Zest (2017)

Manifesto 

It is the time to unite… and Music unites…”

Different flavors and gustoes, in terms of melody, rhythm, groove and soul, from many different parts of the world, as well as from many different periods in time, shared by many different cultures and backgrounds, are interwoven into the music of “Zest for Life”.

North American, Latin American, Judeo Sephardic, Turkish and original melodies mixed with African, Cuban, Balkan, Anatolian and North American Indigenous rhythms, performed in a jazzy groove –
Let this be Zest… For living… For loving… For life…

Zest – Credits and Song Stories 

01 Zeynebim 5:47

Turkish Anonym Song –beginning of 20th century

It is a beautiful ballad about a one-sided love story of a young man towards a beautiful girl named Zeynep. The story end with Zeynep getting married to the boy that she is in love with, the he accepts this fact even though he has heart pain, because all he wants id Zeynep to be happy.

In this song’ the rhythm vocal resembles the spiritual Turkish ceremonies. Ernie Tollar embroiders the song with the spiritual woodwind – Ney.

Arrangement – Jeremy Ledbetter
Vocal – Zeynep Ozbilen
Rhythm Vocal – Jeremy Ledbetter
Piano– Jeremy Ledbetter
Bass – Roberto Riveron
Drums, Percussion – Marito Marques
Winds – Ernie Tollar (Ney)

02 Los Bilbilicos Cantan 4:25

Traditional Ladino – Judeo Sephardic song.

This is one of the Sephardic Jewish songs with the Ladino Language dating back to 15th Century Spain. It is also said that, contrary to the common belief, most of the Sephardic Jewish songs might have been composed during 19th and early 20th century. The song is in Ladino Language – 15th century Spanish, mixed with Turkish and Hebrew. When the Jewish population has migrated from Spain to Ottoman land during Inquisition times in Spain, they came with their musical richness. Still today, Judeo Sephardic Jews in Turkey, speak Ladino among themselves and even have their newspaper published in Ladino language.

Arrangement – Jeremy Ledbetter
Vocal – Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano – Jeremy Ledbetter
Bass – Roberto Riveron
Drums – Marito Marques
Percussion – Chendy Leon
String Quartet:
Violin – Aleksandar Gajic
Violin – Aysel Taghi-Zada
Viola – Vedran Curic
Chello – Jonathan Tortolano

03 Ay Dos Anyos 4:31

Traditional Ladino – Judeo Sephardic song.

This is one of the Sephardic Jewish songs with the Ladino Language dating back to 15th Century Spain. It is also said that, contrary to the common belief, most of the Sephardic Jewish songs might have been composed during 19th and early 20th century. The song is in Ladino Language – 15th century Spanish, mixed with Turkish and Hebrew. When the Jewish population has migrated from Spain to Ottoman land during Inquisition times in Spain, they came with their musical richness. Still today, Judeo Sephardic Jews in Turkey, speak Ladino among themselves and even have their newspaper published in Ladino language.

Jane Bunnett has taken this beautiful Ballad to a new level by her magnificent alto flute accompany.

Arrangement – Jeremy Ledbetter
Vocal – Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano – Jeremy Ledbetter
Bass – George Koller
Jane Bunnett- Alto Flute
Percussion – Luis Orbegoso

04 Papa, Don’t Give Me Away 4:21

Music and Lyrics – Zeynep Ozbilen

Composed by Zeynep- Ozbilen in May-June 2016.

“Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 28 girls every minute. 1 Every 2 seconds. Over 700 million women alive today were married as children.” a Statistical data from “Girls not Brides” organization’s website.

Being originally from Turkey, which is situated geographically, culturally and historically in the starting point of one of the regions where there exists serious amount of “Human Rights” and specifically Women’s rights’ abuse issues, I have always been very concerned and actively involved in “Women’s Human Rights” issues since an early age. Although in Turkey, this issue is not such a common practice compared to some other counties and geographies, it still exists within certain groups. Being one of the lucky women surrounded by great men since my childhood (with special thanks to my dear father, who has supported me in all my life choices) I feel the strong urge and the responsibility to speak up for the less unfortunate ones.

