkey and Balkans for five years, learning language, music, and ways of life.
She has continued to collaborate widely, including with Baba Zula, a Turkish Psychedelic Folk Art Rock band. She also appeared in “Crossing the Bridge”, Fatih Akin’s 2005 documentary on the Istanbul music scene.
I love that she has renewed local people’s appreciation of their own music genre, and I am as impressed as anyone by her Turkish pronunciation in singing, which my Turkish friends say is impeccable.
As one YouTube commenter writes, “elinize sağlık”, translated as “health to your hands” and used to give praise to the maker of something beautiful.