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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Email Extracts [3]

An email from Roger Turk, in Brighton, UK:

Hi there!

Great blog! I know Tarkan has been covered many times by Greek singers, Arabic singers, Southern-Northern European, Latin America...you name it I'm sure some country somewhere has covered at least one Tarkan song, especially his "Şımarık", "Şıkıdım", "Hüp", "Kuzu Kuzu" and "Dudu" songs.

But after your post about fake Tarkan songs, I was wondering do you know exactly how many non-Turkish songs Tarkan has covered?

Tarkan sang a few covers, in the strictest sense, in the early 90s on his début Turkish language album Yine Sensiz. Out of the eleven released tracks on the album, six are cover versions. Musically and vocally it is widely accepted by the music industry, and Tarkan himself, to be his weakest album. It was a home-affair project, made on the cheap.

However, much to everyone's surprise the album did successfully launch Tarkan's career, and one cover version, "(Asla) Vazgeçemem" (Can't Let Go (Ever)) is a favourite amongst many fans and is still sometimes sung by Tarkan at his concerts.

Tarkan did not choose the songs that were covered on this arguably amateurish album. Album producer Mehmet Söğütoğlu and Tarkan's then manager Alpay Aydın chose some foreign songs that were popular at that time in Turkey. Following this Tarkan and Aydın sat down and penned Turkish lyrics to the songs, while Ozan Çolakoğlu arranged them into the Turkish pop standards of that time.

Frankly, I don't know the source for all the original music tracks for the six songs, but they are probably from popular Spanish and Western songs from the early 90s. It was a reader that informed me the last track "Yine Sensiz" (which had always reminded me of the opening song in the soundtrack to the 1989 British TV detective series Poirot by Stan Sulzmann) is a cover of a song called "Reprise" written by Jimmy Somerville and Richard Coles, who formed the Communards in the mid-eighties.

Only one track is from an Arabic singer, and it has already been revealed that the "Didi" song was a take on an old Turkish song anyway.

You can tell which songs are cover versions, as on the album sleeve the makers of Tarkan's début album do not credit themselves with the music.

  • Kimdi? (Track 2) (Khaled - music from "Didi")
  • Sarıl Bana (Track 5) (Unknown)
  • Oldu Canım, Ara Beni (Track 6) (Smokie - music from "Don't Play Your Rock 'n' Roll to Me")
  • Vazgeçemem (Track 7) (Gypsy Kings - music from "No Volvere")
  • Yetti Artık (Track 10) (Unknown)
  • Yine Sensiz (Track 11) (The Communards - music from "Reprise")

Critics of his highly successful second album A-acayipsin have also suggested that three songs have distinct influences.

  • The backing guitar to "Hepsi Senin Mi" (Şıkıdım) is seen as a light Turkish take on George Michael's "Faith" song, though arguably the guitar riff in Michael's song is hardly original to that piece.
  • A few have also suggested that the first few musical bars of "Unutmamalı" is a take on David Bowie's song "I'm Deranged", though I'm not certain how that's possible when Tarkan's album was released before Bowie's 1995 album. Bowie's song was also used on the soundtrack to David Lynch's 1997 film "Lost Highway".
  • Some also say the concept of the sexually explicit song "Seviş Benimle" was inspired by Madonna (Justify My Love/Bedtime Story).

It's clear these are not cover versions by any means; lyrics and compositions are fully credited to their Turkish owners.

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An email from "DJ Max":

Hey,

I hope you can help me. We know a lot about Tarkan, but he has worked with someone called Murat Matthew Erdem. Could you give me some info about him please?

Murat Matthew Erdem with TarkanMatthew Murat Erdem has been working with Tarkan on his Turkish albums since the pop star's 1997 release Ölürürm Sana (pictured with Tarkan, see left).

Sound engineer Erdem was born in 1969 in America, but grew up in Ankara, Turkey. He started working with Tarkan and another well-known Turkish arranger and musician Ozan Çolakoğlu when he came to recording label Istanbul Plak.

He has also worked with other Turkish music artists and now freelances.

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An email from T, in Texas, USA:

Since reading your blog all about the wonderful Mr T, I have read all your blogs from poetry to the writing you do. I have been inspired. I have been making up funny stories for my kids for ever and I decided to write one down. I sent one away to a mother and toddler magazine just for fun and they now want to print it!! I have received a very small fee of $200 which I am sure I will spend on said magazine to send to all my family and friends. Any how my 17 year old son is a fantastic cartoonist and we are working on a book with my story and his pictures. We will print the book ourselves as we have a fandabbydozy computer and printer and give it to people we know and love. So thank you thank you thank you for getting me back into writing and giving me a reason to have special mum and son times and of course I know this all happened due to my great love and admiration of Tarkan.

Thanks lots, love T xx

Thank you for your mail. It blew me away. But what really moved me is that you would credit any of your own talent in some small way to Tarkan or even this blog, and take the time to send a thank you. Sometimes, I think that this is what makes Tarkan and most of his fans a cut above the rest.

Having fans like you out there that read this blog elevates its status more than anything I could ever write. Thank you. Keep on Tarkan and keep on writing!

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An email from "J.A.":

Hi Ali,

I wanted to tell you how much I love your poems.

I have to tell you this in all honesty....you are single-handedly restoring my faith in romance. It's so rare nowadays to find a man who knows how to, and does, cherish a woman. I have no idea who your inspiration, or "muse" might be, but she is one very blessed woman. She must have fainted after reading them, and promised you anything you want when she came to. I sincerely hope she is aware of the gem she's found.

That's all I wanted to say...except to plead with you to please keep the poems coming. I think I may have actually sighed after reading Private Oasis...my personal favorite.

Thank you again, Ali....and God bless.

God bless you too, J.A. and all my readers who are like you. Thank you very much.

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