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Friday, August 11, 2006

Tarkan Press Reviews

Tarkan Takes Istanbul by Storm
By Ebru Drew reporting from Istanbul, Turkey courtesy of Vatan newspaper

Ebru DrewWriting for Vatan, and finding the opportunity to watch the Avea sponsored Tarkan concert at the Cemil Topuzlu Harbiye Open Air Theatre on the 7 and 8 August, female journalist Ebru Drew outlines her views on the artist.

Tarkan and the rest...

I first watched him ten years ago in a nightclub in Kuşadası. He was still a 'wet behind the ears' Tarkan, and wasn't captioned with such grand sounding terms as megastar, but he gave an unforgettable performance. Since then, this is the first concert - his Açıkhava (Open Air) one - I've been to.

During that period I don't remember buying any of his albums, or running to his concerts or being in that group of girls that screamed Tarkaaaan.

I watched him from afar but always with admiration. Exactly in the way he has made us care for him from afar. This boy has something unique. He carries almost all the qualities needed to be a star.

- His voice is very good. (He sang even the most difficult Turkish classical music pieces without once going out of tune.)

- He is as charismatic as he is good looking. (He has lost the extra weight)

- He creates his own look with his clothes, hair style, and accessories.

- He fills the stage very well.

- His looks, poise, speech, dance just reeks strongly of sex.

- He is not always seen in public, creating a "so near yet so far" feeling.

- He attracts both sexes.

He is not only the object of young girls' desires (like Keremcem, Gökhan Özen). Nor only the idol of the male population.

Aren't world stars like that too?.. For example, Madonna.

- He doesn't just sing songs, (as we see with Depeche Mode too for example) he creates a light and display show.

- His orchestra isn't well known but made up of very capable young people, he is the only one in the limelight. (Only Ozan Doğulu* isn't standing behind him.)

- His music brings people from all walks of life (religious, secular) together under one roof.

I was pondering these things while watching Tarkan and Sibel Can's duet and belly dance at his Açıkhava show. The concert began with "Kuzu Kuzu", and continued with "Kış Güneşi" and "Şıkıdım".

He also sang what to me is his most provocative song "Kır Zincirlerini".

He appeared first with leather trousers, white shirt and a short tie that could only suit him. Following that he wore an open chested black T-shirt. As he sung "Gül Döktüm Yollarına" he called Sibel Can on to the stage.

Saying, "Come girl, I've missed your booty, let's shake it awhile" ...

The 'Dear girl'** came up on stage with flip-flop slippers on her feet, and an intricately patterned dress. Without a kink in her elegant manner she shook her booty, and sang the refrain with Tarkan.

As he ended his songs, he was like a stunning picture on stage. The light, his music, his stance was something else. And his latest album Come Closer... made up of English songs.

I listened to them for the first time and I loved them. There's an 80s feel running through the songs. One song especially reminded me of George Michael's "Faith". One other was a mix of Modern Talking and A-HA. In the second part of the concert he sung Turkish art music in a dark suit. It was as though Müzeyyen Senar was on stage!..***

Pop, international songs, folk songs, classical music... How can one voice master them all?..

If only those that took every opportunity to bad mouth him, those that see themselves in the same star league as him and those that say he is "finished" (those jealous of him) could have watched the concert. Then they would understand you see.

Up until today this country has only nurtured one star, Tarkan and the rest... are history.

* Not to be confused with studio arranger Ozan Çolakoğlu who has worked with Tarkan on many albums. Keyboard musician Ozan Doğulu is the brother of Tarkan's good friend, pop singer Kenan Doğulu. Back
** Drew makes a pun on the usage of Sibel Can's surname when she says 'Can kız' - meaning the 'girl Can' or the 'Dear girl' - as an affectionate term. Can is pronounced Jan. Back
*** Müzeyyen Senar is a highly respected diva of Turkish classical music, and as such Drew is paying Tarkan a big compliment. He sang a duet with Senar in 1998. Tarkan began his musical training in Turkish art music. Back


Tarkan's Second Day at Harbiye
By Rahşan Gülşan reporting from Istanbul, Turkey courtesy of Sabah newspaper

Rahşan GülşanOne time Tarkan PR agent and reporting for Turkish newspaper Sabah, female columnist Rahşan Gülşan caught up with Tarkan on August 8, on day two of his Istanbul Open Air concerts.

Dedicating yesterday's entire column to her experiences at the concert, she also found time to snatch a few words with the pop star.

He's Untouchable!

Rahşan Gülşan, Bilge and TarkanTarkan hasn't released a Turkish album for ages, his international album has been heavily criticised. But his live performance at the Açıkhava Tiyatro (Open Air Theatre) has shown everyone that he is untouchable for at least another ten years.

The night before, Harbiye Açıkhava Tiyatro was witness to another historic event. I know that was a very clichéd start. To be frank, as I was going to the Açıkhava Tiyatro I was expecting an off-form Tarkan with low morale, due to the recent spate of news. Tarkan for me is one of those artists I hold apart from the others... In my early twenties during the A-acayipsin production I had worked as Tarkan's PR agent. On the album sleeve's thank you notes he even put something like, "Rahşan Gülşan: Due to her incessant chatting she is one of the reasons for this album's late release". They were curious days. It was like one of our friends had won the lottery and we were benefiting from the win.

