TURKANA is a band made up of Turkish and American musicians that performs Turkish music with the aim of adding its own threads to the world’s musical tapestry. Its roots are deeply seated in Turkish culture and tradition. Thus the rhythms and melodies of TURKANA’s music reflect the richness and diversity of musical life in Turkey.  Performing their own compositions as well as music that is popular in Turkey, the band utilizes modern and authentic acoustic instruments.
TURKANA is led by Dr. Bahri Karaçay, who is a Turkish musician-scientist with a lifelong interest in Turkish culture, and the promotion of Turkish music and dance.  At the age of twelve Bahri joined the Erzurum Folk Dance and Music Foundation (EFDMF) in his hometown. Only five months after becoming part of Turkey’s very first Turkish Folk-Music Children’s choir, Bahri performed as a soloist at a live concert and soon after appeared on a local TV station.  He continued to perform solos in live concerts organized by the EFDMF while continuing his music education with the same organization.  He was hired by the government-owned Turkish Radio and Television Organization (TRT) to be part of its Folk-Music Choir, which produced radio programs on a regular basis.  His unique voice and style was recognized by several Turkish Folk Music authorities which resulted with some of his recordings to be permanently placed in the “Turkish National Folk Music Archives”.  This was followed by appearances in several programs on Turkish national TV.
After a long break due to his graduate studies both in Germany and in the Unites States, Bahri became actively involved with his music again.  In 1997, he established TURKANA, a band composed of Turkish and American musicians.  The first CD of TURKANA features six of Bahri Karaçay’s original compositions. When Bahri’s professional life led him to the University of Iowa, he once again formed the nucleus for the new TURKANA, with renewed emphasis toward performance and composition of Turkish popular music.  TURKANA has performed at diversity festivals, art festivals, and arts outreach programs.  TURKANA has also been featured on many local radio and TV programs. The group is currently comprised of the following individuals:


Bahri Karacay          Saz and vocals
John Bayless            Drums
Doug Langbehn       Keyboards
Paul McCray            Guitar
Risto Rautiainen     Bass
John Kramer           Bass
Cuneyt Sahin          Percussion