Child marriage happens across countries, cultures, and religions, which is believed to be fuelled by gender inequality, poverty, traditions, and insecurity. Although child marriage looks different from one community to the next band hence solutions must be local and contextual, I wanted to contribute to the cause by composing a generic song which is a cry out by children to their elders, who are the ones deciding for children.

Besides piano, bass and drums, additional instrumentation include instruments especially Turkish clarinet played by the one-and-only – Husnu Senlendirici of Turkey and percussions from the regions of Anatolia, Middle East and North Africa, played by another one-and-only – Chendy Leon of Canada. The great arrangement by Jeremy Ledbetter is like a translation of my feelings into the music form. Thank you all.

Arrangement – Jeremy Ledbetter
Vocal – Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano – Jeremy Ledbetter
Bass – Roberto Riveron
Drums – Marito Marques
Percussion – Chendy Leon
Clarinet – Hüsnü Şenlendirici
String Quartet:
Violin – Aleksandar Gajic
Violin – Aysel Taghi-Zada
Viola – Vedran Curic
Chello – Jonathan Tortolano

05 Yemen Türküsü 5:54

Turkish Anonym Song –beginning of 20th century

Public domain folk song from Muş region of Turkey dating back to World War 1. It is said that it is a ballad for the young soldiers sent to fight at Yemen frontier during WW1, they were all from the same region Mus, and none of them came back.

Arrangement – Jeremy Ledbetter
Vocal – Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano – Jeremy Ledbetter
Bass – Roberto Riveron
Drums, Percussion – Marito Marques
Violin – Aleksandar Gajic

06 Amapola 4:10

Amapola is composed in 1924 song by Cádiz-born composer Joseph Lacalle. My encounter with this beautiful ballad was when I was watching one of my favorite movies – Once Upon a Time in America. The instrumental version by Ennio Morricone, is used as one of the romantic theme songs throughout the movie. One day when I was singing the melody at home, not having any idea about the lyrics, my father heard me and said: ‘How beautiful. You are singing Amapola.’ Since then it is one of my favorite songs in my repertoire.
Pablosky Rosales has arranged it in a very unexpected way – basing it on a Turkish rhythm of 11/8. And infamous Mike Murley has put his signature on the song with his tenor saxophone.

Composer – Joseph Lacalle

Arrangement – Pablosky Rosales
Vocal – Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano and Fender Rhodes – Jeremy Ledbetter
Tenor Saxophone – Mike Murley
Bass – Roberto Riveron
Drums – Amhed Mitchel
Percussion – Luis Orbegoso

07 Bülbülüm Altın Kafeste 5:57

Turkish Anonym Ballad

This beautiful Ballad from the east coast of Turkey, is about love and being imprisoned in a golden cage by love. Thanks to Ali Tolga Demirtas, great musician, my dear friend and my music director back in Turkey, who was here in Toronto coincidentally during our recording of the album. We have recorded this song from the heart, more or less at one take. I want to dedicate this song to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Republic of Turkey, knowing that this was one of his favourite songs.

Vocal – Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano – Ali Tolga Demirtaş

08 Silencio 4:58

This beautiful song was composed in 1932 by Puerto Rican musician and composer Rafael Hernández

I love the version of Silencio sang as a duet by my diva Omara Portuondo together with Ibrahim Ferrer for the Oscar nominated documentary film Buena Vista Social Club (1999), set in Cuba.

In the lyrics, it starts with ‘Sleeping in my gardens’ and talks about a tormented soul that hides its true feelings from the flowers, believing that, if they knew how much she is suffering, they will die. All the flowers mentioned are heavily scented, and hence have a palpable and evocative presence, even at night, in the dark, when they are “sleeping”. This attribute leads to the conceit that the flowers are as sensitive to human emotions, just as humans are to their scents.

