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Friday, June 19, 2009

Introduction On Being Tarkan

Foreword by Mark Mayhey and Ali Yildirim

On Being TarkanTarkan in RedTarkan at Doga Press ConferenceTarkan by Bulent Korkmaz, JFK Airport, NY, 2005Tarkan in concert in Rize in 2006

Some musical traditions between England and Turkey are direct opposites.

Traditionally in England, album releases tail off in June as the festival season gets under way, whereas the Mayfests in Istanbul are played out in the month their name suggests, after which the very biggest Turkish names prepare to release their summer blockbusters - invariably to take advantage of the booming tourist season.

It also means that summer releases for Turkish pop albums is traditionally a time to look out for hotly-tipped new kids on the block releasing their débuts, too, while last year's newbies unleash what they hope won't be that old music cliché, the 'difficult second album'. You can almost hear the hope in their voices, as they dream to come as close to the brink of crossover success as Tarkan, while flying the flag for anodyne Turkish pop.

However, between the stalwarts and promising young bucks one thing is the same - more of their albums will be hitting the virtual shelves with digital sales becoming more important than ever. It's something which is becoming painfully apparent to artists, as they've watched hard copy sales drop lower and lower in the last few years.

It's a tentative time for the music industry in both countries, while it plays catch-up with the latest technologies and looks for innovative ways to lure consumers back to legally purchasing music. And like the fight against piracy, music is all about the effort to win hearts and minds, two battles that Tarkan knows very well.

His story has been a 'rags to riches' tale, where he has fought for acceptance all his life - in Germany, in Turkey, with his father, with the music industry, with piracy, with the press, with his love-life, and even with his own celebrity status.

Yet, although history is about perspective, for the most part, Tarkan's music - and the man himself - has been about building bridges, reaching across the divides that separate us to show we are not really direct opposites after all.

Main | End of part one | Part two | Part three | More Mayhey articles

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