Produced & Edited by: Olivia Harlow
Pianist, Selen Gulun—the first Turkish musician to perform in Cambodia—played at Doors last night, where she wowed the audience with her original jazz melodies.
The 43-year-old contemporary songwriter from Istanbul started playing the piano at age seven, dabbling in various genres and exploring compositional techniques ever since.
Though her educational background focused mainly on jazz and classical forms, she claims that her music is very improvisational and doesn’t necessarily fit into one label.
“I like to write every form of contemporary music,” said Ms. Gulun, who has worked with symphony orchestras in London, jazz bands in Mozambique and electronic groups in Austria. “I’m trying to use the language of the 21st century really.”
However, according to Ms. Gulun, being a professional musician in the modern world isn’t always easy.“If you’re a musician, it’s a crazy life,” she said, adding that she’s dealt with a myriad of obstacles related to being a jazz-focused female composer. “Somehow though, you have this courage, just because you love it so much.”
© Olivia Harlow 2015
Since 2006, she has released five albums, with “Answers”
(2010) making #6 and “Baska” (2013) making #4 on top jazz charts in Tokyo just
An album that she recorded with Italian artists earlier this year is meant to release in 2016, along with her latest album titled “The Women’s Matinee”—a collaboration with three Turkey-based female musicians and various instrumental contributors, honoring the life of a dear musical friend who was raped and murdered earlier this year.
According to Ms. Gulun, women’s rights issues and a passion for international travel heavily influence the majority of her songs.
Thus far she has toured to 18 countries— including Mozambique, Japan, Serbia and Cambodia just this year—giving her the opportunity to work with various musicians across the globe and travel to far off places that intrigue her wanderlust spirit.
“That’s why I come here actually—my passion to come to Cambodia,” said Ms. Gulun, adding that she’s wanted to visit the “Kingdom of Wonder” since she was a little girl.
During her two-week visit to the country, Ms. Gulun said she hopes to meet local musicians and experience as much as possible.
“Quite frankly, I don’t know what is driving me here. That’s the excitement. I will find out!”
Ms. Gulun will play again tonight at Chinese House at 7:30, where she said she will most likely play various jazz standards and sing more than she did yesterday evening.