Kerim and Selim Altinok – Blind Brothers Duo with Mandolin and Guitar – Mandolin Music from Turkey

The mandolin is not a popular instrument in Turkey today. The baglama is the plucked strings instrument that is mostly played in Turkey. But there are a few videos by Turkish musicians with mandolin. Some time ago I was told about the videos by Kerim & Selim Altinok. After I had watched several videos I found that both brothers began losing their sight when they were 4, and are completely blind since they were 18.

Despite of this they studied at the university and established their own company. They did also study music and started a successful carreer as musicians. And they are also fantastic players of chess and took part in international chess competitions.

Between 1940 and 1954 the so called Village Institutes existed in Turkey, institutes to educate teachers for schools for the education of boys and girls in rural countries. In those schols music played an important rule, and in many cases mandolin was taught to the students. I have found many pictures showing groups of mandolin players from this time.

There are some mandolin methods in Turkish language, one method is shown on the website of Kerim and Selim Altinok:


Mandolinenschule von Akuf Saydam und Saip Egüz aus der Türkei

Yeni Mandolin Metodu

Selim, the mandolin player, has used youtube to discover the many ways the mandolin is played in the world. He would like that the mandolin gets a better place in the musical life in Turkey.

Playlist Kerim & Selim Altinok

Playliste 2 – Kerim & Selim Altinok

Additional Information

Linkcollection about Kerim & Selim Altinok

Newspaper article from Hürriyet

Brothers Kerim and Selim Altinok were born just 45 seconds apart. They partially lost their sight at the age of four and totally lost it a few days before their 18th birthday. Although they had to overcome difficulties fully sighted people would not have to, they have never stopped fighting.

They finished primary school, and at university, they graduated with honors from the Istanbul University Faculty of Law. They specialized in financial law. The brothers have also represented Turkey in the field of chess and Selim has drawn with world chess champion Anatoly Karpov.

Career and art

The Altinok brothers got involved in art while they were building their careers. They started playing various instruments at an early age and decided to become professional musicians. They passed the exams at the Istanbul State Conservatory.

As part of the Bakirköy Association for the Blind, the brothers formed a choir named Gözder, composed entirely of blind members, in 1991. They aim to share their knowledge from the conservatory with the choir and prove that all disabilities can be overcome with good music education.

Website Kerim & Selim Altinok

Kerim & Selim Altinok at soundcloud

At soundcloud you can find a playlist with instrumental pieces, played with mandolins and guitar, including popular pieces like O Sole Mio, an arrangement of the Aranjuez guitar concerto by Rodrigo, ot the popular Southamerican tune El Condor Pasa.




Trio Que Chora – Choro Music with Flute, Guitar and Percussion

The Trio Que Chora is a trio dedicated to Choro music with flute, Brazilian 7-string guitar and percussion.

I have compiled a playlist with many great performances! The playlist starts with videos from a concert by SESC Sao Paulo.

Playlist Trio Que Chora

O grupo apresenta diversidade rítmica e formação pouco usual, pois além da flauta, do violão sete cordas e do pandeiro, são utilizados vários instrumentos de percussão. Em seus shows, apresentam o choro e outros ritmos musicais como samba, baião, forró, valsa, ciranda de forma descontraída, alegre, prazerosa, incentivando a participação do público.

Ficha Técnica:

CÁSSIA MARIA,  percussão


Jazz Improvisation for Beginners – A Set of Great Exercises and Playalong Tracks – Take the A Train

I have recently discovered a great new resource for learning to improvise on jazz tunes. Leo Ravera has compiled a set of exercises based on the chord progression of Take the A Train. Those exercise are very well suited for the mandolin.

This is the chord progression of the song.

You can play the exercises using the sheet music on the site and play all the notes in the first position.

But there is another option. I propose to use the first finger for the root of every chord. You will need the following root notes: C, D G, F. The first finger needs to jump between the notes. You can play those notes on the 3rd and 5th frets of the D- and A-string. Or you can play the notes on the 5th and 7th fret of the G-string and the 3rd and 5tf fret of the D-String.

If you do it like this you can play the same sequence of fingers again and again.

Finger positions for major chord / scale (from C)

Finger position for minor chord / scale (from C) Jazz Improvisation


If you do always start with the 1st finger you will play the same sequences of notes just beginning with another position of the 1st finger. For the triads you must learn the difference between a major third and a minor third, or major and minor chords.

Note sequences (just as a quick reminder – check the website for the proposed rhythm):

  • 1 (root)
  • 1 – 3 – 5 (triad chord)
  • 1  – 3 – 5 – 8 (triad chord, up to an octave)
  • 1 – 1 2 – 3 2 – 1  (three not phrases, ascending)
  • 3 2 3 1 (three not phrases. descending)
  • 3 – 5- 8 (triad chord, first inversion)
  • 8 – 5 – 3 (descending phrases on first inversion)
  • 8 – 5 – 3 – 5 – 8 (descending and ascending triad chord first inversion)
  • 1 – 3 – 1 – 5 (lower octave) – 1 (triad chord second inversion)
  • 8 – 3 – 5 – 1 (broken triad chord)
  • how to play off beat

YOuo can use the playback from the website or one of the available backing tracks from youtub. I have compiled a playlist with some selected backing tracks.

Take the A Train – Playalong – Backing Tracks

Additional information – Jazz Improvisation

In this page you find useful resources for studying jazz improvisation. There are many methods and books on jazz improvisation: transcriptions of solos by the great masters, collections of patterns, books on theory. However, in my own experience, I realized that the really difficult part is the initial one, i.e. the first steps. Many musicians study classical and only approach improvisation later on, perhaps already having a reasonable knowledge of harmony, but without ever having applied it to improvisation.

Before you start studying jazz improvisation, you should fully master major and minor scales in all keys, as well as triads and seventh chords.













Danilo Brito (Bandolim) and André Mehmari (Piano) – Complete Concert

Danilo Brito is one of the best bandolim players in Brazil. He has performed together with Mike Marshall and other American mandolin players. Now I have found the following concert which he gave together with piano player André Mehmari. The program was composed of compositions by Ernesto Nazareth, Garoto or Zequinha de Abreu, and also some compositions by the two artists.

Danilo Brito (bandolim)

Its difficult to describe the music, it’s a mix of Brazilian Choro, classical music, with influences from Portuguese Fado musica and maybe also some influences from Jazz.

Playlist Danilo Brito (bandolim) and André Mehmari (piano)

Bandolim e piano se encontram no duo formado por Danilo Brito e André Mehmari, que pode ser definido como música pura, arte e emoção. Ambos compositores e com sólida carreira nacional e internacional formam o duo que combina suas peculiaridades e suas semelhanças, com uma sintonia única. No repertório, Amoroso de Garoto, Floraux de Nazereth e Branca de Zequinha de Abreu, além de composições dos dois artistas.

Enjoy this fantastic concert with Danilo Brito and André Mehmari!

Additional information

Watch Danilo Brito in a Tiny Desk Concert at the NPR

Website Danilo Brito (port.)

Webiste Danilo Brito (engl.)

Presentation of Danilo Brito on Musica Extraordinária website





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