Friday, December 21, 2007

They're all over the city, the signs warning foreign tourists about the dangers of searching for vinyl in Istanbul... exhaustion, dehydration, and even death may ensue. I was one of the lucky ones, narrowly escaping with a sackful of turkish delights after days of frustration, dizzy from countless attempts to perform a spinning record mime in front of perplexed Istanbullus. I finally buckled down and learned the turkish word for record ("plak"), and after several hours wandering through a maze of kitten-filled streets following hand-drawn maps sketched on the backs of ferry tickets, I found what they were leading me to...

Weary and worn, I had half a mind to buy the damn thing, chain it to my ankle and dive into the Bosphorus. But my luck would finally change at the boza bar later that evening when I met a shaky alcoholic named Davut who claimed to have been a substitute drummer for Grup Bunalim in the late sixties. Taking a big swig of boza he loudly cursed Andy Votel for plundering Istanbul's vinyl treasure trove in an effort to corner the reissue market, but then, drawing his chair closer, he whispered that there were still a few surviving shops hidden in the tiny passages of Taksim and Kadakoy. And even better, he would take me there. The evening's final call to prayer was blasting from the speakers of a nearby minaret as we arrived at the shop, only to find the owner with keys in hand. As soon as he learned I was interested in old Turkish music, however, his face lit up and he beckoned me to stay a while. It was only about 30 seconds into Tanju Okan's "Oyle Sarhos Olsum Ki" when I swooned in ecstasy, and I realized I would be leaving the store with a lot more records than I probably could afford. Here are some of my favorites...

TANJU OKAN - Oyle Sarhos Olsum Ki (Butun Sarkilarim, 1975)

MELIKE DERMIRAG - Hadi Canim Sen De (1975)

ALPAY - Gonullerde Bahar

EDIP AKBAYRAM & DOSTLAR - Ince Ince Bir Kar Yagar

Begins with a riff lifted straight from "Roundabout" by Yes.


NECO - Kiyamet Gunu (1977)

ZEKI MUREN - Hatira (1973)

Celebrated as the "Sun" of Turkish music and affectionately called "Pasha", Muren dressed effeminately and wore ornate rings and heavy make up. It was commonly believed that he was gay, and although he never confirmed nor denied this, he had a pioneering role in making Turkish society more accepting of homosexuality. He paved the way for many later, more openly gay or transsexual (see Nese Karabocek above) artists.

FIKRET KIZILOK - Yagmur Olsam, 1970

Joining the ranks of The Big Bopper and other dentists-turned-musicians, Fikret ditched his toothbrush after meeting Turkish sez master Asik Veysel during a trip to Anatolia. When his 1977 lp Not Defreimdem was banned for political reasons Fikret quit music and didn't return until the mid-eighties.

UMIT BESEN- Gunah (Dostlar Sagolsun, 1981)

With a lovely gatefold cover that now adorns my guest bathroom:

SELDA - Nem Kaldi

CICI KIZLAR - Deli Gonlum (Tak Dedi Canima, 1976)

SALIM DUNDAR - Canim Sevgilim
I couldn't pass up this cover even though it's a complete rip-off of Oscar the Grouch's 1971 masterpiece.

YESIM - Askin Omru Varmi (1976)

"But is it any good?" Yesim.


Didn't realize until I got home that this is a cover of 'Tell Me To My Face', my favorite Hollies song.

NESRIN SIPAHI - Yasa Fenerbahce, 1974

The 'Superbowl Shuffle' of Turkey, recorded by the popular chanteuse Nesrin Sipahi with the members of the second best (and also my favorite) Turkish football team.



ALI KOCATEPE - Hey Gidi Dunya Hey


ORHAN GENCEBAY - Sarhosun Biri

From the 1975 film "Gulsah"


Insanely hilarious comedy record


KUZENLER - Kolay Degil, 1978

RANA ALAGOZ - Sensiz Hayat

TIMUR SELCUK - Pireli Sarki

Click here to download the MP3s

...and click here to view my photos from Istanbul...



TomF said...

Kittens, moustaches, Turkey? Smells good!
Any chance of a re-up?

Lucie said...

Certainly, I'll re-up it today or tomorrow. Several other people have asked, sorry it's taken me so long to get around to it. Oh and to the person who's going to Istanbul soon - please mail me again, I accidentally deleted your message.

TomF said...

Calamity! (And scattered cushions everywhere). The file downloads as empty for me. Anyone else have same prob?

TomF said...

Oh and efkaristo for the re-up Lucie (I think that's Greek, but sentiments the same ;))

Lucie said...

Bizarre. Well that's the first time I've used divshare (and probably the last). I just uploaded it to yousendit, hopefully it will work now.

TomF said...

Oo yep, all good now. Umit Besen screensavers for all ;)

Anonymous said...

Great collection thx
More of that please ;)

Renzo said...

man, this article is bananas brother. is there a way to share those photos, we would love to link you up and do a blog about your trip!
one heart!
listen recovery

Renzo said...
this is our blog
one love

Anonymous said...

nese karaböcek is not transsexual! she is a women...

bülent ersoy is the famous transsexual singer...

Anonymous said...

yes Nese Karabocek is 100% female and she's been married and has had children. Where did you get the idea that she's a transexual. Like the other comment said you must be confusing her with Bulent Ersoy who doesn't look anything remotely like Nese Karabocek. Know your facts before you put up such nonsense.cheers

kosmikino said...

Ponytone hit Turkish vinyl ephemera jackpot it seems! Nearly single cover deserves its own wall space hanging in a gallery. I was particularly taken by Ali Kocatepe, the (seventies?) rasta-turk and his black power salute on the "Hey Gidi Dunya Hey" single.

I think I am going to shift to "deliriously happy" as soon as I check out the contents of that Ponytone zipfile (5 years old and still going strong, that's what I call a link).

Many thanks.