1965 (age 53)
Birol Topaloglu was born to a Laz family, in the small village Apso, which is on the North Eastern shore of the Black Sea coast of Turkey, near the Georgian border. He grew up speaking the Lazuri language at home. He started to sing in both Turkish and Lazuri, as well as his experiments in instrumentation drew serious attention. After having worked as an electronic engineer, at home in Turkey and abroad, he chose his music as his primary career.
Birol Topaloglu started collecting the lullabies, and the ballads sung by his mother. In 1997 he recorded the music of the Laz highlanders in Turkey. Later he traveled to Georgia to study the music of the Laz and the Megrels there. He used, for the first time among the Laz in Turkey, a string instrument called the "Chonguri" and a wind instrument called "Philili". Birol also helped to develop a percussion instrument, inspired by the wood used to build beehives, adding to the repertoire of Laz folk instruments.
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