• Luthier Yahya Yonka, 43, demonstrates a lute he made at his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014.
  • Luthier Yahya Yonka, 43, displays some of the instruments he has made in his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014.
  • Luthier Yahya Yonka, 43, discusses his craft at his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014.
  • Luthier Yahya Ekiji, 42, talks with his colleage Yahya Yonka, 43, in his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014. Mr. Ekiji has been making Lutes for more than 25 years. A colleage and friend of Yahya Yonka, Mr. Ekiji produces high quality lutes as well as a larger quantity of medium-quality instruments that take less time to build due to greater use of machines, and use more readily available medium-quality materials. Mr. Ekiji believes, as do many of his colleagues, that this may be the last generation that knows how to build a traditional lute. He attributes this dying out of the craft to a lack of interest in younger people, the emergence of mass-produced poly-coated instruments from abroad that sell for much less than the beautiful instruments that he and his peers painstakingly craft by hand, one at a time. He also believes that most players can't hear or feel the difference between a really high-quality handcrafted instrument and one of just mediocre quality. He believes that music is a form of escape that people can use to deal with their emotions, but that many people just don't care about it anymore. He says, "We produce music, not weapons."
  • Luthier Yahya Ekiji, 42, works on a lute in his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014.
  • Luthier Yahya Ekiji, 42, displays a row of lutes he is preparing to finish in his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014.
  • Master Luthier Ünal Senpekmezci, 68, prepares to continue working on a handcrafted Lute in his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014.
  • Master Luthier Ünal Senpekmezci, 68, works on a traditional handcrafted Lute in his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014. Each Lute may take him more than a month to complete.
  • Some of Master Luthier Ünal Senpekmezci's, tools lie on his workbench in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014.
  • Master Luthier Ünal Senpekmezci, 68, works on a traditional handcrafted Lute in his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014. Each Lute may take him more than a month to complete.
  • Master Luthier Ünal Senpekmezci, 68, works on a traditional handcrafted Lute in his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014. Each Lute may take him more than a month to complete.
  • Master Luthier Ünal Senpekmezci, 68, stores a traditional handcrafted Lute in his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014. Each Lute may take him more than a month to complete.
  • Master Luthier Ünal Senpekmezci, 68, plays a traditional handcrafted Viola in his workshop in Gaziantep, Turkey, March 26, 2014. Each instrument may take him more than a month to complete.