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No more by Paula Darwish & the Country and Eastern Band

00:00 / 00:00

Plays this week: 2
Total plays: 6285
112 downloads

Posted: 03 October 10

Paula Darwish & The Country and Eastern Band are based in Manchester, UK and their unique musical sound mixes musical styles from both East and West, with a particular empahasis on music from Turkey. Their songs fuse genre bending arrangements of traditional Turkish and Kurdish songs with Middle Eastern rhythms and lyrics in English, Turkish, Kurmanji Kurdish, Zazaca Kurdish and Arabic. They will be playing at Latest Bar on Thursday 28th October.


Paula Darwish was born in Yorkshire, Northern England to an English mother and Jordanian father. After leaving school, she worked as postwoman and began her musical career playing in folk clubs and music venues around the South of England. After playing in a variety of bands for several years, Paula left England to travel around Europe and the Mediterranean, and lived in Turkey and Crete for a short time. Darwish found she had a natural affinity with the music of the Mediterranean and was captivated by her new musical discoveries. This was the start of her love affair with the music of the region which, finally resulted in her studying Turkish language and literature and Middle Eastern History at London University’s School of Oriental and African Studies .

While living in London, she became a regular visitor to the cafes and community centres of the North London Turkish community where she made many friends who taught her more about the music and encouraged her to perform. One of the highlights of these years was a performance at the Union Chapel in London with saz player Cemal Akkiraz as part of a tour by the reknowned singer Sabahat Akkiraz.

Graduating from university with distinction , Darwish headed for Turkey again to continue her musical career there. Her dream of starting a band in Istanbul was ended by life's practicalities and unable to survive economically she was forced to return to England. Undaunted by the forced separation from her natural audience she set about arranging Anatolian music in a style that would appeal to British audiences.

She began to perform her new programme with a loose collective of musicians interested in Eastern music. In time, The Country and Eastern Band settled into a regular line-up of innovative and talented musicians. Taking into account that most of the audience were unable to understand the lyrics, the band concentrated heavily on the rhythmic elements, fusing rhythms from East and West to give the music a different feel that would sound less “ exotic” to new listeners. Each band member brought their own musical influences to the band, constantly bringing fresh ideas and adding to the eclectic cultural melting pot. Drummer and percussionist Ric Gibbs and bass player Colin Pender, both from England, were already big fans of Middle Eastern music and helped underpin the band's rhythmic energy. Kurdish saz player Serpil Kılıç added her individual style of playing and enabled the band to mix more traditional instruments with the standard electric line-up. English Darbuka player Adam Warne joined later enhancing the percussive edge of the band with a strong MIddle Eastern influence. The band's sound was later added to by the talents of guitarist Carlos Ballester and skillful vocal harmonies of Lou Armer. The most recent addition to the band is master fiddle player Dominic Dudill who adds his own Celtic flavoured melodies to the eclectic mix of sounds.

After the release of Paula Darwish’s first EP “Urfa Folk song” in 2006, the band embarked on an ambitious live schedule which was finally interrupted in order to concentrate on recording in 2008. The album “Do what you love” came out in 2009 and was celebrated for its careful balance of the familiar with the unknown. The album was lauded for the experimental way it introduced eastern elements to songs in the English language, while avoiding eastern cliches.

The band perform regularly all around the UK and their tour of Turkey in 2010 created significant media interest. Darwish was interviewed on national radio and the gig in Ankara was filmed by Hayat TV. They were also recently the subject of a music documentary on TRT Turkish State TV.

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