“Sacred Shabbat”

In the first week of release, an error was drawn to the attention of QR regarding the accreditation for the piece of music called “Sacred Shabbat”. As Loreena’s liner notes indicate, this piece of music and its multiple variations have been moving around the Mediterranean area for many centuries and as such, the compositional credit should have read “Traditional, arranged by Loreena McKennitt”

It appears that at the time the liner notes were assembled, and when proofreading took place, no one caught this accreditation error. Needless to say Loreena and all of us at QR were dismayed at the discovery of this. We would sincerely like to thank our Turkish friends for pointing this out to us.
Original Post
Rumour has it that this particular song compiled by Muzaffer Sarısözen back in the 19th century had existed before that time first as a traditional Scottish military song played during the trainings of soldiers. Probably, among all the other versions, this one has survived establishing itself as a traditional Istanbul song. You can find the staff of the basic melody at this website: http://www.turkuler.com/nota/notagoster.asp?nid=744

Music is fabulous, what the Western mind perceives as an oriental piece of music might have been a Scottish melody with Eastern spices in it. Greeks can find something from themselves as well because they were a part of the Ottoman Empire. We Turks did not trust any other people as much as we trusted in Greeks. We let them in our own neighborhoods, we went to the bars together, we drank together and sang together. We let them do the talking to the Westerners on our behalf. Many of our past statesmen were Greeks. The bitterness lies in the fact that they represented themselves not us. What is being sold in the international markets today is our culture or at least our common culture. We are just trying to hold on to our history. Look at the French and then look at us. You cannot label your brandy as cognac although both are the same...
OH I absolutely love 'Sacred Shabbat'. It's the best song of the CD, after Caravanserai!!!!! Thanks again Loreena for your music. You've got 2 new fans now (my parents, who are 49 and 53 years old). My dad thinks you are one of the best singers of the world. Isn't that a huge compliment?
Best wishes to you all from the Netherlands, Lisette
Why on Earth this song was named Sacred Shabbat when there is clearly no connection with the Jewish heritage? The rendering of the song on the album features typical Ottoman style improvisations flying around the main melody with an eye to displaying virtuoso rather than
changing or distorting it. If you like this song and this style in general there are tons of Ottoman songs you can enjoy.

By the way, there were two other songs based on the original melody, the first one was sung by Eartha Kitt under the name "Usku Dara" and of course the famous "Rasputin" by Boney M. The Boney M song was composed around the basic melody featuring a host of pop style variations and additions reflecting the musical concept of the 70's.

Here is a quick and not so poetic translation of the lyrics of the original Istanbul Turku (or ballad):

As I was going to Uskudar
A rain suddenly began to fall
My Katip wears a long frock-coat which got wet
Katip has just woken and his eyes are swollen
He belongs to me and I belong to Katip
What does it matter to anyone else?
How smart my Katip looks in his starched shirt

I found a handkerchief as I was going to Uskudar
I put some turkish delights in the handkerchief
I found my darling nearby when I was looking for him elsewhere.

Katip is a clerk in the Ottoman times, usually a general referemce to all civil servants doing office work.

Uskudar is a district of Istanbul located on the Asian side of the city, by the coast of the Bosphorus.
Dear Loreena,

My husband and I are one of your biggest fans. We have all your albums. I have bought your latest album called “An Ancient Muse” as soon as it was released. I especially enjoyed when I heard the 7th track that you named “Sacred Shabbat” and started muttering in Turkish while listening it. My Canadian husband was very surprised that I know the lyrics of this song and I replied “Of course I know, I used to sing it during all my childhood at the school chorus back in Turkey. It is a very old Turku (ballad) which called Uskudar’a Gider iken” and the roots of it goes back to time of the Ottoman Empire.”
Following this conversation I wanted to proudly prove my self by finding the information in the CD insert and I wanted to show him who was the composer. I was so disappointed when I have seen that it is presented as “Music: Loreena McKennith”! I questioned sadly: “How is this possible? Does re-arranging the music and playing it make someone the original composer? What happened to the original rights? What does it tell to the Western Society of today? It will be remembered as Loreena McKennitt’s music from now on!”

The information could have been found easily if a little bit research was done on it before releasing the album. It is remembered as this music goes back to the years of Crimean War (1853-1856) of Ottoman Empire. Even though the original composer may not be known by name today, we should still respect to them and to our history.

