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Listen: Global Ear Istanbul tracks

July 2013

The anti-government protests that have shaken Istanbul since the end of May have prompted a wide range of musicians to respond with new work, inspired and informed by the uprising in Taksim Square’s Gezi Park.

konstruKt
“Gezi II”
An angry burst of powerful free-jazz from the Istanbul-based quartet, ‘dedicated to the revolutionary spirit of the "Gezi Park" riots in Istanbul and all over Turkey.’

Brixtonsun
“Tek Bayrak, Tek Devlet, Tek Din, Tek Millet (Gezi Parkı)”
Dubstep by Istanbul artist Görkem Arslan, incorporating the chant ‘Tek Bayrak, Tek Devlet, Tek Din, Tek Millet – ‘One Nation, One State, One Religion, One Flag.’ The slogan echoes, and draws attention to, a controversial comment made by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2012, in which he added ‘religion’ to a traditionally secular statement of Turkish national identity.

Kardeş Türküler
“Tencere Tava Havasi (Sound Of Pots And Pans)”
Anti-government song with a buoyant, gamelan-like accompaniment, referring to the popular protest tactic of loudly banging pots and pans together, which could be heard throughout Istanbul and in cities across Turkey at the height of the uprising.

Sik Bakalim
“Gezi Parkı Şarkısı”
Jaunty ska-punk based on a taunting slogan aimed at the police: “Throw tear gas, throw it, okay, but put off your helmet, and leave your baton, if you can, and let's see who is the rude boy.”

At the same time, musicians and protestors have used their voices in and around Taksim, taking to the streets to make a more immediate contribution to the widespread groundswell of dissent.

Bosphorus Jazz Chorus
“Are you looter? / Boğaziçi Caz Korosu : Çapulcumusun Vay Vay”
A cappella harmonies, recorded in Taksim Square, with a strong satirical message: ‘Are you looter? Are you activist? … Pepper gas looks like honey… People standing at the barricade on Taksim Way.’

Boğaziçi Jazz Choir
“Çapulcular Oldu Mu, Meydanlara Doldu Mu?”
An a cappella performance electrifying the crowd of protesters in Gezi Park. Based on a well-known folk tune, the title of this arrangement translates roughly as ‘Were there marauders, do the streets fill up?’

Çarşı Gezipark
“Biber Gazı Oley”
Çarşı – a leftist group of supporters of the Beşiktaş football team – have been prominent, and vocal, members of the resistance movement in Istanbul. Here, their defiant street chant – roared from behind the safety of gas masks – simply means ‘tear gas, oley!’


With thanks to S Keskiner and Sumru Ağıryürüyen.