Harmony Across Borders: Concert by Trio Patara from Türkiye in Budapest

Edited by Anna Popper

Hungary and Türkiye mark a century of diplomatic relations with a grand celebration that will include 100 meticulously curated programs under the motto “Century of Friendship and Cooperation” throughout 2024. The initiative is designed to illuminate the rich cultural tapestries, values, and legacies of both nations, providing a nuanced and comprehensive portrayal for the Hungarian and Turkish societies in both countries.

As part of the Hungarian-Turkish Cultural Season launched in December, 2023, the Hungarian Heritage House in Budapest hosted a concert by the leading Trio Patara group from Türkiye, which was jointly organised by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Embassy of the Republic of Türkiye in Budapest.

Held on 17 April under the gracious patronage of Her Excellency Gülşen Karanis Ekşioğlu, Ambassador of the Republic of Türkiye to Hungary, the event was attended by numerous invitees, including Hungarian officials, members of the diplomatic corps, Turkish nationals residing in Hungary and friends of Türkiye and its multifaceted cultural richness.

With heartfelt peace wishes ‘From Patara to the World’ – this is the motto of Trio Patara, a group of three impressive and talented women, great musicians, formed in 2020 at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Originally founded to contribute to the well-being of humanity during challenging times through the healing and unifying power of music, the trio continues its mission to this day.

The trio’s name, Patara, pays homage to the ancient city of Patara, located on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey in the Kas district of Antalya province. Historically, Patara was significant as the capital of the Lycian League, serving as a thriving port and trading hub in the southwestern region of Lycia. However, in 380 AD the city faced significant devastation due to a powerful earthquake. The Greek historian and writer Heredot wrote that the Lycians were matrilineal. Therefore, the Trio Patara, which is composed of three magnificent women, fits the matrilineal history of Lycia at that time.

In 2020, the city was honoured as the Year of Patara, marked by various activities promoting its rich history and cultural heritage. Ongoing archaeological excavations have revealed new discoveries that shed light on the city’s past glory and contribute to its restoration efforts.

Moreover, Patara is known as the birthplace of Saint Nicholas, who later became bishop of nearby Myra. Saint Nicholas’ legendary acts of generosity and compassion formed the basis for the beloved figure of Santa Claus, adding another layer of cultural significance to Patara’s legacy.

The Turkish group consists of Lelya Bayramogullari, a flutist from the Antalya State Symphony Orchestra and the Sankyo Flute Ensemble; Aslihan Güngör, a harpist from the Antalya State Symphony Orchestra and the Borusan Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra; and Simge Büyükedes, a renowned soprano of the Mersin State Opera and Ballet.

The combination of flute, harp and voice is of great importance in both ancient Greek and Roman history and mythology. These are the oldest musical instruments believed to have the power to evoke emotions, tell stories and symbolize the connection between humanity, spirituality, and the divine.

In ancient Greece, the flute (called “aulos” in Greek) was a popular instrument used in religious ceremonies, festivals, and theatrical performances. It was associated with various gods and goddesses, including Apollo, the god of music and poetry.

The harp (known as “kithara” or “lyra” in Greek) was also highly regarded and featured prominently in Greek mythology and literature, associated with the god Hermes, who was credited with inventing the instrument.

Trio Patara’s first CD entitled “Patara’ya Armagan” (A Gift to Patara) was released in December 2020 with the support of the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism’s Directorate General of Fine Arts.

It was a great pleasure to attend Trio Patara’s concert in Budapest and experience the unifying power of music through their exquisite performance and diverse repertoire, which enraptured the international audience. Their mastery and elegance in playing captivated all in attendance, leaving a lasting impression of beauty and sophistication. Beginning with Giulio Caccini’s haunting “Ave Maria”, they traversed through the masterpieces of classical composers such as Devienne, Fauré, Tchaikovsky and Grieg, followed by Turkish folk melodies before concluding with the fiery passion of Piazzolla. Their extraordinary program ignited waves of enthusiasm, punctuated by numerous rounds of applause celebrating their extensive musical range.

As the audience demanded more, Trio Patara graced them with an encore, delivering a breath-taking rendition of the Hungarian folk song “Tavaszi szél vizet áraszt”. Their flawless pronunciation and heartfelt interpretation added an unexpected touch of authenticity, leaving the audience spellbound.

The trio remains true to its mission, using the universal language of music and their remarkable artistry to foster peace and unity worldwide, especially amidst the trials of our time.

Source: Embassy of Türkiye in Budapest

Photos by Trio Patara and DPA