Could you please advice us how are you planning to correct this error? I strongly believe by correcting it you would take a lot more credit from the public.

December 12, 2006 Montreal
fulya writes: "Could you please advice us how are you planning to correct this error? I strongly believe by correcting it you would take a lot more credit from the public."

Dear Fulya,
I must reply on Loreena's behalf as she is not here to reply personally. We can understand your disappointment that because of a proofing error, the first run of the CDs of An Ancient Muse represented Loreena's arrangement of this traditional melody (which is known by many names in many countries) as her composition.

As you can see in the liner notes to An Ancient Muse, she is very clear in her personal writing that she did not write this song, but first heard the song played by Greek musicians, also heard it on a disc she acquired in Granada (a version of the song as traditional to Jews of the Ottoman region) and also, as in fact she learned after she had recorded the whole album, that it is known as (variously) Katibim and Uskudar'a Gider Iken" in Turkey.

As you know Loreena has arranged and interpreted many traditional songs in her recording career and is always careful not only to have the correct songwriting credit but is most generous to point out as much information as she has about the melodies and their histories. I hope you will believe, knowing her music, that she is very respectful of other people's traditions and would never try to claim something for her own when it wasn't.

If she wished to pretend this was her own song, she certainly wouldn't have personally written liner notes talking about all the versions of the songs she heard from other musicians, other countries and other times. And pretending that other people's work or other cultures' traditions, are her own, is not what Loreena is known for.

Now, once CDs are manufactured and sent to shops, the only way that a change can be made TO ACTUAL CDs is the next time they are manufactured. This correction has been made and the new artwork has been sent to our label partners all around the world, including Turkey. So as soon as new CDs are being made, the correct information will be represented, everywhere in the world, including Turkey, Canada and so on.

Unfortunately, and I think you can probably understand why this is the case, it is not logistically possible to contact every person in the world who has bought the CD and ask him or her to return it for a new one that does not have this error.

However, in case you are wondering what we are doing about it, we have also:

1. Posted a news item on our website in 14 languages that points out the error. (You can see it in News and Views and it has also been represented in this thread).
2. Corrected it in the Explore The Music section on our website.
3. Informed all of our label partners and manufacturers and asked them to inform media and make manufacturing changes.
4. Explained the situation at some length here on this messageboard.
5. Loreena is including a personal note in every single CD she sends out from Quinlan Road.

I wish I could say that we could turn back time so that this error (which due to a layout process meant that when Loreena reviewed the artwork she did not see this error and neither did any of us, and I include myself as being guilty in this area, as it is my job) did not appear. But turning back time, unfortunately, cannot be done.

I trust that you will believe that Loreena's longstanding respect for other cultures, her generosity in pointing out her debt to many traditions, her love especially of Turkish music and its traditions, will make you think that yes, it is just possible that this is the case of a regrettable error which in any case was not Loreena's mistake.

Music is shared and reinterpreted by many people around the world in many different cultures and I trust that this is why Loreena is so loved and respected in Turkey, for example. We receive thousands of communications from Turkish people who thank her for her respect for that culture and the way that (for example) An Ancient Muse includes her tributes to the history, culture and music of your people. I hope that you will be able to forgive us (and I include myself) for a mistake WE made, working very hard and long hours and trying to make everything right, but sometimes failing, and believe that we are amending this error as quickly as it is humanly possible.

I am sorry if you are angry but this is not Loreena's fault.
Hi Friends,
I was dissapointed too as I saw the "Traditional" note. As a Turkish that is grown with these songs, I feel myself really broken. That happenes dense to us. I heard some songs from our Ottoman Army Band (Mehter Team) in a French Tv Channel called French Army Band. But unfortunately I couldn't do anything... But I thing our Grandfathers & mothers deserve respect too, huh?

Perhaps is that our fault. We don't have enough Cultural & political power at this time to show the whole world what we own...

But inspite of this, I believe you have no bad intention doing that... Smiler

Sorry about my English, I'm trying to learn German. Its really hard to use them together... Big Grin

See you my friends...
This has been indeed corrected in the Spanish limited edition, which I purchased two days ago: it reads "Traditional, arranged by Loreena McKennitt". It's a pity this error was made in the initial accreditation, but anyone who reads Loreena's liner notes will realise it's a mistake.

I was so disappointed when I have seen that it is presented as “Music: Loreena McKennith”! I questioned sadly: “How is this possible? Does re-arranging the music and playing it make someone the original composer????





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