Why do some jazz songs sound random
Karsu is an all-rounder. The Dutch musician with Turkish roots is not only a gifted singer and pianist, but also a band leader, composer, arranger and poet. Karsu wrote almost all the songs for her debut album CONFESSIONS (2012), as well as for her current album COLORS (2015) herself.
Since her early teens, Karsu has appeared on local and international stages. She started playing for an audience as a young girl in her father's restaurant in Amsterdam. From there she made it to the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, she played at the North Sea Jazz Festival and the Istanbul Jazz Festival and - several times - in the legendary Carnegie Hall in New York.
It has been clear since childhood that music flows in the veins of Karsu. As a young girl she was fascinated by piano music. “I saw these pianists on TV with long, flowing hair, Professor Einstein-like guys, and I thought they were really cool - and I loved the melodies they played,” explains Karsu of her love for her instrument.
When she got her own piano at the age of seven, she immediately started taking lessons. It wasn't long before she was able to play classical pieces by Chopin, Mozart, Bach and Beethoven, as well as traditional Turkish songs and modern jazz songs. She happened to start singing as part of a school competition. “When I was in high school, I entered an open music competition. Surprisingly, I won in the Vocal ’category, even though I had actually applied to be a pianist." Karsu suspected that the jury members had given her false compliments. "I thought maybe they just want to be nice?"
It turned out that Karsu's voice is very characteristic of such a young girl: mature, inspired and powerful. Karsu sounds like a Big Old Jazz Mama from New Orleans.
At the age of fourteen, Karsu began his professional career, first in her father's restaurant, Kilim in Amsterdam. Small and large podiums follow later, and after a short time their unusual talent is more and more noticeable. The Netherlands American Community Trust invites Karsu to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York. This appearance was picked up by the Dutch media and since then Karsu has been a welcome guest on many prime-time television shows. She receives invitations to concerts from all over the world: Indonesia, Germany, Belgium, Suriname, Great Britain, Brazil and Turkey.
Her first musical tour 2011-2012 was a great success: the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam was sold out. The Turkish media did not want to stand back: one of the most popular TV shows ‘Seffaf Oda’ by the presenter Guneri Givaoglu invited Karsu to appear there. Since then, Karsu has often traveled to Turkey to perform at (jazz) festivals. Over the years she became a well-known and well-loved artist in the land of her ancestors. Her concerts in Istanbul, Ankara and other Turkish cities are always sold out weeks in advance.
In 2012, Karsu released her debut album CONFESSIONS. As on her live CD “LEBEN AM IJ”, she mixes jazz, blues and funk with ethnic influences on this album. The album received rave reviews.
Also in 2012 the documentary “Karsu, I hide a secret” by director Mercedes Stalenhoef was presented at the IDFA Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam. Stalenhoef followed Karsu over a period of 5 years: during her final year of school, in her parents' Turkish village Karsuköyü, until her first concert at Carnegie Hall in New York. The documentary has been shown at numerous festivals around the world.
Since then, Karsu has been traveling at home and abroad. In her last theater tour 2014-2015 - called “From New York to Istanbul” - she builds on the experiences she has made on her many travels. When Karsu isn't playing somewhere, she's working on new material.
On Karsu's new studio album, COLORS, jazz is the common thread again. But their compositions have gained color: they are playful and happy. The CD title refers to Karsu's bicultural background, with roots in Turkey and Amsterdam. She mixes different styles of music and works with international musicians. With COLORS, Karsu wants to show the world how colorful their world is.
For the first time, Karsu wrote songs in original Turkish, such as “Birak beni böyle (“ Leave me alone ”) and“ Bekledim ”(“ I've been waiting for you ”). The Turkish flair gives COLORS a special, emotional character. Jazzy pop songs like “Diamonds”, “Coffee Around Nine” or “Monday” will brighten up and cheer up many people because of their happy melodies and danceable rhythms.
For COLORS, Karsu worked again with producers Niels Nieuborg and Jasper Cremers (Nelson & Djosa).
In 2015, Karsu was recognized in the Netherlands as one of the ten most influential Turkish-Dutch personalities of the past 50 years.
In May 2015, Karsu, along with a number of well-known Turkish musicians, opened the Holland Festival in Carre in Amsterdam. The show was a "real festival", was the verdict of the Dutch daily "Volkskrant". “While the band, including the singers, works like a well-oiled machine, the concert takes off when the Turkish-Dutch jazz singer Karsu Dönmez, in bright pink, sits down behind the piano. A Chopin-like piano intro flows seamlessly into the Turkish singing, in which Dönmez combines power with control. In “Divane Aşık Gibi” (“Foolish Lover”) every note is emotionally charged. Through her voice, you can feel - without understanding the language - how the two lovers attract and repel each other. As a true soloist, Dönmez rises above her backup tape. "
Thanks to her extraordinary voice, her passionate piano playing and her catchy compositions, combined with her fantastic looks, Karsu has become a celebrated and internationally popular artist. The world has a new musical super talent.
COLORS will be officially launched on September 11, 2015. The first single from the new album, Turn it around, is out already. The video was shot in Kersenbloempark in Amsterdamse Bos.
Karsu, accompanied by her band, will present COLORS to the audience on September 16, 2015 in Paradiso, Amsterdam. This concert is the start of the new club tour.
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