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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

A Man Without Equal: Tarkan

Tarkan Harbiye
Tarkan at the Harbiye/Özgür Ülker(31 August 2013)

Three celebrity journalists from major Turkish daily Hürriyet have given space to Tarkan and his sell-out 2013 Harbiye shows in their columns. All three reach a consensus that the pop icon is without equal in the Turkish music industry as they mark his five date marathon at the historic amphitheatre in Istanbul.

All three reports - two from the frontlines of Tarkan's 31 August kick-off show - agree that Tarkan is peerless, matchless and unrivalled in his position as Turkey's last great music talent.

Tarkan signs petition to protect the Tigris river from being dammed up
Celeb journos enthuse over Tarkan
One of the female celeb journos from the Hürriyet who enthused over Tarkan in her column today is Ömür Gedik. Reporting from the front row last Saturday night, Gedik headlines her column with the musical megastar, "Tarkan and His Self-confidence", to wax lyrical over the singer's command of the stage.

The only slight criticism to come from any of the correspondents is from Gedik, however, to comment over his opening night's wardrobe as a little too colourless.

She belabours the point by touching upon a current news story in Istanbul, where a resident had spruced up a grey concrete public stairway by painting it in a rainbow of colours, only to have the local authorities repaint it grey again.

After triggering a public outcry, Istanbul's Beyoğlu municipality repainted the steps in rainbow colours a day after painting them over, with a vow to herald in a colourful era for the cultural capital.

Meanwhile, in regard to Tarkan's own unique colour on stage, Gedik had this to write:

It's the way a journalist's mind works, wanting to be one of the first to watch and write about it, you go to the first of them. And I was at Tarkan's 31 August first show, too. I can't speak for the other shows, but at his first show his wardrobe was too reserved and I was greeted by a colourless Tarkan. I don't know if it's because we've been trying so hard to paint grey stairways into the traditional colours of the rainbow, but the grey jacket Tarkan wore on stage seemed very plain to me.

There is nothing to say about Tarkan's voice and stage effects; in one word flawless. The importance placed upon production is obvious. Two giant video screens placed in the stage background clearly showed every detail of Tarkan's face, from the beads of sweat to the pores on his skin to the tiny pigments of blue [sic] in his eyes.

In my opinion Tarkan doesn't just sing well, he is a great performer as well. He used the handsome man in those giant screens to perfection to affect the crowd. Staring into the distance, wiping his sweat, closing his eyes, sighing. He could write a book on the mastery of flirting without needing to flirt one-to-one with the audience. This is where charisma stems from.

It is a demonstration of Tarkan's self-confidence that he can fill the stage at the Harbiye without any need for duets, or special shows. Tarkan is such a good singer, performer, dancer and student of human behaviour that he knows his audience inside out. He'll fill many more open air auditoriums on his own."

In male columnist Cengiz Semercioğlu's write-up, under the subheading "If Tarkan were for 10 nights..." he has yet to see Tarkan in action, but knows that having a good time will be a dead cert, because Tarkan is the one and only performer in Turkey to command such large crowds at the Harbiye. He says:

Grabbing the opportunity on 30 August I escaped on holiday, but even on my hols my phone kept ringing. The reason was Tarkan.

Can you find me tickets to the open air show?

Do you have any extra invites?

Shall we go together to the show?

No other artist's concerts create such a buzz. He was only going to give a show for 3 nights, but when the tickets sold out they added a 4th night. When that didn't satisfy demand they raised it to five. And still the tickets aren't enough. There is no other name, neither international nor Turkish, who could fill the open air theatre to the brim... if he were to perform for 10 nights in a row he would still fill up the seats.

This country loves Tarkan the most, the love for Tarkan is limitless. And I want to go to either tommorrow's show or his last concert and watch him, too.

But please don't call me, I don't have a lot of tickets."

The third correspondent with plaudits for the popular prince in her column today is Ayşe Arman, who had the opportunity to interview Tarkan twice in her career - in 2001, and in Dubai in 2006.

In the longest piece out of the three, with a subheading that reads "Tarkan is Unrivalled", Arman has never been one to hide her admiration of a singer she has followed since the start of his illustrious career. Giving her thoughts about the singer space in newspaper Hürriyet, she writes with a retrospective tone as she looks back to look forward, to what makes Tarkan tick in the hearts of so many of his fans.

Tarkan Harbiye
Tarkan at the Harbiye/Özgür Ülker(31 August 2013)

Arman focuses on the megastar's reputation for being super-close to his fans, and the effect he has on them by gauging the reactions of her young daughter on Saturday night as they experienced the Tarkan effect up close from the front.

