Filed under: Turkey
Berkant Akgürgen was born on New Years Eve 1938 in Ankara, Turkey. At the age of 19, he formed his first band Üstün Poyrazoğlu Orkestrası. Later that year, the band changed their name to Jüpiter Kenteti – or Jupiter Quintets. After a stint in the military, he formed Vasfi Uçaroğlu Orkestrası.
Berkant recorded dozens of singles between 1966 and 1974, and many of the songs were collected on an album in 1974. In 1993, he attempted a comeback with an album called “Samanyolu ’93” – or “Milky Way ’93”. He died today – October 1st, 2012.
This song, which translates as “First Love” was originally recorded by Ajda Pekkan.
Catalog number SP 303 on Sevilen Plāk of Turkey, released 1972.
Filed under: Turkey
Guitarist and composer Zafer Dilek was born in Turkey in 1945. He is best known for his arrangements of traditional folk songs. Dilek recorded a number of singles in the early to mid-Seventies that were collected on two LPs – “Oyun Havaları” and “Oyun Havaları 2“. Beyond that, there is not a whole lot of information available other than the fact that he is apparently – as of this posting – still alive. For some reason, this song – which was also covered by Erkin Koray – was left off the CD re-issue of Dilek’s music.
Catalog number YCAS-052 on Yonca Plakçilik of Istanbul, Turkey. No release date listed.
Filed under: Turkey
Just the other night, I was talking with a fellow record collector – err, I mean archivist - and he was lamenting about how record hunting – I mean researching, researching - has become more competitive and that the prices for these records – Sorry, research materials - has gotten out of control. There are more and more people searching for these unheard sounds. Due to onslaught of re-issues and compilations, as well as websites like this one, folks have been turned on to something they never knew even existed before.
Hell, I’m guilty. Only about five years ago, I had barely an inkling of what was out there. I had picked up a few compilations here and there, and then the next thing I know I’m blowing my whole paycheck on eBay. One of the first compilations that clued me in – if not the first – was Grey Past’s Turkish Delights.
Turkey seems to be the gateway drug - I mean country - for record collectors. For many, it seems to be where the record collecting bug emanates from – and for good reason, too. Turkey is quite unique due to the fact that, besides being crossroads between Europe and Asia, the population is 99.83% Muslim and yet they have a secular democracy. Add in a thriving music scene in the 60s and 70s that was fueled by annual Battle of the Bands - which were promoted and funded by the local newspaper. Thanks to all of these factors, there is a seemingly endless supply of amazing records from Turkey.
As for İskender Doğan, I see that he has a Facebook page…
Catalog number A. K. 44 on 1 Numara Records of Turkey. No release date listed.
Filed under: Turkey
The same cultural shifts in Turkey that brought about Anatolian Rock, also gave birth to a film industry that was… Well, let’s just say produced some rather racy films for a country that is 99% Muslim. Known as seks filmler. these films – which ranged from soft- to mid-hardcore pornographic – were produced from the late1960s until the end of the 1980s. But if it were not for the country’s policy of secularism, or laïcité, these films would have most likely never have been made.
Apparently, it was a common view of film producers of the time that films were shot not as parts of a single work but as source material for production of multiple films. Erotic scenes, especially, were often cut and pasted to assemble new films from various parts of existing ones. This peculiar practice was called “parça” (“fragment”), and the term was extended into the movie theaters themselves to include the practice by the projectionists of inserting hardcore material, which was European most of the time, into Turkish erotic films.
Whereas Figin Han may not have been the most famous seks filmler actress, she supposedly was the most infamous, and retains a cult following to this day. Other actresses of the time include Feri Cansel, Zerrin Doğan, Zerrin Egeliler and Arzu Okay. This single was her only foray in to music, perhaps in attempt to make her seem more like Bridget Bardot.
Catalog number SP / 73 on Saner records of Turkey. No release date listed.
Filed under: Turkey
Mavi Çocuklar, or Blue Boys, were the winners of 1967’s Altin Mikrofon contest. The contest, which translates as Golden Microphone, was held by Hürriyet – the largest newspaper in Istanbul. The contest was held from 1965 to 1968, and the records that were released as a result of the competition is one of the reasons why the Turkish Rock / Beat scene flourished and has also been so well documented.
The winning song for Mavi Çocuklar was Develi Daylar. The title was in reference to the phrase “cek deveci develeri”, which translates as “cameldriver get the camels out of here”. So the story goes, the band built a large wooden camel to put on stage for their performance in the contest. But they had to take a taxi to where the concert was to be held, which was in the suburb of Bakırköy. So they strapped the camel to the top of their cab and off they went.
The band was more known as a dance band, playing “Samba-swing-oriental” music at the Istanbul Hilton. Their first single was released in 1965, and after their win of the Altin Mikrofon contest in 1967, the band “quietly disappeared”. During their brief existence, they had two singers – Okan Dincer and Marthen Yorgantz. Of the other members, the drummer went by the name “Tirtil” – which means new born butterfly – and the piano / organ player went by “Garbo”… Beyond that, not much is know about the band.
Catalog number H-020 on Altin Mikrofon of Turkey, released 1967.
