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Kolbastı Game: A Historical Evaluation

Played as kolbastı or penny in Giresun, and as kolbastı, hoptek or Faroz cut in Trabzon, it seems that kolbastı has recently gained an important local and national attraction.

However, the belonging of this game played in different musical forms, that is, which neighborhood it belongs to and what it describes (which subject or topics) continues to be a matter of debate, and the regulation on the classical structure and music of the game has led to the growth of discussions. Players come face to face and take a fight; together with the figures of struggle, injury, falling and getting up, it is obvious that this play/representation represents a conflict and struggle in the past. It is seen that kolbastı[2], which is played and played in a slower rhythm with the music of penny air and poplars along the stream, on the sides of Giresun, has been performed with the folk songs of lamb spread on the grass of the plateau and the poplars along the stream in Trabzon for many years. However, İsmail Yazıcıoğlu’s contribution to the music of kolbastı with the lyrics of other folk songs[3] as well as the late Erkan Ocaklı’s changing/removing the song from its original form by adding additional words to the folk song of creek river poplars resulted in a faster rhythm of the ballad play. Apart from these, some people in Trabzon say “we will make the state and nation adopt this game as Turkish folk dances”, “If Erzurum has a bar, İzmir has a zeybek, Trabzon has a kolbastı” or “this game is the flag of Trabzon”[4 ] with the understanding; The fact that they interfered with the classical structure of the play by setting out with claims and statements that are far from being scientific and suitable for creating an atmosphere of discussion and fighting, and that they emphasized the visual elements rather than the content by arranging the scene, caused the kolbast to break away from its essence and enter a new medium on the axis of material interests and political expectations. As a result, although the kolbastı game played today gained fame by being transformed into a pop style, the game, which has become a spectacle, has come to the stage of breaking away from its essence. As it can be understood from this short introduction, to dwell on the historical background and musical aspect of the kolbastı game; It is the purpose of this article to contribute to the situation by approaching the situation objectively.

However, before giving information about kolbastı, it is stated that the horon culture that has existed in the region for a long time and the kemençe, drum and zurna instruments that serve this culture are the dominant elements in all kinds of celebrations and entertainment such as holidays and weddings; they have a historical basis; It should be noted first and foremost that the game of kolbastı emerged in a more recent period. Some of the data revealing this fact are as follows: There is information about a person named Kemençeci Mustafa in the Avcılı village of Tirebolu in 1788[5]. In a tax book dated 1850 showing the tithe/land tax paid by the people, “Kemençecioğlu” is the nickname of a dynasty in the Yobol village of Şarlı/Beşikdüzü. On the same date, the existence of many people under the names of drummer and zurna player was recorded[6]. In other words, while horon-kemençe elements appear in the documents found in the state archives, a formation similar to Kolbastı is not encountered. Similarly, it is known that Kadri Bey (1892-1903), who served as the governor in Trabzon, gathered the village boys and made them play various horon and knife games. In the Hıdırellez celebrations, which took place in the recreation areas, the horon, drum and zurna were included in the memories as the elements that brought the youth to enthusiasm[7]. While the indescribable relationship of the people who are not from the upper class with the horon, kemençe, drum and zurna is described in great detail in the Trabzon State Annual (Yearbook) dated 1903[8], there is no information about the existence of the Kolbastı play. It is told that journalist-deputy Meşveretçi Naci Bey (1881-1937), who came from a wealthy family of Trabzon, settled in Izmir for trade purposes after leaving his parliamentary position, and that his fellow countrymen, who stopped by Naci Bey’s farm from Trabzon to look for a job, fulfilled their homesickness by playing horon and playing the kemençe. (1925’s)[9]. While all these documents and information reveal that the horon, kemençe, drum and zurna culture in the region is an ancient tradition based on centuries, the same information and documents do not give the slightest indication of the existence of the game called kolbastı.

While Kolbastı Havas was not included in the first compilation study conducted in 1926 in the Republican era, when scientific studies on folklore began in Turkey, Kolbastı Havas was found in 1929[10], 1937 and 1943 compilations[11]. In this case, it shows that the kolbastı game emerged later and its relationship with the people of the region is new, and the fact that a game called kolbastı did not have a place in the regions where horon culture was dominant in the region is an important explanation in itself.

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