Musician excavation workers jazz up dig of ancient city in NW Türkiye

Musician excavation workers jazz up dig of ancient city in NW Türkiye

At ancient city of Prusias ad Hypium, group of 6 adds fun to strenuous excavation work with mini concerts

By Omer Urer

DUZCE, Türkiye — A group of musicians working at an ancient city's dig site northwestern Türkiye are spicing up the demanding shovel work with mini-concerts during their breaks.

With their upbeat tunes, four brothers and their two relatives working at the excavation site of Prusias ad Hypium, an ancient city dating back to the 3rd century BC, are lifting the spirits of their entire team under the blistering sunshine and heat in the province of Duzce.

They occasionally break out their instruments during tea and lunch breaks, their ensemble playing a clarinet and violin, as well as traditional devices like the qanun, a trapezoidal flat string instrument, and the goblet-shaped darbuka drum, which is played with the hands.

At times, locals also gather to listen to their performances.

These musicians, who are also part of municipality band Duzce and a traditional military band known as the Mehteran, are known as the Keman (violin) Brothers.

"During breaks, we want to sing songs to boost our motivation. It motivates us, and in turn, we play," said Muhammed Keman, the group's clarinet player.

For his part, the site's municipality overseer, Ibrahim Karalmaz said their performances were a relief that made the work more bearable.

"The excavations are quite exhausting, and the weather is hot. Our friends are constantly working with shovels and wheelbarrows. They try to ease their fatigue with songs and music in between. They entertain us, motivate themselves, and also get in some practice. Our work is tiring yet enjoyable," he said.

The eldest brother, Yalcin Keman, who plays the violin, explained that they have a great time together with their break-time songs.

"We love music. Our whole family is into music. We are all artists, playing different instruments. I play the violin. It's a tradition passed down from the older to the younger generations."

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