Filed under: Turkey
This week’s guest post is by Jonathan Ward. Much like myself, Jonathan is afflicted with a rare strain of obsessive-compulsive disorder known as “record collector-itis”. But his case is much more severe, being that he collects 78s. He has put this adversity to good use with the truly amazing Excavated Shellac. The writing on his site is consistently entertaining and well researched – and puts my barely coherent ramblings to shame. Be sure to check out his Dublab session – it’s the next best thing to having him come over to your house with a stack of 78s.
I was very happy when Stuart at Radiodiffusion asked me if I’d like to provide a guest post. First, because his blog is a fascinating source of hard to find international music, and second, because it brings me out of my little world of 78rpm records featured in my own Excavated Shellac. I thought I’d throw out an important Turkish single from the era of “Anadolu Pop” (Anatolian Pop) – the influential and groundbreaking style of Turkish rock which combined both psychedelic and progressive rock influences with traditional folkloric elements.
This genre of music has been discovered and exploited by various stateside and overseas reissue companies over the past five years or so – with good reason. It’s fantastic! I suppose the US-based craze started with three compilations, Hava Narghile (Dionysus), Turkish Delights (Grey Past), and a Turkish volume of the ongoing Love, Peace & Poetry series (Shadoks). Since then, Finders Keepers has released volumes by Mustafaz Özkent, Selda, and Ersen, Shadoks has released CDs of Bunalim and Edip Akbayram, World Psychedelic has reissued important LPs by 3 Hür-el, Bülent, Erkin Koray, and Moğollar.
But this doesn’t necessarily mean the genre is tapped out. Turkey was a singles-based music industry until the mid-70s or so, and there are lots of artists that haven’t yet gone through the hipster reissue machine (Bariş Manço, for instance, hasn’t gotten his US compilation yet – though Madlib’s brother Oh No has been sampling him for quite a while). One of these is the short-lived Ağri Daği Efsanesi.
Ağri Daği Efsanesi was an early-70s collaboration lasting just two singles, between Nejat Teksoy, a member of the garage-y rock band Mavi Işiklar, and the legendary Murat Ses, keyboardist and original member of the renowned band Moğollar (“The Mongols”), widely considered the founding fathers of Anadolu Pop (and inventors of the term itself). To understand the origins of Anadolu Pop, the first two groundbreaking LPs by Moğollar would be the place to start – and Murat Ses arranged the bulk of those songs. Moğollar ‘s first LP, released by Guilde Internationale du Disque in France and titled Les Danses et Rythmes de la Turquie d’hier á aujourd’hui under the French version of their name, “Les Mogol,” was released in Turkey under the name Anadolu Pop, in fact. On it, psychedelic rock mixed with saz and davul, keyboards and organ mixed with Anatolian fiddle playing – this was an album that helped spawn a whole movement.
Murat Ses stayed with Moğollar until about 1972. Sometime around this time he formed Ağri Daği Efsanesi, named after a track on the first Moğollar LP and meaning “The Legend of Mount Ararat,” while also contributing to singles by Bariş Manço (Lambaya Püf De) and Edip Akbayram (Kaşlarin Karasina) throughout the 70s. He eventually left Turkey in the late 1970s and moved to Linz, Austria, where he received both a Masters and a Doctorate in Economics. He continues to release music today.
Catalog number DT 5089 on Diskotur of Turkey, released 1972.
Filed under: Turkey
The music of Turkey includes diverse elements ranging from Central Asian folk music and music from Ottoman Empire dominions such as Persian music, Balkan music and ancient Byzantine music, as well as more modern European and American popular music influences.
The roots of traditional music in Turkey spans across centuries to a time when the Seljuk Turks colonized Anatolia and Persia in the 11th century and contains elements of both Turkic and pre-Turkic influences. Much of its modern popular music can trace its roots to the emergence in the early 1930s drive for Westernization.
With the absorbance of immigrants from various regions the diversity of musical genres and musical instrumentation also expanded. Turkey has also seen documented folk music and recorded popular music produced in the ethnic styles of Armenian, Greek, Polish, Azeri and Jewish communities, among others.
Born in Adana in 1936, Erol Büyükburç began his career as what can be called “highschool pop”. Erol mixed more classic Anatolian pop with Western music, with influences ranging from Elvis to The Ventures, and was known for performing commercial ballroom shows. Although his career started before the Altin Mikrofon bands of the late Sixties, and even before Erkin Koray’s first single, Erol is considered kitschy by most collectors of Turkish music and is generally overlooked. Erol passed away in 2003.
The only information that I have been able to find, other than a Turkish Wikipedia entry, is a biography that is in Turkish. There is also a complete discography listing that you can find here. Erol’s song “Hop Dedik” was included on Normal / QDK Media’s “Love, Peace & Poetry – Turkish Psychedelic Music”.
Filed under: Turkey
Turkey has had a long tradition of musical influence. Since Turkey is Europe’s crossroads into Asia, the whole phenomenon of East-meets-West hybridization (in this case, traditional Anatolian folk and ’60s pop) makes for some amazing music that couldn’t come from anywhere else. In just the last few years, there has been a handful of great compilations and a number of albums that have been re-issued.
