The  Soulist enjoyed a 2 day celebration for its 2nd anniversary


By Roland Eyerich ….

It is 2 years since The Soulist Coffee and Music House in Alsancak opened its doors and again a big success for live music in North Cyprus with a celebration over 2 days on Friday the 18th and Saturday 19th of January.

In 2018 it was just a Birthday Party, but one year later in 2019,The Soulist celebrated this special event with an Anniversary Weekend over two Days. On Friday 18th January a Birthday Party with Alper Cengiz and friends including a donation with a live auction from BAYRAK International for Hope for Hope and on Saturday 19th January a Jazz Highlight with Salliel Bros and Okan Ersan.

Two years ago, on the 20th of January 2017, Alper Cengiz (lead singer of the group Soulstuff from Istanbul) opened The Soulist Coffee and Music House. This combination of a good coffee house during the day with high quality music on 3 event days has made The Soulist unique in the area.

Alper Cengiz has created a special gift for this area with the “Small Music Hall of Alsancak”. It is his heart, his feeling and the temperament of the musician Alper Cengiz that can be felt. Alper is the soul of The Soulist. His motivation is to get people excited about music. With “The Soulist”, an international meeting place was created, focusing on music and inviting people and musicians to enjoy music without borders. The aim is to offer a varied monthly program for music lovers. Blues & Soul, Blues Rock, Rockabilly, Rock, Reggae, Jazz, Gypsy Jazz and Classic.

In 2017 The Hürriyet newspaper from Istanbul named “The Soulist” as one of the best act activity places of Northern Cyprus. On the 19th of February 2017 Gülse Birsel from Hürriyet wrote “Best place for live music”.

In 2018 The Soulist confirmed this with many highlights. Outstanding in September 2018 was the 1st Friends Across Borders Concert in Aid of Tulips, where after about 44 years musicians of the Blues & Rock scene from both parts of Cyprus were on stage. In December, there was a 2 day “The Soulist Christmas Market with live music” with The Alight House Gospel Choir and Alper Cengiz & Friends on the first day and a Classical Concert on the second day and last but not least the 13th of January this year, the first Breakfast with Jazz.  And of course Alper’s great Soulist Team with his partner Adeleh Mozafari, who supports him so much.

“The Soulist 2nd Anniversary celebration weekend”.

Karl Rugg and Can Gazi

On the 18th of January “The Soulist Coffee and Music House“ started celebrating their 2nd Anniversary with the first act: A Birthday Party including a campaign to support Hope Joe Stringer’s fight against cancer with BAYRAK Internationals “Fridays Hope for Hope Event. As well as a concert, there was a supporting act during this evening, not with a band but with a live auction which started at 8.30pm for “Hope for Hope” with Karl Rugg on the mike for encouraging a good donation for the campaign to support Hope Joe Stringer’s fight against cancer. For the organisers Denise Phillips and Can Gazi from Bayrak International and the campaign it was a big success and Karl Rugg was amazing – he did a really good job.

After this Alper Cengiz & Friends entered the stage celebrating an unforgettable night at the sold out Soulist. In turn Alper Cengiz invited musicians from the region and the audience to celebrate this special day together. The audience which now comes to The Soulist understands better in the second year how great it is to be able to go to see good live acts and enjoy the music.

l-r Dean Bridges, Alper Cengiz, Adeleh Mozafari, Naim Korudag

l-r Dean Bridges, Alper Cengiz, Firat Ataser, Naim Korudag

Also this evening, right after the first song Alper had his audience enthralled. The special “Soulist Atmosphere” was evident. Party time in The Soulist was announced and the audience celebrated with the band. There was the obligatory cake (presented by Adeleh Mozafari) for the second birthday and also the Mayor of Alsancak (Firat Ataser) entered the stage and insisted on to saying some words on this special occasion:

“Alper Cengiz made a very good job of opening The Soulist in Alsancak. The Soulist is very special place for us, this place brings value and beautiful colours in our social day and night life in Alsancak. The Soulist shows us what the people of Alsancak want. Because of that, we have decided to arrange a Jazz or Blues festival in April and I’m happy to announce this on this special birthday night of The Soulist.“

That was not all, the special highlights were in the second set with special versions of “Alright Now” (Paul Rodgers), “Purple Rain” (Prince) and “Little Wing” (Jimi Hendrix) with an amazing band, in which every musician excelled and contributed to the good concert and The Soulist Party.

Amazing Band on stage: Arda Baykurt (Drums), Dean Bridges (Bass), Naim Koroudag (Guitar + Vocals), Ed Sezener (Guitar + Vocals), Cumhur Can (Sax) – “The Man with the dancing Saxophone“.

Special guests: Trumpet: Hikmet Altunbaşlıer, Drums: Alan Bartholomew and Serkan Tütüncü.

Pictures – left : Naim Korudag, right : Ed Sezener, below : Cumhur Can and Hikmet Altunbaşlıer 

The 2nd act of the 2nd Anniversary of The Soulist on Saturday 19th January was a Jazz Event with Salliel Bros & Okan Ersan. It showed again that Jazz Music is a melting pot of musicians having no Borders: “Music needs No Borders“ one of the central ideas of The Soulist.  Well known musicians from the North and South from this wonderful island and from Turkey in one band: Salliel Bros & Okan Ersan.

Anil Salliel – Tenor Sax, Batuhan Salliel – Soprano Sax, Okan Ersan – Guitar,  Stelios Xydias – Drums, Cahit Kutrafalı – Bass

Saxophone players the Salliel Bros, the Guitar player Okan, incomparable musicians Cahit on Bass and Stellios on Drums celebrating an unforgettable “Jazz Funk Fusion Explosion“ night in The Soulist. Unbelievable good music and also an unbelievable crowd on this night. You could feel the influences of Mike Stern and Pat Metheny. The Soulist crowd fell in love with the music. The Finale after nearly two hours was: one more… one more… Wow… The band did it.  A great encore closed the Jazz night and the 2nd Anniversary of the Soulist.

Stellios Xydias said: “It was a great evening for me. I really enjoyed being able to play in front of this great audience. You have done something extraordinary with the Soulist. It has changed a lot here in one year”.

Where is “The Soulist”:  If you drive along the coastal road west from Girne you arrive in Alsancak, and will see the Coffee and Music House “The Soulist” (Karaoglanoglu Caddesi No 10) opposite Lemar and the Golden Lady.