Goodness in Us

I am excited to start a new interview series on Şalom and I am starting them with Izzet Bana. When I thought about asking questions to successful people, I remembered who has been one of my favorite childhood memories from our community. I was getting ready for the “Grease Musical” and it was a blast. I also remember filming a few other events and performances with Izzet Bana. I am happy that he returned my request so kindly and promptly. Without further ado, here is the Q&A with Mr. Izzet Bana.
Goodness in Us

By Bessy ADUT

Short biography of Izzet Bana

Izzet Bana is a theater actor, musician and archivist. He is one of the founders and singers of Los Pasharos Sefaradis group which is one of the most authentic representations of Turkish-Sepharad music. As a musician, he organized several concerts and came out with records in the organizations by Turkish-Jewish organizations. He still continues actively working at Estreyikas d’Estambol Sefarad Songs Children Chorus and Nes Adults Chorus with an attendance of over 500 children. Since 1972 he has done many acting and directing projects in theater. He also acted professionally in Talimhane Theater and Sadri Alisik Theater plays. He is a consultant at the Netflix TV series “The Club (Kulüp)” where the Turkish-Jewish community is under a magnifying glass. He also worked as an archivist at Şalom Newspaper in 1990-1994. Aside from his personal archivism, he also has several works bringing musical gatherings, authentic sound archives, and creating an inventory to be used for theatrical events by the community.

Where do you live?

My home is in Göztepe-Istanbul, Turkey.

Please tell us about your current projects

Currently, I work on several projects, some of which can be listed as:

*Turkish Jewish Theater Archive
*1923 Musical at Zorlu-Sadri Alışık
*Director of Estreyikas d'Estambol Children Chorus
*Nes Adult Sepharad Chorus Director

Could you share how you started and how you got to where you are today?

We started with performing plays in the community theaters. I haven’t gone to a conservatory. We learned by observing master actors in theaters. I also truly cared about music. I have humbly researched Sephardic Music. I created an archive based on that. This archive also helped me organize music for wedding events at Neve Shalom Synagogue.

Has it been a smooth road?

It wouldn’t be without trouble. It’s impossible to please everyone. I tried to understand and find our public’s common likes and tastes in the arts.

1923 Musical at Zorlu-Sadri Alışık

Tell us more about your life and career...

The world is changing. Youth wants new things. I try to update but sometimes it’s not enough. It is hard to catch up to modern technology. Sometimes I get frustrated with myself. Then I think of all the paths I had to pass and I calm down. It’s not very good. It does affect my capacity.

What do you think goodness is?

Not to show pity. Sometimes you think you are doing good for someone. This changes from person to person. It depends on their perception. Sometimes being good can also backfire. I have witnessed that in my life.

(I’d like to think goodness and kindness are still worth it and hope some people still value it.)

Who are you outside of your professional life?

I try to be someone who lives the realities. The things I watch and like. However, things change; sometimes I like something then I don’t, or vice versa.

Are you interested in environmental issues?

I do as much as I have time from my work. I am a good observer and I’d like to observe to see how we can make our environmental issues come to light.

Do you think the world is not a good place right now?

I live by the realities of the world. Of course, every place’s realities are different. The goodness concept changes from person to person too.

How do you make the world a better place?

We should try to love the world and people the way it is. That’s why wars happen; we shouldn’t try to change too much.

How can we all make the world better?

As I mentioned above, by appreciating everyone and everything the way it is more.

If you could go anywhere, where would you go (and why)?

I believe Hawaii. There is not much traffic and good air however they don’t have the wonderful things we have here, so I think I am alright here in Istanbul, where I am.

Thank you for the short and sweet interview, Izzet Bana.

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