Thursday, February 2, 2012

Turkish Mix 2011

Here is another file I've intended to post for a while...

Last year, my wife and I visited Istanbul, so I had the opportunity to visit several record stores. This is a mix I made from some of the 60's & 70's Turkish records I picked up. Some of these songs have appeared in reissues while others may be lesser known.

I am really looking forward to visiting Istanbul again later this year and I hope to mix up a second volume, although I also picked up many Turkish 45's that didn't make this mix, so perhaps a second volume is in order before our next trip.

It is hard to find good tracks that haven't been reissued so much already, especially on vinyl in good condition. It is really hard to find clean records from this era in Turkey. Listening to this mix with headphones will probably expose some of the poorer quality records I managed to find.

I also want to thank my wife Sema for helping me navigate around Istanbul and find these stores as well as providing translation and additional information for this post.

1. Erkin Koray : Çiçek Dağı (Mountain of Flowers) - The first of two Koray tracks I used in this mix. This is one of his more popular earlier rock singles. The cheering at the beginning seems to be unique to the 45 version. I've heard this a few other places without it. Per Wikipedia, this song was originally performed at the Altin Mikrofon (Golden Microphone) contest in 1968, finishing in fourth place - T.P.A.O. Batman Orkestras - 'Meselidir Enginde Dalar' won the title that year.

2. Mavi Işıklar : Iyi Düşün Taşın (For Your Information) - Mavi Işıklar translates to 'Blue Lights'. This track is a cover version originally performed by the Lebanese group The Cedars. The drummer, Ayzer Danga, played with Moğollar from 1971 - 1974 who appear in other tracks here.

3. Fen Lisesi : Bad Times Come Again No More - This recording is from a Turkish high school band taking part in a music competition sponsored by the newspaper Milliyet in 1968. It was common for newspapers to sponsor these types of contests and then release the music on a 45. Fen Lisesi is the name of the high school the band represented for light Western music, which is how pop music of the day was categorized.

4. Erkin Koray : Cümbür Cemaat - This song recently appeared on a Erkin Koray singles & rarities collection released by Sublime Frequencies. Unlike many other Koray LP reissues in the last several years, this has the distinction of being an authorized/legitimate release.

5. Fikret Kızılok : Gün Ola, Devran Döne - First of two by Fikret Kızılok who originally wrote this song for a play which was never staged.

6. Ersen : Garip Gönlüm (My Lonely Heart) - One of two Ersen tracks in the mix. The excellent Finder's Keepers label released an LP/CD collection of Ersen material a few years back. This is the B-side track of a 1972 single which is housed in a sleeve similar looking to Elton John's - 'Madman Across the Water' LP. Moğollar was the backing band. Ersen's popularity in Turkey declined after the late 70's amid the political turmoil taking place. Singers like Cem Karaca & Selda were vocal about their support for the left and suffered arrest & exile for it while Ersen sided with the right, a decision that likely led to the decline in appreciation for his music.

7. Fikret Kızılok : Köroğlu Dağlari (Köroğlu Mountains) - The second track by Fikret Kızılok. After the Beatles introduced the sitar to western rock music, Fikret Kızılok brought the sitar to Turkey. This song is the first Turkish record to feature a sitar.

8. Edip Akbayram & Dostlar : Da
ğlar Dağladi Beni (The Mountains Wound Me) - This is the B-side of a 1974 single. Edip is another of the better known Anatolian rock singers, who often re-recorded Türkü songs with a contemporary Anatolian rock sound.

9. Bari
ş Manço : Işte Hendek Işte Deve (Here is the Camel, Here is the Ditch) - It was hard to put only one Manço track considering I picked up several of his singles on this trip. This is a 1971 single Manço recorded with Moğollar . Until his untimely death of a heart attack in 1999, Manço, was one of the most popular performers in Turkey. In addition to his music, Manço hosted a popular Saturday morning show titled 7'den 77'ye (From age 7 to 77).