Gökçen started out in the early 60’s playing in the band Kara Kediler, and then with Somer Soyata Orkestrası. He was considered to be “the greatest show musician” and had a minor hit with The Shadows inspired song “Moda”. However, due to his frustration with young band members constantly leaving and returning, resulting in a very inconsistent band, he decided “to make music without human players”.
So, he became one of the first experimental electronic pop musicians and by the late 60’s he was performing live concerts in Istanbul. Gökçen apparently had access to the latest equipment from the Maestro catalog, including the Echoplex and Rhythm’n’Sound (both effects are featured promently on this song). He eventually went on to set up the first electronic music studio in Turkey, and worked with Baris Manço.
Later in the 70’s, Gökçen produced many unreleased recordings such as “Cehennem” (“Hell”), “Lost Island”, “Doann Otesi” (“Beyond Nature”), and “Angio” which describes a surgerical operation he had in 1979. Nowadays he makes Rock’n’Roll music with his old partners and works as an architect. He also has music performed, composed and arranged on the EMS synthesizer.
The A side of this single, “Pencerenin Paerdesini”, was on the “Hava Narghile: Middle Eastern Raga Rock Ala Turquie ’66-’75” compilation released by Bacchus Archives. I recently saw a copy of his other single from 1973: “Sihirbaz” b/w “Evren” on 1 Numara. Although the titles were different, the songs were the same (Pressing plan error?). He also recorded two other singles, one in 1963 and one in 1966.
Catalog number A.K. 07 on 1 Numara Records of Turkey, released in 1973.
Filed under: Turkey
Turkey has had a long tradition of musical influence. Since Turkey is Europe’s crossroads into Asia, the whole phenomenon of East-meets-West hybridization (in this case, traditional Anatolian folk and ’60s pop) makes for some amazing music that couldn’t come from anywhere else. In just the last few years, there has been a number of great compilations and a handful of albums that have been re-issued.
The three Hür El brothers formed their first band in 1966, called Istanbul 4, but then became 3 Hür El in 1970. Unlike every other band in Turkey, they never played cover songs or traditional Turkish compositions on stage or on record.
Feridun wrote the original composes and lyrics, and sang, also played a double-necked instrument : one neck for guitar, the other for Turkish saz (as seen in the picture). Haldun was also know to use a mix of Western Drums with Eastern percussion, adding to their unique sound.
They released their first single in 1970, and eventually went on to record their first self titled album in 1973. Their second LP “Hür El Arşivi“, 1976, is a collection of most of their singles. Both of these albums have recently been re-issued on compact disc. There is a complete discography listed here.
They staged a comeback in 1997, and recorded two CDs. “Efsane… Yeniden” in 1996 and “1953 Hür El” in 1999. Though they used to be one of the most busy tour bands during early 70’s, now they refuse to play live.
There is the first few moments of a video for this song, that is posted on YouTube. The A side to this single, “Ömür Biter Yol Bitmez”, was included on the Prog is Not a Four Letter Word compilation on Delay 68 records. Also, someone has created a fan page on MySpace.
Catalog number DT 5108 on Diskotür of Turkey, released 1974.
Filed under: Turkey
Turkey has a long tradition of musical talent to begin with, and being Europe’s crossroads into Asia, the whole phenomenon of East-meets-West hybridization (in this case, traditional Anatolian folk and ’60s pop) makes for some amazing music that couldn’t come from anyplace else. In the last few years there has been a few great compilations and a handful of albums that have been re-issued.
Here is a really good overview of the evolution of the music scene in Turkey, written by Gökhan Aya:
“Turkish rock’n’roll scene started as early as 1956 and blossomed by the arrival of The Shadows. It is very important to underline the influence of The Shadows because the missing essence which held the rock music from being popular in the first years was the problem of language. As Turkish did not have any roots in relation to English it was really very hard to understand what rock’n’roll was all about. The Shadows served very good as the nation was very used to listen to instrumental music. It also should be noted that 60’s marked very rapid changes in Turkey: year by year general level of culture was increasing, by 1961 the most democratic period of country started and by every year, as far music’s concerned, record sales were geometrically multiplying.
“The Shadows reigned heavily until The Beatles came along and that blew up everything! There was such a blasting of bands that one of the biggest national newspapers called Hürriyet decided to organise a big contest that would help the young amateur bands have their names heard throughout the country. But, what the contest organisers wanted was interesting: the musicians who wanted to attend the contest had to either compose songs in Turkish or arrange a traditional tune. Also they had to perform this in a western style with electric western instruments! The ones who ware finalists ware to perform live In many cities that the newspapers arranged a tour for them. If Altin Mikrofon had not been assembled, we wouldn’t likely to be talking about 60’s & 70’s Turkish rock scene.”
Between 1966 and 1968, they recorded five singles, two of which were for Altin Mikrofon (Golden Microphone) contests. This song is from their second single which was part of the 1967 contest, and their third single was in the 1968 contest.
Catalog number H-019 on Altin Mikrofon of Turkey, released 1967.