Introduction (notes) to ‘Bu Ülke’de Güvercinlere Dokunmazlar.’

Premiere by Kardes Türküler, Michael Ellison, conductor
December 12, 2008, 8PM. Erivan, Armenia. Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall, Armenian Opera House
December 13, 2008, 8PM. Vanatzor, Armenia; Charles Aznavour Cultural Center

Thank you for receiving us here. This piece was composed and prepared together with Kardes Türküler in love and respect to Hrant Dink. He was a peacemaker, and, like Kardes Türküler, was an activist for positive change who worked towards understanding and respect amongst all peoples in Turkey.

This piece was composed with a love and deep admiration for a man who had the courage to speak his principles. I cannot remember ever hearing in my lifetime such courage as that displayed by Hrant abi in his last months.


The piece begins with a kaval, surrounded as it were by halos of the women’s chorus around its melody. Almost immediately the entire music rises as though striving for the sky.

(Armenian) Uç güvercinimiz
Gökyüzü acısızdır
Kalbimizi sen koydun atesi

Stopping there, it then descends with a folk-flavored tune. The fast, middle section reflects the spirit in humankind that allows it to resist and find strength even in the most trying difficult circumstances:

(Kurdish) Güvercin kanatlarıyla
Zeytin dallarıyla
Senin için düstüm ben, nare nare
Acını alayım Rakel

The ascending striving music reappears within the fast tempo.

(Turkish) Kanadında rüzgarla
Kanadında sevdayla
Yüreğin alev alev, yane yane


All of this is only a preparation for a tune which Hrant and his family loved and you may also find familiar… The piece is entitled after Hrant Abi’s own words: ‘Bu Ülke’de Güvercinlere Dokunmazlar.’ It is a tribute to the man, the mind and the heart we loved. To Hrant Dink, who has become a part of us as we remember him and continue to work towards his goals of peace, justice, equality, brotherhood and healing. I want to especially thank Kardes Türküler for their dedicated work on this very unique and challenging piece, and to Burcu Yankın, Pakrat Estukyan, and Burcu Yıldız for composing the words. We thank you for receiving us in Yerevan, and this, our offering to a great spirit.

–Michael Ellison, December 11, 2008

English Translation of text:

(Armenian) Fly, fly away, pigeon
The sky holds no pain
You lit the fire in our hearts

(Kurdish) With the wings of a dove
With branches of olive
For you I fell, Nare Nare

(Turkish) On its wings of wind
On its wings of love
Your heart is aflame, burning, burning

Let me take your pain, Rakel

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