COMPOSERS AND PERFORMERS
İSAK ALGAZİ (İSAK EL GAZİ, HâNENDE HOCA)
Composer and famous singer of Jewish origin. He was actually a Rabbi. Algazi was born in Izmir and died in Montevideo. His father was singer (Hânende) Bülbülî Salomon Algazi, famous as both a popular singer and composer. In Synagogue, as Jewish religious music was played totally in the Turkish mode, Isak learned traditional Turkish song repertoires.
When he was 19 yeas old, he became a singer in the İzmir Synagogue. One of his students in Izmir was Alberto Hemsi (1896-1975). When İsak Efendi was 34 years old (1923), he moved to Istanbul as a famous singer and stayed there for 10 years. He sang in front of Atatürk in the Dolmabahçe Palace. He published a weekly Jewish magazine, La Voz de Oriente (1930-33), and moved to Paris in 1933, staying for 2 years. In 1935, he moved to Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, and remained for 15 years. He represented an Uruguayan Jewish group in the New York World Jewish Conference in 1944. Algazi composed many Jewish songs in the mode of Sgâh, Uşşak, Bestenigâr. They include poems in Spanish, Yiddish and Hebrew. He recorded 13 records and sang Beyâtî, Hicâz, Hüseynî (Bilmeyenler gaayet…) gazelle.
For detailed information about this composer, please see the article “Rabbi İzak Algazi Efendi” by Bülent Aksoy in the “Articles” section of this site.