Mr. MehmetThe Godfather
Mehmet Tamdeger’s mentor was Mikkail Zilcan, who taught him everything the master craftsmen knew about cymbal making. Mehmet was born in the same small village outside Istanbul, Turkey where cymbal making is thought to have been developed in 1623. Zilcan taught Mehmet’s best childhood friend, Agop Tomarcuk, the same trade. After Mr. Zilcan’s passing, Mehmet and Agop established their own company, Istanbul Cymbals. Both men took personal care over the company, hand making and signing each and every product. After the death of Agop in a 1997 tragic boat fire, Mehmet kept control of the factory, selling cymbals under the Istanbul Mehmet name, while members of Agop’s family established their own company and produces the Istanbul Agop line. Our interview with Mehmet for the NAMM Oral History program was completed in Frankfurt Germany on March 30, 2006.
Bulent AkbayHead of A & R
Bulent Akbay was born in Istanbul and was interested in playing the drums at an early age. He played throughout school and like other drummers in the area he was always looking for a place to play. This need led Bulent to forming his own drum studio and school, which later included a retail element of the business. His connections within the percussion world afforded him the chance to meet and get to know the cymbal master Mehmet Tamdeger, who later hired Bulent as a product tester.
Horacio 'El Negro' HernandezArtist
Cuban drummer Horacio Hernandez has his own “El Negro” range as part of Istanbul Mehmets Signature Series.
Horacio Hernandez also know as “El Negro” has always been a dedicated drummer and performer. In Horacios younger days he was known to spend all his time in Havana recording studios, often not returning home for weeks! When slightly older, Horacio moved to New York and began playing it clubs for $50 a night. Once legally allowed to work in New York and able to travel, Horacio was approached by Latin jazz piano master Michel Camilo. This was a huge step for Horacio and he was given the opportunity to play on many tracks, which ended up being some of the most influential Latin jazz recordings of the ’90s. Horacio Hernandez is recognised as a extraordinary drummer and has won many awards throughout his career, including a Grammy.
Kiko has a signature ride cymbal with Istanbul Mehmet. The ride cymbal features a unlathed top and fully lathed bottom with a vintage feel. The Kiko signature ride has a raw bell along with a dark, washy crashable sound and clear stick definition.
Kiko Freitas was born in Porto Alegre in 1969. By the age of four Kiko started playing bombo leguero (traditional Brazil/Argentinian drum) following in his father footsteps. Kikos mother, Beatriz Castro was a signer, so he was brought up around music. Once Kiko reached eight years old he started to study acoustic guitar but would still loved to hit anything that would produce a sound! As Kiko grew into an adult he was drawn to electic instruments and played the electric bass among his family. Music got serious for Kiko in 1987 after studying with Argos Montenegro and at the “Orquestra Sinfônica de Porto Alegre” school. Kiko was already one of the top drummers in Brazil by the 90’s and continued to take part in concerts, recording sessions and workshops to make a name for himself. Further into the 90’s, Kiko went to LA and came across many well known jazz musicians including Dough Lunn, Vadeem Zilberstein and John Leftwich. Since then, Kiko has accomplished many things and as an educator, has conducted many workshops in Brazil and abroad. Now-a-days, Kiko is playing in João Bosco´s Band, each year the band tour around Brazil, USA and Europe, including concerts with the great Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba.