Hailing from Elazig, a town in East Anatolia, but born in Ankara in 1954, Erkan Ogur started on violin as a child and learned cumbus, a small fretless lute, from local musicians playing traditional dances at weddings.
Hearing Jimi Hendrix on the radio was a major shock, and in high school he began studying guitar. While in Munich on a scholarship to graduate in physics, he decided to dedicate fully to music and threw himself full-time into a classical repertoire. He developed a bad inflammation of the wrist, and this -- with the idea of playing on guitar in the microtonal style of Turkish maqams -- was a key motivation to develop his fretless guitar. After meeting Robert "One Man Band" Johnson in Istanbul, he went to the U.S. for two years, playing blues on the road; he returned in Turkey in the '80s, finished his Conservatory studies, and his guitar and saz fills were soon very much in demand by producers of pop music and can be heard on Sezen Aksu's CDs. His first CD was released in Germany (Fretless, Feuer und Ice); after that in Turkey he published Gulun Kokusu Vardi (Kalan, 1998); Hiç (Nothing) with saz/cura player Okan Murat Öztürk, (1999); Anadolu Besik, Bir Ömürlük Misafir including a duet with Philip Catherine, and the soundtrack to Yavuz Turgul's film Eskiya (all on Kalan 2000); and Fuad (2001) with Djivan Gasparyan. He plays in Öztürk's brilliant Bengi saz Trio. His yet to be recorded Telvin Trio is dedicated to concentrated and freewheeling improvisations in the spirit of John Coltrane and Bill Evans, based on the traditional maqam system, of which Ogur is a major practitioner. ~ Francesco Martinelli, Rovi