Pantheon Soundtrack, track 8
“Mahalle” by Transcendental (from the Hamam soundtrack)
I fell in love with this song when I saw the fantastic film Hamam (Steam) and hunted down the soundtrack. It is now one of my favorite albums of all time.
An aretalogy is a specific type of poem from the ancient world that listed the attributes or accomplishments of a god or goddess. Usually these took the form of “I am” statements and were often used as hymns. Perhaps the most famous prose aretalogy is in the eleventh book of Apuleius’ “The Golden Ass” when Isis appears to Lucius and lists her many names and divine duties. In Pantheon, the former goddess Demeter uses this literary form to tell her story.
The repetitious nature of this irresistible rhythm echoes the cadence of Demeter’s aretalogy. The drum beats remind me of the Middle Eastern music she would have heard on her early journeys.
Do yourself a favor and track down a copy of Hamam if you’ve never seen the film. It is breathtaking, and will make you want to jump on the next plane to Istanbul.
(Note: This song is misidentified as “İptal” in the YouTube video, another great song on this amazing soundtrack.)