Turkish immigration to North America is a recent phenomenon, occurring mainly after World War II. The main areas of settlement have been large cities such as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, or industrial cities such as Hamilton and Brampton, Ont. The 1986 census lists more than 5000 people of Turkish origin in Canada. Musical preferences range from folk to urban popular or classical music, depending upon the individual's geographical and educational background. Turkish classical music uses the tanbur (long-necked lute), ney (reed flute), kanun (zither) and ud (lute). Folk instruments are the saz/bağlama (folk lute), zurna (reed), kaval (wood flute), and davul (drum). Urban popular music is hybrid, borrowing instruments and styles from the folk, classical, and western traditions. Differences between the Turkish musical system and that in use elsewhere create difficulties in the practice of traditional forms outside of Turkey, and especially in the handing on of these forms to the younger generation. Transcriptions of some Turkish music are held at the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Beginning in 1978, the Turkish community has sponsored a pavilion in the Toronto Caravan festival, with performances by the Anatolian Folk Dancers and Ezgi, Toronto-based music and dance groups. Also active in Toronto in 1991 was the group Hasret, led by Murat Kayalak, which performs traditional Turkish music. Toronto's CHIN radio station has broadcast a regular program including both folk and popular Turkish music.
The JMC (YMC) sponsored the Turkish violinist Ayla Erduran on Canadian tours in 1960-1 and 1961-2. Visits to Canada by other Turkish musicians include those by the Whirling Dervishes of Turkey (which performed in Montreal in 1973), by a folk dance group in 1976, by the singer Mustafa Sagyasar in 1978, by the pianist Idil Biret - a Nadia Boulanger pupil who gave recitals in Canada as a child prodigy, appeared with orchestra during the 1960 Montreal Festivals, and performed at Hart House in 1979 - and by the violinist Suna Kan, who was soloist with the CBC Winnipeg Orchestra in 1979. Visiting artists who perform Turkish music have included Necdet Yasar (tanbur) and Niyazi Sayin (ney) in 1981, the folk musician Ali Ekber Çiçek in 1990, and the singer Esin Afsar in 1991. Two Canadians, Irene Markoff and Leslie Hall, have written doctoral dissertations on aspects of Turkish music, and Ilhami Gökçen has compiled a book of well-known Turkish songs.
The ethnomusicologist and anthropologist Asen Balikci (b Turkey 30 Dec 1929) made extensive recordings of Inuit songs, games, and legends while working at the National Museum of Man.