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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Turkish Flavours At The Sziget

"Cultural Mosaics" by Timi, writing from Kisvárda, Hungary

This year's Sziget Festival in Budapest, Hungary, is sure to be colourful. Continuing the tendecy of past years, ingredients of the light music dish served are collected from all around the world. After some Italian and Mexican, traditional German, English and American flavours, first time in the history of the festival, the Turkish spice is also included.


The members of maNgaThe members of maNga, left to right:
Cem, Efe, Özgür, Ferman, Yağmur

To be honest, we Hungarians know relatively few things about the music of Turkey; our fellows going on a shopping tour to Istanbul, or to sunbathe on the sandy beaches of the Turkish Riviera, are lucky to catch arabesque samples radiating from the taxis and dolmuş buses, and might only meet popular music if they happen to switch on a Turkish TV channel (which they don't). In 1999 Tarkan conquered Europe with his passionate music, but still it is not Şıkıdım or Şımarık the Sziget-goers will have the chance to dance to.

Turkey is a strange, magnetic place, that seems to be stuck in between two worlds, East and West, creating a charming mixture not only in their culture but in their music, as well. Because of the stereotypes of Turks we have in mind, we are not really aware of the existence and popularity of modern Turkish music and genres other than pop. (Everyone knows the image of a Turkish carpet seller with a moustache, in white shirt and black trousers and an awful English accent; or the Turkish lady dressed like a belly dancer seductively dancing to darbuka music). Besides arabesque and the very popular pop music (represented by such artists like Tarkan, Sertab Erener or Sezen Aksu) rock music is gaining its place in the mainstream, and is becoming more and more popular with young people, and not only in Turkey. In 2004 Turkish punk band Athena secured a 4th place at the Eurovision Contest and one of their songs was included in the FIFA '06 soundtrack, as well.

maNga

One of Turkey's most popular new rock bands, maNga, got the opportunity to perform at Sziget festival, one of Europe's biggest festivals of the kind. The band was formed in 2001, the current line-up with Cem Bahtiyar as bass guitarist came together in 2002, right before they joined the Sing Your Song contest and finished second. Sony Music got to be interested in the band and two years later their first, self-titled album was published with 14 songs, 11 of which was written by the electric guitarist, Yağmur Sarıgül. They define themselves as a nu-metal band with a heavy influence of hip hop and electric music spiced with Anatolian tunes. Such famous artists contributed to the album (and have supported them ever since the song contest began) like Koray Candemir (Kargo), Göksel and VEGA. All the members of the band are university students, or graduated from university; Ferman Akgül (vocals) is currently working on his PhD in Architecture, Yağmur studies music, Özgür Can Öney (drums) is majoring in Astronomy and Space studies, Cem (bass guitar) studies banking while Efe Yılmaz (turntables) graduated in computer sciences. The sixth, invisible member of maNga is the animated character SPA, their mascot, who plays the main role in their videoclips. The album of the band has reached gold status in Turkey, their videos are aired by MTV and their song Bir Kadın Çizeceksin is featured on the soundtrack of FIFA '06.

Thus this year the Sziget-goers, besides Turkish cuisine, can also taste Turkish music. And those who would like to have some more, can do so at the official site of maNga.

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