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Saturday, June 07, 2014

Note to Readers: Ice-cream Days [2]

The Lake in Abington Park, Northampton, UK

The weather is always unpredictable in England, but this year summer appears to be arriving in fits and starts more than usual. Spring refuses to leave with the arrival of June. Rain is woven intermittently with bright bursts of hot sunshine. And yet that stirring of summer is upon us in the northern hemisphere once more; I'm grateful for it.

We are creatures that open up in warmer climes. After a winter's sleep, streets wake in hives of activity. Great and small. Cats prowl, inelegantly chasing butterflies. Bees buzz. Flies fizz by. People don't rush to get in, they stop to chat with neighbours walking their dogs.

You can feel summer in the air. People are smiling more. You can smell it. The strong scent of cut grass and barbecues. You can hear it. Music playing loudly from cars and houses.

Like most of us, it makes me feel good when I sense other people are feeling good around me.

Love at First Sound

To continue that mood of feeling good - albeit in accompanying fits and starts - I am sharing six music videos showcasing Turkish pop music as it stands (or sings) in 2014 below.

Please take note: I'm not going to translate the lyrics for non-Turkish speaking readers, as I've chosen these videos for their musical and visual qualities.

It's better if you don't understand the lyrics at first sound; focus on the visuals and the story being told in each one, instead. But if you're still interested in finding out what they artists are singing about word for word, then I advise you to go googling. It won't be hard to find an English version of the lyrics of these songs somewhere about online.

I find that often - if we let go of our need to completely understand something - a feeling or mood can be encapsulated in an image or sound, transcending the words themselves. It can take on a whole new emotional meaning, or take on a different meaning than its original intention.

This is never more true than in film and music. Even poetry written in a language you don't understand can move you simply by the sounds of the words and the timbre of the voice as they are breathed off the page and into life.

That also works as an analogy for summer. For love, too.

And as these six song selections all tell their own tale of love, they also tell a tale of love as a group - similar to this year's summer - one with bright stops and starts, and a few stormy clouds along the way, as well.

The six begins with a tale of teen crush to one of young people finding love on a bus, to losing love and facing disillusionment leading to the best part of breaking up - which is the making up, of course.

Six Sounds for Summer 2014

kay, so this starter of a sweet innocent tale of a teen crush with an over protective mother in tow is a bit of a cheat, as it was released last year. Heart-warming and not so pushy on the product placement - given the Turkish arm of Unilever's sponsorship as an ad campaign for its Cornetto range - this song is by Yalın (real name Hüseyin Yalın). He is a Turkish pop singer and songwriter who featured on Tarkan Deluxe in 2006 as one of the "princes of pop".

The reason I have placed his 2013 outing here is because it introduces his second video well - and with 26 million views and counting, it became rather popular with Cornetto consumers outside of Turkey, too.

his is Yalin's 2014 attempt with a Cornetto summer commercial. It seems he keeps popping up like some cupid-cum-musician to help lovers find one another. The video is being run in conjuction with Cornetto's Turkish social media campaign urging people to share their true love stories with the #aşkınıpaylaş hashtag. The viewer count is at seven million at time of writing, and rising.

This time, love has grown up for the summer. It just needs to catch up with each other. If you can get past the irritating overdone product placement in this one (almost everyone seems to be constantly consuming a Cornetto ice-cream, which I suppose is to be expected as they coughed up the money), and the not-too-subtle way of getting the young lovers to use the deus ex machina of social networking to drive the plot (and their product) home, it's a light, catchy, summer fare to feast on.

The music video also showcases the beauty of Bodrum in Muğla. Don't be fooled by the fictional love tale, Muğla really is like this, and so are its people, which serves to remind me that every Turkish province is like a small country in itself, with a culture, cuisine and custom that widely differs from region to region. The only snag is an ice-cream in Bodrum would probably cost you double what it would normally cost anywhere else. Oh, the whims of being a tourist hotspot.

his is where the sun goes in for a bit. Newbie pop artist Oğuzhan Koç brings us back down to earth as he croons in his nasally distinctive style that one day every love will end. The video to his music track "Her Aşk Bir Gün Biter" is deceptively simple, but with effective, involving camera tracking. Koç plays a guy who leaves his girl, only to regret it. But be warned. On his return he finds a nasty surprise waiting for him...

here else do you retreat to after the love ends to mend your broken spirit, but to the recollections in the attic of your mind? Who cares if you ask how I am tomorrow, singer and bar musician Gökhan Türkmen moans as he relives his lover's desertion in the official video to "Çatı Katı", when you've poisoned my soul with sorrow?

This is another cheat, as it was a 2014 February release from the outspoken Türkmen, but it symbolises those rainy moments in love well, and still enjoys wide airplay to date.

Türkmen's popularity has been increasing since his first record was released in 2008. He has caught the attention of music critics and his fans with the cinematic quality of his music videos - although he does overact a little in this one, I feel. Get up off the floor and dust yourself off, man. Do justice to that beard. Tomorrow is another day.

he dark clouds pass. The welcome sunshine is in its gentle return. And what red-blooded man can refuse a beautiful siren that calls out to him as the only owner of her heart? Female pop singer İrem Derici is one of the new generation of pop singers who appeared on the Turkish version of reality television singing competition The Voice. Quickly outclassing that venture, she has garnered a great deal of interest and an army of fans in a short space of time.

With this song a sure-fire hit to become the wedding anthem of many a summer marriage (for years to come), it's not too difficult to figure out why.

inally, the heat is on. Summer has begun to sizzle, as boy and girl show what fun it is to make up.

And thanks to the pop powerhouse trifecta of senior musical arrangement and boy-girl vocals, from one-time Tarkan backing singer Murat Boz and the sultry songstress Gülşen Bayraktar (commonly known as Gülşen) put together by the musical prowess of Tarkan's long-term producer Ozan Çolakoğlu, again it's no mystery as to how this will end up being a "favourite" on the iTunes playlist of many a Turkish pop listener.

With her song-writing skills and talent for winning awards, you would be hard pushed to find a singer in her industry or generation that can currently rival Gülşen. Her popularity hit the stratosphere after she teamed up with Çolakoğlu, both professionally and personally (although Çolakoğlu denied this in some 2012 reports) who himself has become a household name with his own dance releases and his new production company, Ozinga Productions.

Let's ignore the gossip that she is also meant to be the reason for the professional split between Çolakoğlu and Tarkan, effectively censuring (for the time being) one of the greatest pop partnerships ever to have come out of the Turkish pop industry, and just focus on the video, with girl getting to grips with boy and vice versa.

Türkmen take note: this was that other day I was talking about.

Read more: Sounds of Istanbul | My Say | Love >>

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