Composer – Rafael Hernández

Arrangement – Pablosky Rosales
Vocal – Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano – David Restivo
Bass – Roberto Riveron
Drums – Amhed Mitchel
Percussion – Luis Orbegoso
Trombone – Christopher Butcher
Fender Rhodes – Jeremy Ledbetter

09 In the North 5:28

Music and Lyrics – Zeynep Ozbilen

Composed in March-August 2016, is a musical picturing of my new country, Canada, where I am enjoying human traits such as tolerance, respect, equality, multiculturalism, wisdom, balance, union of souls, power of vision; on a vast land which gives the feeling of eternity, endlessness, abundance, higher skies, renewal, past, future and “the moment”; I feel blessed by tranquility, serenity and the passion I experience; and the serendipity that made me settle in Canada, maybe with the purpose of feeling all these and also to meet “the others” who, like me, have “chosen” to live here and to “live together”.

In his song, the use instruments, especially percussions of North American Indigenous music and also of Turkic music stemming from inner Asia, makes it a real fusion of roots music mixing Turkic and North Indigenous musical feels. Of course thanks to the arrangement of Jeremy Ledbetter, accompanied by the percussions of Chendy Leon and the woodwinds of Ernie Tollar.

Arrangement – Jeremy Ledbetter
Piano, Guitar, Back Vocals, Percussion – Jeremy Ledbetter
Bass – Roberto Riveron
Percussion – Chendy Leon
Winds – Ernie Tollar (Bensuri, Whistles)

10 Baba, Beni Verme Ellere 4:21

Music and Lyrics – Zeynep Ozbilen

Turkish version of Papa Don’t Give Me Away

Composed by Zeynep- Ozbilen in May-June 2016.

“Each year, 15 million girls are married before the age of 18. That is 28 girls every minute. 1 Every 2 seconds. Over 700 million women alive today were married as children.” a Statistical data from “Girls not Brides” organization’s website.

Being originally from Turkey, which is situated geographically, culturally and historically in the starting point of one of the regions where there exists serious amount of “Human Rights” and specifically Women’s rights’ abuse issues, I have always been very concerned and actively involved in “Women’s Human Rights” issues since an early age. Although in Turkey, this issue is not such a common practice compared to some other counties and geographies, it still exists within certain groups. Being one of the lucky women surrounded by great men since my childhood (with special thanks to my dear father, who has supported me in all my life choices) I feel the strong urge and the responsibility to speak up for the less unfortunate ones.

Child marriage happens across countries, cultures, and religions, which is believed to be fuelled by gender inequality, poverty, traditions, and insecurity. Although child marriage looks different from one community to the next band hence solutions must be local and contextual, I wanted to contribute to the cause by composing a generic song which is a cry out by children to their elders, who are the ones deciding for children.

Besides piano, bass and drums, additional instrumentation include instruments especially Turkish clarinet played by the one-and-only – Husnu Senlendirici of Turkey and percussions from the regions of Anatolia, Middle East and North Africa, played by another one-and-only – Chendy Leon of Canada. The great arrangement by Jeremy Ledbetter is like a translation of my feelings into the music form. Thank you all.

Arrangement – Jeremy Ledbetter
Vocal – Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano – Jeremy Ledbetter
Bass – Roberto Riveron
Drums – Marito Marques
Percussion – Chendy Leon
Clarinet – Hüsnü Şenlendirici
String Quartet:
Violin – Aleksandar Gajic
Violin – Aysel Taghi-Zada
Viola – Vedran Curic
Chello – Jonathan Tortolano