10. Mo
ğollar : Moğol Halayi (Mongol Dance) - The creators of the Anadolu Rock/Anatolian Rock sound. I was really excited to locate this single by Moğollar/The Mongols. This track has also seemed to lack a reissue so far. Originally formed from members of Silüetler, Moğollar started off playing western-influenced rock music and soon incorporating Anatolian folk melodies & themes to form the now famous Anatolian Rock sound. In addition to their own releases, Moğollar recorded with a revolving cast of vocalists like Bariş Manço, Cem Karaca, Ersen and Selda.

11. Sel
çuk Alagöz : Malabadi Köprüsü (Malabadi Bridge) - One of the few records I wasn't familiar with before my Istanbul trip. The track has an obvious nod to US/UK rock of the time, and it is surprising this hasn't turned up on a reissue/comp yet. Looking at the cover, it was hard to tell what to expect. Much better than I imagined, and a song I regularly dj to this day.

12. Fatma Türkân : Tatli Dile Güler Yüze Doyulur mu - Originally a trained classic Turkish folk singer, Fatma Türkân appeared on around 80 singles.

13. Ersen & Dadaşlar : Bir Ayrılık Bir Yoksulluk, Bir Ölüm (Separation, Destitution, Death) - Another Ersen single. Dadaşlar was an off-shoot of the legendary Kardaşlar formed by saz/guitar/keyboardist Fehiman Ugerdemir and joined by Taner Öngür from Moğollar.

14. Cici Kizlar : Gencim, Ya
şamı Severim (I am Young and Loving Life) - A change of pace for this mix. This is another track that seems to have been missed amongst all the reissues. Light kitschy pop from a popular female vocal trio. This was a promotional tie-in for Vakko's 1975 fashion line.

15. T
ülay : İkimiz Bir Fidanız - A version of this song by Kâmuran Akkor has shown up in mixes and comps like Istanbul 70. Although both versions would fall under Arabesque pop, they both definitely have their own unique approach and instrumentation.

16. Esin Af
şar : Zühtü - Arabesque Euro-disco pop. This song was reissued on the Anatolia Rocks compilation and is one of the better known versions of this traditional Anatolian folk song. She was also popular as a stage performer and best known for her jazzy interpretations of Anatolian folk songs.

17. Sevil & Ayla : Bebek (Baby) - This track has not surprisingly popped up a few times in the last few years, most recently on Turkish Freakout Vol. 1. Not only was this produced by Bariş Manço, it was previously recorded by him as well. The string section does a good nod to Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love'.

18. Ajda Pekkan : Kaderimin Oyunu (A Trick of Fate) - This song also appears on Turkish Freakout Vol.1. Ajda Pekkan is one of the most famous pop singers in Turkey. Her recording career goes back to 1964 and is still active today. Through exercise and the miracle of plastic surgery, she has maintained the style (appearance & music) and physique of pop icons in their 20's throughout the last several decades like Olivia Newton-John, Madonna, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera. She is often referred to as 'Superstar' in Turkey.

19. Cem Karaca &
Kardaşlar : Kara Yilan (Black Snake) - Along with Bariş Manço and Erkin Koray, Cem Karaca was one of the most well-known and revered Turkish rock singers from the 60's & 70's. Starting like many other singers and groups playing rock covers, Karaca formed Apaşlar and began writing & recording original tracks. Two years later, Karaca and bass player Serhan Karabay left Apaşlar (The Rowdies) to form Kardaşlar (The Brothers). Eventually Karaca would move on and work with Moğollar, before forming yet another band named Dervişar (Dervishes). Karaca was an outspoken critic of the political violence that engulfed Turkey during this time.Exiled outside his country for most of the eighties due to the political climate and threat of arrest, Karaca eventually returned .


-- My good friend, and co-Champion Superior Sound System DJ, Braulio also visited Turkey last year and recently made his own Anatolian mix. I am hosting it to make it available to readers here. It is an excellent mix. While some of the artists are the same from my mix, all the tracks are different. Here is the tracklist to his mix:

Baris Manco - Bin Boganin Kizi
Ferdi Ozbegen - Kopruden Gecti Gelin
Cahit Oben - Halime
Ersen - Metelik
Edip Akbayram & Dostlar - Ayrilik
Erkin Koray - Mechul
Fikret Kizilok - Gozerinden Bellidir
John Berberian & The Rock East Ensemble - The Oud & The Fuzz
Hayvanlar Alemi - Bahar Patlatan