The Sound of Protest – Turkish Social Protest songs

In May ‘18 it is exactly a half century ago that turbulent student revolts took place in Paris and spread throughout Europe. To mark the occasion, the city of Brussels has designated 2018 as ‘Year of the Contestation’ and asked all cultural players to offer an answer to the question: "What remains of the social, political and cultural revolution 50 years after May ‘68? Which forms of contestation are we familiar with today?"
AB responds and commits to protest music. The current social and political climate is unfortunately an ‘ideal’ source of inspiration. Noteworthy: "It’s remarkable that—in a year hijacked by Trump’s reckless, witless Twitter belches—artists didn’t dive to meet his level" – Pitchfork. And also: "Most of the year's socially conscious music has been far more personal than political" - Consequence Of Sound.
AB delves into the The Sound Of Protest anlets the voices of Turkish social protest songs, London’sgrime, the call for (musical) borderlessness, the Black Lives Matter movement and working class heroes fully resound.

The latest darling of the indie scene, for a while now: Turkish psychedelica. Labels like Finders Keepers ensure a revitalisation of the heritage through a constant stream of Turkish re-issues; folk hero Selda Bağcan is being rediscovered at a large scale; and contemporary acts like Gaye Su Akyol, Derya Yildirim, BaBa ZuLa and Altin Gün fully embrace this style. They all refer to the heyday of Turkish psychedelica in the ’60s and ’70s, when Anatolian rock/folk fused with Western rock ’n roll. Artists like Erkin Koray (often sampled by Gonjasufi), Ersen, Bariș Manço, Selda Bağcan or Cem Karaca, were the Turkish heroes of the time and, on top of that, were often also political activists. Time to open up the gates of the genre...

Enter SELDA BAĞCAN, whose songs often bear a socio-political message, making her hugely popular with left-wing activists during the politically polarized years of the ’70s. She was persecuted by the military regime after the Turkish coup of 1980 and ended up in prison three times (!) in the years that followed. Even her paspoort was confiscated. So, she couldn’t perform outside the country until ’87. In ’93 she released the single ‘Uğurlar Olsun’ (‘Farewell’), a lament for the murdered research journalist Uğur Mumcu. The song was symbol for the political turbulence of the ’90s. Selda also supported the Gezi Park protesters in ’13.

 

Enter BABA ZULA who laid the foundation for the so-called Istanbul psychedelica. Their unique psychedelic sound combines traditional Turkish instruments, electronica, reggae and dub whereby the electric saz – a Turkish stringed-instrument – plays a main role. They often consider their music to be a (political) statement. A song like ‘Efkarli Yaprak’ (‘Worried Leaf’) is about the uncle of frontman Osman Murat Ertel who was a journalist and fought the system with his pen. The result: he ended up in jail and was tortured. Noteworthy: Selda once wrote the politically tinted track ‘Yaz Gazeteci Yaz’ or: ’Schrijf, journalist, schrijf’. Both songs sound more relevent than ever.


 

TURKISH PSYCHEDELICA NIGHT FEAT. BABA ZULA + ALTIN GÜN - WED 04.04.18 – AB Club – BUY TICKETS

TURKISH PSYCHEDELICA NIGHT FEAT.: SELDA BAĞCAN & BOOM PAM + DERYA YILDIRIM & GRUP ŞIMŞEK + GAYE SU AKYOL – DO  24.05.18 – AB Complex – BUY TICKETS

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