Producer Jeremy Ledbetter 
Executive Producer Zeynep Ozbilen 

Arrangements Jeremy Ledbetter | Pablosky Rosales 6|8
Sound Engineer John Bailey | Assistants Milan Sarkadi | Darren McGill 
Sound Engineer Jeremy Darby | Assistant Julian Decorte 
Sound Engineer Mehmethan Dişbudak, Jeremy Ledbtter, Marito Marques 

Recording Studios Phase One Studios Toronto | The Canterbury Music Company Toronto | GMP Studios Toronto | Studio MD Istanbul

Mixing John Bailey | The Drive Shed Studios

Mastering George Seara | Georg Seara Sound

Musicians
Zeynep Ozbilen Vocals | Compositions 4 |9|10
Jeremy Ledbetter | Piano | Fender Rhodes | Guitar | Percussion | Backing Vocals
David Restivo |Piano 8
Roberto Riveron | Bass
George Koller | Bass 3
Marito Marques | Drums | Percussion
Amhed Mitchel | Drums 6|8
Chendy Leon | Percussion
Luis Orbegoso | Percussion 3|6|8

Guests | Alphabetical
Jane Bunnett | Alto Flute 3
Christopher Butcher | Trombone 8
Ali Tolga Demirtaş | Piano 7
Alexandar Gajic | Violine 5
Mike Murley | Tenor Sax 6
Hüsnü Şenlendirici | Clarinet 4|10
Ernie Tollar | Ney and winds 1|9

String Quartet
Aleksandar Gajic | Violin
Aysel Taghi-Zada | Violin
Vedran Curic | Viola
Jonathan Tortolano | Cello

Really Records
Faye Perkins |Real World Artists | Management
Levent Erutku | Photography
Catherine McRea | Lotus Art | Art Director | Design
J.D. Mowat | Marketing and Promotion
Beverly Kreller | Speak Music |Publicity
Paula Sinton | Sweet City Woman | Social Media

Hair Stylist | Stefania Fortuna 
Make-up Artist | Rana Ozbilen

Zee (2015)

“[ zee ]” is an energetic fusion of jazz melodies and traditional Turkish songs.”

01 Alufte 5:00

The Lyrics talks about “the second woman”. She is pretty, coquettish and in love with her man. Although her dreams were to have a husband a family of her own, she modestly accepts her fate and embraces her situation as a second woman. She is happy in a naïve way and does not care about how the society looks down on her. In the scenario of the lyrics, she is the one playing the Oud to her lover in the beginning.
The Oud is played by Ara Dinkjian, the world famous Armenian-American Oud player, and recorded in New York.
Turkish Clarinet and Turkish percussions are recorded in Istanbul and are played by very successful and well known virtuosos of Turkey.

Music ; Zeynep Ozbilen
Lyrics: Zeynep Ozbilen (and Friends)
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown and Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano:    Roberto Linares Brown
Bass:    Rudy Bolaños
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Trumpet: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo
Ud: Ara Dinkjian
Clarinet: Serkan Çağrı
Asma Davul, Darbuka, Tef: Volkan Çanakkaleli

02 Come to Istanbul 5:08

This is an invitation… It started with the rhythm – Kizomba – that I started playing on my chest, and humming a melody. That took me to the life pace of Istanbul, its sounds, colors, odors, sights, mystique and feelings. It is a 6 dimensional song. The Sounds of Istanbul, in the beginning and at the end, are real recordings from Istanbul. Thanks to talented Serkan Cagri for his moving clarinet solo.

Music and Lyrics: Zeynep Ozbilen
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown and Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano:    Roberto Linares Brown
Bass: Rudy Bolaños
Clarinet: Serkan Çağrı
Bendir: Zeynep Ozbilen
Asma Davul, Darbuka, Tef: Volkan Çanakkaleli
Back Vocals: Zeynep Ozbilen, Roberto Linares Brown
Sounds of Istanbul: Recorded in Istanbul by Sculptor Yunus Tonkuş

03 Spinning Wheel 3:48

I always imagined a Salsa version of Spinning Wheel by David Clayton-Thomas. And also I loved the idea of making a Turkish adaptation of the song with the message “What goes up, must come down”. I sincerely thank David Clayton-Thomas for letting me pursue my dream. And thanks to Luis “Papo” Marquez and Javier Olivencia for their magnificent brass solos.

