What is the meaning of the name “Light in Babylon”?
There are two reasons we chose the name Light in Babylon as our band name. Our first stage was “Istiklal” street in Istanbul. In the street, people are walking home, going to or back from work, nobody looks, and nobody smiles. The moment you put music in the street it makes people stop, to listen, to smile, to cry, to dance and to communicate with each other’s. Babylon is a name for the system that forces us to look in only one direction. At the moment you put any kind of art in the system you create light, making the people also look to a different direction. The second reason is the story about the Babel tower, the time when cultures separated and people started to speak different languages. In addition, in our band we are from different places and we speak different languages, but despite that, we have a common culture and language, music
How long do you make music together and how did you meet each other?
This project began when Michal and Julien, met in 2009. Later in 2010, and decided to come back to Istanbul, build what we call today the "Light in Babylon" band and turned from covers of folk songs to original compositions. Then met Metehan Cifti (santoor player) and since then cooperate. They started their way back in the days in Istiklal avenue in Istanbul, that year Istanbul was the "European capital of culture", and had a lot of cultural event happening outside, especially in the center around Taksim square and Istiklal avenue, Theater, art and ofcours music. When we were playing there in less than a minute, we had a big circle of audience of people listening to our music. With the years, we grow, as well, we got more and more fans in Turkey and all over the world and our videos got very popular. At the first years,we were still playing in Istiklal Avenue sometimes when we had the time, but at the same time, we arrive to big stages, music venues, cultural centers and well-known festivals all over Europe.
Do you still perform in "Istiklal" street?
Today we do not play in Istiklal street from all kind of reason, one of them is, that simply we cannot do that forever, and we grow and do many more amazing things and concerts. Just passing by Istiklal street today takes lots of attention from peoples who ask photos (which we always happy to meet), having a performance there will be a mess and also in general many things changes in this place since our time performing there, we were hoping to inspire new young group to continue this culture and go out there and share their music. we learn a lot from it, how to understand people, how to respect people, and how to be modest and humble, now that we become more famous and we play in all kind of big stages, we still remember what we learned from our time in Istiklal street.
Who writes your songs?
Michal Elia kamal is the singer and song writer of our songs, the composition is made by Michal, Julien Demarque the guitarist and Metehan Ciftci the Santur player all together.
Do you always play trio?
Michal Elia Kamal (Singing, Percussion), Julien Demarque (Guitar, Oud) and Metehan Ciftci (Santur, Sansula) are the core of the band, since our concerts got bigger and bigger, two more musicians are joining us on stage; a bass player and a percussionist. we still offer the two options of the Trio concert or the full band concert, each of those options has its own special feeling and quality.
Where are you from?
We always like to consider our selves as the "world people", we see ourselves and others before religion or nationality- first of all as humans. In our band, we come from different places. Michal Elia Kamal is Israeli from Iranian roots, Julien Demarque is French, Metehan Ciftci is Turkish and we cooperate with a Scottish drummer and Iranian bass player.