Özel Turkbas

Ozel Turkbas made five incredible records of authentic but fully modernized Turkish music on her own El-Ay label (last known address in Flushing, NY). Several feature even deep funk breaks, electric guitar, Moog synthesizer, and Middle Eastern organ solos. The music is the genius of arranger and conductor Tarik Bulut, clearly a master of the full spectrum of traditional Middle Eastern music (all types and instruments). Most or all of the LPs feature dance-instruction booklets. Typically there is one nearly side-long dance routine, and Ozel always sings on some cuts.

Born in 1940, Ozel starred in fourteen Turkish movies before being brought to the U.S. in 1959 to play La Orientale in Franco Zefirelli's production of Opera Thais. She had command of the Greek and Arabic languages and dances as well as Turkish. Major appearances included long runs in Texas and Washington, D.C. She graces the jacket of the early LP Keyif in Istanbul (Nina L-82) in addition to her own records.

Buying: All five are essential.

Ozel Turkbas LPs

7How to Make Your Husband a Sultan; El-Ay 2687 (1/3 of Music for Belly Dancing; Murray Hill 944332)
9How to Belly Dance for Your Sultan; El-Ay 2789
9Dance Into Your Sultan's Heart; El-Ay 2877 (1/3 of Music for Belly Dancing; Murray Hill 944332)
8Alla-Turca; El-Ay 2982; 1975 (1/3 of Music for Belly Dancing; Murray Hill 944332)
8Kismet; El-Ay E-5436; 1978

Ozel Turkbas Books

The Art of Belly Dancing
The Belly Dancer in You
The Turkish Cookbook

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