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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Thousands at Tarkan Harbiye Marathon

Posted by Steffan Matrak from Moscow, Russia

Turkish pop's adored king of the grooves and master of moves, Tarkan has finished his spectacular ten day run of seven dazzling shows at the open air arena in Istanbul's Harbiye.

With the news that Tarkan will be back at the Harbiye in September, to mark the end of the concert series, six Habertürk correspondents shared their thoughts on the open air shows and his career thus far. A collection of thoughts gathered together under the title that there is "no one else like Tarkan in Turkey", the general consensus between all six columnists is that Tarkan is a master at his craft.

Earning respect and admiration as much for his stance as well as his music, although the journalists say there is much to criticise, because Tarkan is unrivalled in his career he rises above his failings. His ability to continuously pull large crowds other artists cannot is an achievement that silences his critics.

Reports from the celeb press write that, in the final tally, a total of 45,000 people came during the seven concert sextravaganza under the successful sponsorship of Turkish streaming site fizy, with ticket sales for all dates exhausted mid-run.

Published figures show that 1.2 million people watched the live stream provided by fizy, az the sold out series of concerts saw the venue fill to the brim for seven nights with fans and celebrities alike congregating to dance their worries away to the diminutive demi-god's latest and past hits.

Elsewhere, a columnist for Vatan writes that everything is going great for Tarkan, and that whatever he does is a success. The columnist says that Tarkan wants more, but so much love is enough. He takes so much there is no more left to give.

His music marathons, fuelled by the supersonic stud's relentless energy, light up the stage for each show to witness the loyal love between singer and audience, in a climactic spray of glittering star confetti and heated chants.

Arena-length banners confessing decades-long passion greet the singer, alongside placards expressing love and affection using the latest lyrics - as they do every year from the crowd - and it doesn't fail to move the sensitive star.

So much so, on his Instagram account Tarkan posted a thank you message to his fans after the final show. In it he shared his favourite highlights taken from the lens of Yiğit Eken, while expressing his love and gratitude to concert-goers for the "applause, chants and for singing along so enthusiastically" - sounds which were still "ringing in his ears".

As in previous years, the artist posted a thank you to his team, too, and is publishing a catalogue of photographs by Eken taken from each show on his Facebook page for visitors to enjoy. Looking through the stories, it's obvious the shows are not only crowd-pleasers but that the audience demographic is so diverse it could be a small snapshot of Turkey.

This was pointed out by correspondent Sercan Meriç in his concerts notes about Tarkan's fifth show.

In the article summary, Meriç opens by describing Tarkan as "the biggest star that Turkey has released into the pop music arena", who succeeds in attracting attention whether his output is well received or not, and points to the singer's colourful circle of fans as proof of the star's global reach.

His circle of fans around him is so colourful! In that circle is the religious, the modern, the conservative, the secular, the young, the elderly, the male, the female, the political left, the political right, everyone. As if a snapshot of Turkey..."

"Tarkan's Circle of Fans Like a Snapshot of Turkey"

Dated 9 July, the article begins by detailing the anticipation and excitement of the audience in the build up to the start of the show.

...It was the fifth day of the concert series yesterday. There's been so much buzz surrounding the shows that by the time of the fifth show people were running to Harbiye.

Those standing in long queues, immediately took their places on entering the arena to impatiently wait for Tarkan while they tested their smartphone cameras. As Tarkan emerged from beneath the stage in his usual way, the light from thousands of camera flashes made Harbiye shine. And there were screams and whistles loud enough to deafen the ears..."

The overall tone of Meriç's article is one of awe of the music artist's down-to-earth manner on stage and his electric effect on the crowd. As the show starts, he mentions Tarkan's past hits receiving more attention but that Tarkan was so energetic he was able to rouse the crowd into a frenzy. In that moment, the columnist notes, you could understand his megastar status.

...When he said "C'mon get dancing" everyone was up on their feet to join him... Lovingly responding to all this love... Tarkan asked his entire audience to embrace one another. It was important. Because in this country hugging, kissing, showing each other affection was considered "inappropriate". With one word from Tarkan that thought was left outside the arena."

In other reports about Tarkan's fifth night at his favourite venue, the focus was on the outpouring of love Tarkan publicly showed his wife, who was sitting in the front row for the evening, much to the delight of the Harbiye crowd. The news wires report that Tarkan was "overcome with love" as he went down on one knee and declared his love for his partner.

Meanwhile, other people at the fifth outing included music label DMC exec Samsun Demir who tweeted his highlights from the show a day later. The following night, singer and songwriter Ümit Sayın, who worked on Tarkan's second and tenth studio albums, was in the audience. Tarkan acknowledged Sayın from the stage, thanking him for the song on his 10th album before its performance.

Showing no signs of slowing down on the sixth night, and with just as much energy and excitment as the first concert, Tarkan and his starstruck, star-studded audience enjoyed a night to remember - feeding the faithful thousands with the food of love.

(Many thanks to our founder Ali Yildirim who took time out from his busy schedule to help in the translations used in this article for Sercan Meriç's column extracts.)

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