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Still true to his childhood love

(ran CI edition)

When you mention the words ethnic and music, Tarik Bulut's eyes light up with excitement and anticipation.

Many people call him a "one-man band," and at 77, Bulut is still going strong.

He was born in Istanbul, Turkey, and began his music studies at age 12, when his parents sent him to a music boarding school.

He graduated from the Music Teachers School and the State Conservatory of Music in Turkey. His parents wanted him to teach music after he finished school, but Bulut had different plans. He chose the life of an orchestra musician and immersed himself in perfecting his skills.

He became a timpanist with the Presidential Philharmonic Orchestra of Turkey, organized a band in the Turkish Air Force and later studied at the Julliard School of Music in New York and the Tanglewood Berkshire Music Center in Massachusetts.

Bulut, who plays several instruments, went on to work as a representative for the Turkish government in New York City. He was assigned to visit and perform for students in American schools, to teach them about the Turkish culture.

During those 15 years as a representative for Turkey, he traveled to 36 states and estimates that he performed for more than 1.5-million people.

His life may have slowed down since those days, but his love of music and his desire to share it with others is still strong.

Bulut plays everything from ethnic music to disco, Big Band to rock 'n' roll on his electric keyboard for senior centers, businesses, ethnic clubs and churches.

"I play at least 21 types of music, and I can sing 10 of them correctly," Bulut said. His list of ethnic music includes Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Iranian, Italian and Scottish.

"Music is very rewarding. I very much enjoy music. If you take music out of my hand I will die!" he said.

"My wife asked me why do I still do what I do (perform so frequently) and I said to her, "Because I enjoy what I am doing,'

" he said.

Bulut said signs of his love for music were quite evident even when he was a youngster.

"Since I was very young, I always liked to entertain people. I always had a fake instrument in my hand, acting like I was playing. It is just my nature; I was probably just born with this talent," he said.

"Music takes me to another world. I am not here when I am playing. I have spent my life in music and if I had a chance to come through this world again, I would come again as a musician."

If you are interested in having Bulut perform for your organization, call 726-8678.