History


Asia Minor's story goes like this:

1953: Guitarist/vocalist Setrak Bakirel is born.

1954: Flautist/guitarist Eril Tekeli born.

1960: Drummer Lionel Beltrami is born.

1971: Guitarist/flautist Erik Tekeli and guitarist/singer Setrak Bakirel, together with drummer Can Kozlu, formed a band while students at St. Joseph's College in Istanbul, Turkey. Win two prizes in Turkey-wide high school musical competetion.

1973: Bakirel and Tekeli move to Paris, Kozlu to Grenoble (southern France)

1974: Bakirel and Tekeli perfoming as duo named Layla. This was not only in reference to the classic Eric Clapton song, but also to a character in Persian mythology. Not surprising, as that was the source, as I recall, for Clapton as well.
    Later in the year, visiting Kozlu, the trio began recording tracks. Thereafter, Kozlu joined the duo and Layla in Paris.

1975: Bassist named Hervè (last name unknown) joins Layla. Perform at "the youth-center, Rue Borrego, Théâtre Mouffetard, the Faculty of Architecture, and as backing musicians for a play over three nights at the Paris Festival."

1976: Hervè leaves, JeanPhilippe Bottier joins. Band takes name of Asia Minor Process, "a title chosen by the whole group as a reference of their origins and the kind of musical style they wanted to develop, inspired by Mid-Eastern culture.

1977: Kozlu leaves, Beltrami joins...suggests band shorten name to Asia Minor. Kempler almost joins at this time as keyboardist, but doesn't. Beltrami had been a member of the bands Atlantis, Phenix, and Graal before joining Asia Minor.
    Bottier leaves, new bassist Paul Levy joins.

Work begins on new compositions, combining elements of "Middle Eastern scales with Anglo-Saxon progressive rock, a style much admired by Eril and Setrak, though they didn't consider it a major influence. The Middle Eastern influence [...] manifests itself in the melancholy and sinuous shape of the themes and in Setrak Bakirel's nostalgic vocal style."

1978: Grime's Nicolas Vicente provides keyboards for three tracks recorded at this time; this quintet also plays at the Faculty of Architecture (May 1978). Land "five-day residency at the Drugshow in Paris." Next play in September 1978 at the Boule Noire.
    Record demo, almost interest CBS records into a signing, decide to self produce an album. Book studio - Maia Studios, Bondy, France. Levy splits, leaving bass duties to Tekeli and Setrak.
    Recording takes place over two weeks in October, but later decides band decides to remix at Studio de la Grande Armée in Paris.

1979: No takers for releasing Crossing The Line, so it is self released under their own label Ware of Asia Minor on April 19. "The band struggled hard to arouse interest in the media but without the help of a record company or PR officer they only got as far as winning a few lines' space in Rock 'n' Folk. Asia Minor's music, with its instrumental virtuosity and complexity and melodic originality, contrasted totally with the musical fashion of the time, namely punk."

Rest of history soon....



Historical details have been summarized from the liner notes of the Musea reissues, and thus source material is © copyright 1991/1993 Musea.