Starting his career by making movie soundtracks, Yuval Ron now contributes to world peace by gathering Christian, Jewish and Muslim artists in his musical ensemble, which he founded in 1999.
In an attempt to eliminate religion, race and culture-based discrimination, Ron and his ensemble establish musical bridges of peace between many ethnic communities around the world. The ensemble features Middle Eastern instruments including the ud, saz, cümbüş, darbuka and def, as well as piano. Before his Turkey tour, Ron talked about world peace, his friendship with world-famous Turkish multi-instrumentalist and composer Ömer Faruk Tekbilek and Islam's mystic tradition of Sufism in an exclusive interview.
He composed scores for many well-known TV shows and films, including “Proteus,” “Oliver Twist,” “The Spiral Staircase,” “Susie Q” and “Someone to Die For.” Founding his own ensemble, Ron works to contribute to world peace with his music.
Noting that he began to think about such things more after meeting his wife and starting a family, Ron says he sacrificed his music for world peace after seeing people suffering in the Middle East. Ron merges the Middle East's various forms of music and dance and puts forward mystical, spiritual, folkloric and inspiring works. “We struggle more than politicians for world peace,” Ron adds.
Impressed by the soundtrack of a movie about Roma, Ron came to Turkey for the first time 15 years ago. He explains that he observed people who make Roma music, saw the places where they live and ate with them for months in İstanbul.
Ron says the makams -- modes -- used in the hymns of the three Abrahamic religions in the Middle East are almost the same. There are many commonalities in these three religions that lead you to the One God, even music is enough to gather many in one common area and bring about peace, according to Ron, who says all three religions ease their pains through the same music but continue fighting unaware of this fact. “For this reason, the differences have been discussed for centuries,” says Ron, adding that he dreams of showing the similarities and bringing the three religions together for world peace.
The artist explains that he uses modes of Sufi music from seven centuries ago to show the similarities to his audience. “I am both a student and teacher of Sufism,” he says, adding that Sufism is where the light is.
Ron, who has delivered music and Sufism classes in the US and many other countries, further highlights that one can become a Sufi, a person who follows Sufism, regardless of religion and nationality. The artist believes that music is an important bridge between the creator and a person, as people can hear the creator through the power of music. Nothing is created without a reason and there is a reason why music was created as well, he believes.
According to Ron, people cannot solve the mystery of the creator and the best thing is to stop speaking and feel the creator. The artist adds that Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen and the movement inspired by him affect Sufism in a positive way.
Tekbilek respectful, excited about all creation
Speaking about Tekbilek, Ron says he met with the Turkish artist in 1998 in California. “I learned everything about Turkish music and Sufism from him,” he notes.
Ron is impressed with Tekbilek's excitement and respect for even the smallest things and he thinks that this excitement and beautiful spirit are a gift granted to Tekbilek from God. The Israeli artist has prepared one album titled “One Truth,” and composed the score for the Oscar-winning movie, “West Bank Story,” in cooperation with Tekbilek. Ron says the awards the movie received meant much to both artists because it was about the importance of peace in the Middle East.
The artist further adds that Turkey is luckier than other countries as it is as it is the only country that can bring all religions together and ensure peace in the Middle East with its many ethnic communities, according to Ron.
The Yuval Ron Ensemble will perform a concert at İstanbul's historic amphitheater in Sultanahmet Square on June 9. The concert is sponsored by İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality's cultural enterprise İstanbul Kültür A.Ş. and the Intercultural Dialogue Platform (IDP).