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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Nobel Laureate of Music

By Adelind Osmanlı reporting from Munich, Germany

While most Turkish magazine reporters are still firmly positioning themselves in the anti-Tarkan camp - and criticisms have turned into thinly-veiled personal attacks towards Tarkan's 2007 lyrics, style and New Year performance - news from the other end of the journalism spectrum paints a different story.

Tarkan Album Ignites Sales Explosion

Vatan reports on sales explosionWriting for Turkish paper Vatan, Nur Gülmez Bel reports that sales in the Turkish music industry had been slow until the release of Tarkan's 2007 album Metamorfoz, which seems to have already become the top album for 2008.

Writing that this development had made the singer - who had sold only 50,000 copies of his 2006 English language album and 280,000 of his Bounce single domestically* - very happy, the article also goes on to state that the singer's songs have generated the same amount of buzz on the Internet, too.

Having attended the January press conference for the opening of telecommunications giant TTNet's large reservoir of digitally formatted Turkish songs, Tarkan has become the artist most downloaded at the TTNetMüzik portal. Downloads of his songs make up one sixth of all downloads made so far.

Between the dates 30 December-6 January, since the opening of TTNetMüzik site, Tarkan's songs have been downloaded 49,000 times, with almost 300,000 downloads being accumulated overall in the same one week period.

It looks like the saviour of Turkish music is shaking and saving the industry once again.

Tarkan's Word Artistry

Tarkan has been presented with a congratulatory certificate for the lyrics of his 2007 album by the Turkish Language AssociationMeanwhile, even though some in the paparazzi press have tried to attack Tarkan's song writing abilities, Tarkan has been presented with a congratulatory certificate for the lyrics of his 2007 album by the Turkish Language Association (Türk Dil Kurumu).

As reported by media conglomerate NTV-MSNBC, TDK awarded the artist for using 44 Turkish idioms and sayings, and for his good usage of Turkish in the self-penned lyrics.

Seen as reintroducing today's youth to traditional sayings, and to the beauty of their own multi-layered language, they congratulated the artist on using the most beautiful examples of Turkish idioms in his 2007 album.

Established in 1932, TDK is the official regulatory body of the Turkish language. Based in Ankara, the association acts as the official authority on the language and contributes to linguistic research on Turkish and other Turkic languages, while charged with publishing the official dictionary of the language.

Tarkan Like Novelist Orhan Pamuk

And writing for Sabah, columnist Ecevit Kılıç has compared Tarkan to 2006 Nobel winning Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk.

"Just like Orhan Pamuk... He has those that love him, chase after him, and those that curse him, like a 3-faced hologram of a two-faced West..."

The journalist puts forward his theory that Tarkan is the Pamuk of the music industry, as he outlines the singer's long and arduous years in the music industry, with an unforgiving celebrity press.

"There was something else about Tarkan..." Kiliç expresses in his article. "And of course Sezen Aksu was one of the first to notice that "something else"... In 1994, with his Aksu supported album A-acayipsin he was to get his name heard across the whole country, if not to Europe, and hold such stadium concerts with huge sponsors, and hit album sales in a way unheard of at that time.... Exactly at the time Orhan Pamuk's book sales began to pass the 100,000 mark, million-seller albums had been made a thing of reality..."

Further into his article, he continues: "We are going to experience the same things again, his album will sell a lot, his concerts will be crammed full... I don't care what anyone says, in my opinion Tarkan's greatest quality is that he always goes his own way ... He's always managed to say, "This is me, this is what I am." ... Like Turkish literature's own Orhan Pamuk, he is Turkish pop's own super star."

Making Things Hell for Tarkan

Among reports that those watching Tarkan at the end of 2007 on state broadcaster TRT included Turkey's notable music artists (such as pop diva Sezen Aksu and classicist Emel Sayın) and former Turkish presidents and their families, one artist has come out in full defence of the pop star she had once worked with.

In her 7 January dated column for Turkish paper Hürriyet supplement Kelebek, pop singer Nil Karaibrahimgil has criticised the degree of "hatred" that seems to be directed towards the Turkish pop star.

Likening the latest trend of crucifying the pop icon in the lower level magazine papers to the flu virus that has kept her in bed over the start of the year, Karaibrahimgil complains:

"... we're gnawing away at Tarkan. We're chomping at a singer because of his clothes, his words, the name of his album, the bad luck that has followed him. It was okay when we were putting him up on a pedestal, but hooray now it's time to spit and bite. That's how we are. We're a country with a hellish tale ... Anyway things can only get better from now on. It's the law of physics. No, that's just wishful thinking. What follows is the scene where the crucifiers dance around the crucified."

Karaibrahimgil became a known name after starring in a series of commercials for GSM operator Turkcell's Hazır Kart, including three in which Tarkan made an appearance as part of the "Freedom Within Us" campaign.

Following this success, she released her first album in 2002, engineered by Tarkan's long time music arranger Ozan Çolakoğlu. Tarkan had also supported the work by providing a comment for the album cover.

* These are not official numbers, but taken from the newspaper report. It is not certain where the journalist has got his numbers from.

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