In one sense, from reading between the lines of Arman's notes about the show, it is as if she is describing a touching coming of age story - and how the love for Tarkan is passed down from one generation to the next, from mother to daughter.

I went to Tarkan's concert with my daughter Alya. In a word it was "magnificent". If you have the chance, don't miss it, you must go and let yourself go.

On my way to the open air theatre I thought, "Wow! He has been in our lives for 21 years, and apart from that first year (Kıl Oldum Abi) [sic] Tarkan has been at the top, without rival...for 21 years, easier said then done!

When Tarkan entered our lives I wasn't even married, I fell in love, relocated to another country, fell pregnant, then got married, gave birth, my daughter with the tangled mass of hair grew up, grown too big for her boots, old enough to hang Tarkan posters on her bedroom walls... And now I am going to a Tarkan concert with her.

I think I earned the right to say "Wow"...

And Tarkan has always been number one... The love of women, men and children of every age.

Now to some quick notes from the show...

-Alya was unbelievably excited. "I am going to wear a Tarkan headband," she said. I said, "OK". Full of excitement, she went and sat down in her seat, and started to wait. And the curtains parted, Tarkan appeared on stage accompanied by a breathtaking light display. The stage was fantastically set throughout. Alya was glued to her seat. "Don't tell anyone but feel my heart," she said. I did, it was beating like a piston. As the songs went on, our girl started to get into the swing of things, she began to get to her feet with the rest, to jump and bounce up and down, to clap in time, to start screaming "Tarkaaaaaan I love yooooooooooou!"

-Tarkan's attraction, his stage energy, his dialogue with people, his performance, his songs are so much a part of "us" that even an eight year old child said, "Muuuum, he is such a sweetheart!"

-I smiled. At that moment, I and Aliye Simavi sitting on the front row were talking about how "appreciative" was one of the terms that suited Tarkan so well. Of course there's no way Alya would know this trait. Because he began the concert with Firuze and ended it with Firuze. He sent all his love skywards to Aysel Gürel. He explained how thankful he was to her. This is a fantastic thing, you see. We all got tears in our eyes. Sitting on the front row, [Gürel's daughter] Mehtap Ar came next to us for a while. And you could read the happiness in her eyes. Tarkan could have begun with any song he wanted, you see, but he chose Firuze.

-We have memorised all of Tarkan's songs like we have with Sezen [Aksu]. As we sing each of those together with him, we go back to the past. We're throwing out a wave to our entire past.

-And what a stage performance, what body moves, what beautiful, sweet, sexy facial expressions. Yes, he dances magnificently. But Tarkan's secret is not just in his sexiness, this time I realised that it is his "goodness" that passes to his audience.

-At the same time, he is an upstanding human in all things. You know how there are "godly stars" they are cold and untouchable, well Tarkan has gone one better, he is simultaneously close enough to touch, to really impact on us and our lives.

-And in some way he makes everything and everyone feel special, I don't know how he does it, as though he can touch everyone watching, catch them eye-to-eye. When he sent Alya a kiss, our girl just melted away.

-Whatever you do, you must go, find a way to watch Tarkan, to listen to him, to glow with him, to revisit your past with him, spend a heavenly 1-2 hours.

-Although Alya is now driving me nuts wanting a signed Tarkan poster. Isn't there a service like this for kids? We don't mind queueing up and waiting, but we need to attain one of these posters somehow.

-And I thank Feride Edige for inviting us to an evening that was out of this world."

Tarkan Facebook Updates

Tarkan on facebook
In other updates, Tarkan shared photographs from his sell-out open air musicial feast on his Facebook account today and yesterday, by adding two albums from his first two shows.

Taken from the lens of Özgür Ülker, the photographs display an energetic Tarkan set in a dazzling array of lights and colours. Ülker's photographs show a great command of space, as he manages to take views of the Harbiye hitherto unseen, to capture the singer as he lights up the stage.

The photographs also show that the singer changed his wardrobe from the previous more sombre look he adorned for his opening show. Followers of the singer's account can currently see photos for his 31 August and 1 September shows, but it's understood more will be added in due course.

Elsewhere, this time in the columns of the celebrity press, it's reported that Tarkan gave a message for world peace on his 1 September show, expressing his wish for there to be world peace not just for one day, but every day.

Thousands of people took to the streets in Istanbul on Sunday to celebrate World Peace Day by forming human chains in protest against military intervention in Syria. Taksim's Gezi Park was closed in response to planned protests, with police taking high security measures throughout the day.

World Peace Day is celebrated on 1 September only in Turkey. The officially recognised World Peace Day (or International Day of Peace) by the UN is celebrated on 21 September.

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