Tense Expectations

Later on I took a different path. While Tarkan began to live a colourful but hard life that few experience. I didn't see Tarkan for a long time after that. Now and again, coming across each other somewhere we'd greet each other from a distance, no other contact than the cursory "how are you". And recently people have been writing much more critical reports and opinions. So due to this when I met Tarkan backstage at the Açıkhava, I was expecting him to be tense.

"You're Going to be Shocked" He Said

But exactly the opposite, he was serene and excited. As soon as he saw me he screamed "Rahşannn" and said: "Long time no see" meaning "It's been a long time since I've seen you, I've missed you honey... Let's meet up and talk about the old days" ... and hugged me tightly. (I may have played with the translation a little...)* We hugged each other tight for about 15 seconds. All I could say to that was "I'm good dear Tarkan, more to the point how are you?" Because I honestly wasn't expecting such a warm welcome. Pausing for a moment, and calmly replying to what lay beneath my question, he said: "I'm good, especially after last night I'm very good." To the question "What are you going to do tonight?" he replied "I going to stay on stage for 2.5 hours. It's been a long time since I stayed on stage for that amount of time. You're going to be shocked." Grabbing the chance I said, "Tarkan honey you promised me an interview 4 months ago, and I can't look any of my journalist buddies in the face, I'm forced to change directions whenever I see Fatih Altaylı** approach from a distance, I'm in trouble here". He laughed loudly, "Ok, let's go to one of my international concerts together," he said.

A Cute Hostess!

When the stage lights switched on I really froze to the spot. In my opinion this stage was one of the best sets ever created for a concert in Turkey. A gigantic video wall had been placed at the back and a different video had been prepared for each song. The videos to "Uzun İnce Bir Yoldayım" and "Yandım" were very beautiful. By the way, Bilge is a very sweet girl. Before the concert she came to all the VIP guests and asked them individually how they were. She was like a cute hostess. The huge alien tattoo on her arm didn't pass me by either.

A Super Little Chat

Backstage after the concert Tarkan and I chatted a little. Even though I can't bring myself to call it an interview we had a super little chat!

- Tarkan, you've grown, matured... I know, I feel more ready now...

- You look better than Justin Timberlake on stage... He has strong backing... I've just newly started but things are going well in Europe.

- Your international songs didnt seem so appealing to me on the album, but their live versions are much better. You're right I really like the live versions too...

I Pressed My Ear to Sibel

Rahşan Gülşan in the audienceAt the concert, it so happened that Ece Erken*** sat next to me, with Sibel Can in front. Can sang all the songs off by heart. When I was curious to hear Sibel Can's interpretation of a certain song I'd lean forward, bring my ear closer to Can. She sang "Kuzu Kuzu" and "Yandım" especially well. As "Gül Döktüm Yollarına" started up, just as we began bellydancing with her in front and me behind; Tarkan invited Sibel Can to the stage. Even though she had no makeup on, Sibel was completely loveable as she went up on stage regardless. They performed a great belly show with Tarkan. And a small duet... Sibel sings "Gül Döktüm Yollarına" so well!

A 100 Thousand Dollar Set

Tarkan on stage at Harbiye- A stage were red tones dominated, there were huge pillars and a new Tarkan logo**** that resembled a tughra. So I've heard, after the concerts Tarkan was thinking of erecting these columns in his garden! (He's probably joking)

- The set; designed by Can Besbelli specially for this concert. Cost 100 thousand dollars. And because it was designed specially it won't be used for any other concert.

- One of the concert's interesting points was that VIP tickets cost 100 dollars. Those that are willing to part with their money can watch Tarkan from very close up.

- The concerts saw such great demand that Tarkan is going to give two more concerts at the Açıkhava Tiyatro, on the 21 and 22 August!

His Perfomance is Outstanding

TarkanThe concert was like a montage of Tarkan's musical history in the last ten years. His stage performance was outstanding. He has really got the dancing thing pinned down. Without giving up the oriental feel, he has added Western moves to his choreography. It is certain he is getting some professional help in this respect. He sang his songs studio perfect. As an aside his latest album had felt too technical to me. But listening to the songs live (I don't know it could be due to the concert atmosphere) I liked them more. But this situation doesn't remove the necessity for him to release a Turkish album immediately.

* Tarkan greeted columnist Gülşan in English and she adds a comedic element in translating "Long time no see" for her Turkish readers by reading into the greeting what she wants to! She indicates this by what she confesses in the brackets. Back
** Fatih Altayı is the editor of the Sabah newspaper. Back
*** A self-confessed Tarkan fan, Ece Erken is a TV presenter pictured here in the audience at Tarkan's Miss Turkey 2006 perfomance. Back
**** The new tughra-like logo is the one that appears on Tarkan's Come Closer album. Back

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