Music and Lyrics: David Clayton-Thomas
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown
Piano: Roberto Linares Brown
Bass: Roberto Riveron
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Trumpet: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo
Alto Saxophone Solo: David Palma

04 Oh, The Places I Go… (original - Inleyen Nameler) 5:19

The original of this song is a well-known Turkish song of 1970’s. When I met the composer of the song in Istanbul last summer to get his permission to make an adaptation of the song in Merengue rhythm and with English lyrics, he made me promise that the English lyrics, like the Turkish original lyrics, will not have any words of sorrow, unhappiness or sadness. With his advice in mind, my English lyrics came out to be a “dream state of mind” which resembled for me the book by Dr. Seuss.
Thanks to Richard Bravo, for the masterful percussions of Merengue.

Music:    Zeynettin Maraş
Lyrics:    Zeynep Ozbilen
Additional Lyrics in Spanish: Roberto Linares Brown
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown
Piano: Roberto Linares Brown
Base: Rudy Bolaños
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Trumpet: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo
Back Vocals: Alberto Alberto & Roberto Linares Brown

05 That’s My Goodbye 4:40

The original of this song is Italian, sang by Milva in 1970’s. I always loved the melody and it turned out to a great Bolero piece with a great string section. Thanks to Roberto Linares Brown for the beautiful arrangement, and to Luis “Papo” Marquez for the very sentimental solo with the Flugelhorn.

Music:    Giancarlo Colonello
Lyrics:    Zeynep Ozbilen
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown
Piano:    Roberto Linares Brown
Bass:    Rudy Bolaños
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Flugelhorn: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo
Violins: Amparo Palacio
Violas: Modesto Marcano
Chello: Orlando Medina

06 İçin İçin Yanıyor 4:19

This is another very well-known Turkish song from 1960-70’s. The Cumbia rhythm from Colombia is very similar to some Turkish rhythms. Thanks to Volkan Canakkaleli for his masterful Turkish percussions playing.

Music and Lyrics: Şekip Ayhan Özışık
Additional Lyrics: Zeynep Ozbilen
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown
Piano:    Roberto Linares Brown
Bass:    Rudy Bolaños
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Trumpet: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo
Back Vocals: Alberto Alberto & Roberto Linares Brown
Asma Davul, Darbuka, Tef: Volkan Çanakkaleli

07 Memory 4:46

I personally have a specific memory with this song – I sang it at my high school Prom.
My contribution to this beautiful melody was a small addition to the lyrics to change the mood of the song to a more positive one – “never give in, tomorrow is another day”.

Music:    Andrew Lloyd Weber
Lyrics:    Trevor Nunn
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown
Piano: Roberto Linares Brown
Bass: Rudy Bolaños
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Trumpet: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo

08 Happy Song 4:21

A song by my favorite composer/singer of Turkey, Sezen Aksu, who is known to have composed over 400 songs, most of them became the hits of their times. Although this song is not one of her well known ones, I love the mood of the song. In the Turkish version, too, the singer talks to the “moody, unhappy, unappreciative, unsatisfied lover”, and express the desire to “break free” and “enjoy life as it is”.
Great thanks to Yosvani Castañeda for his contribution with the beautiful violin solo.

Music:    Sezen Aksu
Lyrics:    Zeynep Ozbilen
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown and Zeynep Ozbilen
Piano:    Roberto Linares Brown
Bass Synth: Roberto Linares Brown
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Trumpet: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo
Drum Programing: Roberto Linares Brown
Back Vocals: Alberto Alberto & Roberto Linares Brown
Violin: Yosvani Castañeda

09 Smile 3:03

My lifetime favorite song, beautiful melody by Charlie Chaplin, and the inspirational lyrics make up my life motto.
A great thanks to David Palma and Luis “Papo” Marquez for their inspiring brass solos.

