Heidi Trautmann

13 - Zeki Ali, poet and ….music collector…music programme manager…

Today I went to Zeki Ali’s and his wife’s “Levy’s CD Bar” a small shop opposite the new Savoy Hotel, in 160, Ziya Rizki Cad. in Girne, which is the  main road through Girne. A shop with a fine selection of all kind of music, from classic, country music, jazz, blues, rap, you name it, he has it. He is a true expert and he recommended me some real good pieces. At the moment he has a special offer for DVD’s; one DVD for 5 YTL or 5 for 10 YTL. I selected Stealing Beauty by Bernardo Bertolucci; Le notti di Cabiria with Guiletta Massina by Fredirico Fellini; New York, New York with Liza Minelli and Robert de Niro ; Love in the time of Cholera and Slumdog Millionaire; the new Oscar nomination, and as CD`s some African music, French chansons, Portuguese Fados and Turkish troubadours. I went home with some excitement and for hours now I have been listening to them one after the other.

If you need his special advice then call him under 815 7272.



This is an abstract of my interview with him beginning of 2009:


…..I have known Zeki Ali for many years. He interviewed me once and we had talked. He mentioned a poetry bus tour project they had with Artists & Artists. Now I have come to his house in Kyrenia to interview him, to hear about his life, his philosophy and his dreams. He is like his voice: Soft and gentle. Heavy eyebrows and deep sunk brown eyes, veiled. His features are motionless, I cannot read his feelings in them. He observes and waits before he speaks. But I understand his thoughts without asking back.

Everybody knows his voice from BRT International, music programmes for jazz, blues and country music, the most astonishing collection on the island. “I am an adept of that kind of music, a follower. It’s the poems, the lyrics written by famous song writers which have intrigued me since my young years. But alas, my fırst collection of old records and books were lost in the years of war in 1974, in my family’s house in Larnaca.”

In 1970, Zeki Ali published his first collection of poetry “Bayan Mavi”, poems he has written when he was still in college, poems he has written before he and his young wife decided to continue their life in another country, in Canada, to prepare for a better future for his family, and to return only when they were ready, maybe by then to a better homeland. He’s back since 1992, yet still waiting for a better, peaceful Cyprus….

Today he can look back on a series of poetry books published and some CD’s …. “One day, I was contacted on internet by a Greek Cypriot by the name of Hadji Mike, a poet and composer, for my poems he had read, and we exchanged our work and finally decided to work on a common project, that was in 2001, which was not easy by that time...29 years of division and working together was still a taboo subject. Hadji Mike composed the music for both our lyrics and the recording of all the songs was done via internet in three different studio locations on both sides. That in itself makes this one of the most unique recording projects of this millennium.” Olive Tree Music, which is the only bi-communal music company in Cyprus formed by the two, released two albums: A Pair of Olive Leaves and Cyprus Thing which is an anthology of Cyprus music. They received more critical praise outside of Cyprus than in their homeland. Around 2004 they had many concerts in Nicosia, Famagusta, Limassol and upon invitation in Sierra Nevada World Music Festival in San Francisco.




I have no song to sing

Darkness is a hand at my throat.

I turn to run, always facing

A scream from another ghost.


I feel the hell beneath my house

And see pictures that were once life

Children used to laugh and play

None became grooms or brides.


         I choke on bread

         And swim in blood

         My future is blocked

         By someone’s past.


I hear sighs and tremble,

The spirits rise and fade.

There’s sin on my hands

As I look future in the face.


I’ve been tired and lonely

Upon this borrowed land.

I sleep without a dream

On a dead mans bed.


          I choke on bread

          And swim in blood

          My future is blocked

          By someone’s past


A thousand crows hid the sun

As doves wept in a cypress tree

A thousand prayers circled the moon,

As I wait for peaceful serenity.


Feb 2002 (From ‘‘A Pair Of Olive Leaves’’ album)








Album Poetz for Peace
Album Poetz for Peace

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