5 Stories of rebellion through music
Taksim Square Protests Bring Hope to Turkish Musicians. Matthew Collin, The Guardian
13.06.2013 | Day and night, the park reverberated to a cacophony of competing rhythms: sound systems pumping out Turkish traditional tunes for circles of jubilant dancers, troupes of wandering drummers, protest campers strumming acoustic guitars, hippies pounding on bongos, elderly women crooning mournful laments in chorus and folk groups singing insurrectionary anthems. The carnival atmosphere was muted by the early-morning crackdown, but demonstrators defied the authorities the following day by dancing a mass tango in gas masks.
There has been an outpouring of songs inspired by the protests, although the one that has resonated most deeply – Eyvallah, by the pop-rock band Duman, with lyrics about police brutality, batons and pepper spray and the defiant message “we are still free” – was written beforehand.
Turkey: Flowers of Gezi Park. Nisan Dağ, Mtv’s Rebel Music
23.04.2015 | Watch as the band Tahribad-ı İsyan wields hip-hop as a beacon of truth, journalist Gökhan Biçici reveals the country’s realities despite being beaten and arrested, and Juliana Gözen raises her voice on campus and in the streets fighting for women’s rights.
Ahmet Kaya: Witness to the Age. Reuben Silverman
16.05.2015 | As the story goes, Ruhi Su, the famous Turkish folk singer, was giving a concert at Bosphorus University in 1977 when he was approached by a young man inspired by his music and hoping to follow in his footsteps. Su was sixty-five and a well-established figure on the Turkish left; the young man was twenty that year and not a student—Ahmet Kaya did not even have a high school degree; when his family moved to Istanbul in 1972, he had dropped out and begun working odd jobs. In 1977, no one knew Ahmet Kaya. By the time he died in November 2000, he was one of the most famous—and controversial—musicians in Turkey.
Selda Bağcan. Babylon Stories
Grup Yorum: The Jailed Band Turkey Can’t Silence. Bryony Wright, The Guardian
04.04.2018 | “Every song has a meaning behind it,” says a Grup Yorum volunteer who helps organise protests and concerts. “They create songs that explain events in Turkey, such as massacres. They created songs for Soma, where 302 miners died. They created songs about the coup in 1980.”
They have also sung about capitalism, imperialism, anti-Americanism and the Turkish government’s policies, which they say penalise the poor. One track is about the clearing of poor neighbourhoods to make way for expensive skyscrapers. Provocatively, they also sometimes sing in Kurdish.