Music:    Charlie Chaplin
Lyrics:    John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown
Piano and Keyboard:    Roberto Linares Brown
Bass:    Roberto Riveron
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Trumpet: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo
Back Vocals: Alberto Alberto & Roberto Linares Brown
Saxophone Solo: David Palma

10 Ayva Çiçek Açmış 4:50

This is a very popular folk song from western coast of Turkey, the title translates as “the quince trees have blossomed” and the lyrics talk about “suffering from love”. Contrary to the lyrics, the mood of the song is so lively and cheerful that, although you sing along, you do not realize the suffering at all. That is why in the additional lyrics I have added it says “Leave him/her, and don’t even bother about it”.

Music and Lyrics: Turkish Folk Song – Public Domain
Additional Lyrics: Zeynep Ozbilen
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown
Piano: Roberto Linares Brown
Bass: Juan Fernandez
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Trumpet: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo
Back Vocals: Ricardo Barbosa & Roberto Linares Brown

11 Inleyen Nağmeler 5:19

This is the version of 04- Oh, the Places I Go…” with original Turkish lyrics.

Music and  Lyrics: Zeynettin Maraş
Additional Lyrics in Spanish: Roberto Linares Brown
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown
Piano: Roberto Linares Brown
Bass: Rudy Bolaños
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Trumpet: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo
Back Vocals: Alberto Alberto & Roberto Linares Brown

12 Dönme Dolap (original – Spinning Wheel) 3:48

The Turkish lyrics of The Spinning Wheel, addresses politicians who do not want to give up their positions and their power. No names…

Music:    David Clayton-Thomas
Lyrics:    Zeynep Ozbilen
Arranger: Roberto Linares Brown
Piano: Roberto Linares Brown
Bass: Roberto Riveron
Saxophone: Javier Olivencia
Trumpet: Luis “Papo” Marquez
Trombone: Jorge Dobal Jr.
Percussions: Richard Bravo
Alto Saxophone Solo: David Palma

Producer Roberto Linares Brown 
Executive Producer Zeynep Ozbilen

Recordings have been done in studios in Toronto, New York, Miami and Istanbul

Mixing Engineer Juan De Sedas at OutWorld Artists Studios. Toronto, Canada
Mastered by Juan De Sedas
Creative Production and Graphic Design: Chartreuse Media, Toronto
Photographs by Filippo Nativo, Levent Erutku, Sophie Giraud

Contributing Artists (Alphabetical):
Alberto Alberto: Back Vocals
Amparo Palacio: Violins
Ara Dinkjian: Ud
David Palma: Saxophone
Javier Olivencia: Saxophone
Jorge Dobal Jr.: Trombone
Juan Fernandez: Bass
Luis “Papo” Marquez: Trumpet, Flugelhorn
Modesto Marcano: Violas
Orlando Medina: Chello
Ricardo Barbosa: Back Vocals
Richard Bravo: Percussions
Roberto Linares Brown: Piano, Keyboards, Arrangements, Spanish Lyrics, Back Vocals
Roberto Riveron: Bass
Rudy Bolaños: Bass
Serkan Çağrı: Clarinet
Volkan Çanakkaleli: Asma Davul, Darbuka, Tef
Yosvani Castañeda: Violin
Yunuş Tonkuş: Istanbul Sounds Recordings
Zeynep Ozbilen: Vocals, Compositions, Lyrics, Arrangements, Bendir

Special Thanks to the Music Masters for their Music:
Andrew Lloyd Weber
Charlie Chaplin
David Clayton-Thomas
Giancarlo Colonnello
Sezen Aksu
Şekip Ayhan Özışık
Zeynettin Maraş