Tag Archives: music

A BARD’S LIFE OF LOVE: KARACAOĞLAN


Karacaoğlan is a 17th-century Ottoman Turkish folk poet and ashik. His exact dates of birth and death are unknown but it is widely accepted that he was born around 1606 and died around 1680. He lived around the city of Mut near Mersin. His tomb, which was organized as a mausoleum in 1997, is at Karacaoğlan hill in the village of Karacaoğlan, Mut, Mersin. In this regard, he was the first known folk poet and ashik whose statue was built.

His poetry gave a vivid picture of nature and village life in Anatolian settlements. This kind of folk poetry, as distinct from the poetry of the Ottoman palace, was emphasized after the foundation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and became an important influence on modern lyric poetry, with Karacaoğlan being its foremost exponent.

Karacaoğlan was a captivating folk poet who took pleasure in capturing women’s hearts. He was handsome with dark features and soulful eyes. His love poems are among the most enchanting in the Turkish language. He sang these as he accompanied himself on a simple string instrument called the saz. Many of them were improvised when the poet was inspired by the delights of nature or the beauty of women.

The topics of his poetry reflect the nature in which he was embedded, along with the Turkish nomadic culture of the Toros mountains of which he was a part. The main themes of this poetry stemmed out of nature, love, longing for home, and death. As with other Turkish folk poetry of his time in Anatolia, his language was expressive, yet unadorned, direct, and simple. With a big heart, he fell in love with women and wrote poetry about them getting water from a fountain or making bread. His poetry were in the forms of koşmatürkümanivarsağıüçlemedestangüzelleme and koçaklama. More than five hundred of his poems have survived to this day.

This “bard of love” lived in the 17th century (no one really knows his years of birth and death). He was probably raised among nomadic tribes in Southern Turkey. But, during his long life (he lived to be seventy or possibly eighty), he roamed far and wide, singing his poems in innumerable places. He went to towns and villages in Anatolia and visited Egypt, Tripoli, and the Balkans. His life of love, of poetry, of music became legendary. Today, people in many parts of Turkey cherish Karacaoğlan’s simple, melodious, touching lyrics.

In his youth, Karacaoğlan was passing through a town. Strumming his saz, he came upon a rose garden. As he grew ecstatic from the vivid colors and the exquisite smell of the roses, suddenly his eyes fell on an indescribably beautiful girl sauntering among the flowerbeds. He stood there, bewitched. He was already feeling in his heart the flames of love – – and, unable to restrain himself, he broke into song. The lovely young woman took a few steps toward him and listened with heart and soul. When the song was over, she started to walk away without uttering a word. Alarmed that he might never lay eyes on her again, the poet implored: “You are the loveliest of all lovely women. Please stay a while. At least tell me your name?” She hesitated. Then, in a barely audible voice, she said, “Elif.”

Karacaoğlan was struck by the symbolic significance of “Elif”, a name common among the Turks for many centuries: It is derived from “aleph”, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet, with the numerical value of l. Elif stood there, the epitome of gracefulness, dainty as a leaf. For the young poet, this slender girl was the beginning of all things.

They exchanged a few polite words. She had heard of the minstrel. After a few sentences, she revealed that she was married and had children. Karacaoğlan was distressed: He had found and lost his beloved in the same instant. He also found out that she came from a well-to-do family and could read and write.

Desperately in love at first sight, the young minstrel began to serenade this exquisite woman. He chanted a poem that has enchanted the Turks for more than three centuries now. The poem celebrates her among the many splendors of nature – – and bemoans the pain inflicted by unrequited love:

With its tender flakes, snow flutters about,
Keeps falling, calling out “Elif… Elif…”
This frenzied heart of mine wanders about
Like minstrels, calling out “Elif… Elif…”

Elif’s robe is embroidered all over;
Her eyes – like a baby goshawk’s – glower.
She smells lovely like a highland flower,
With those scents calling out “Elif… Elif…”

When she frowns, her glance is a dart that goes
Into my heart: I fall into death’s throes.
In her white hand she holds a pen – she knows
What she writes, calling out “Elif… Elif…”

Right in front of her home a trellis stands;
There’s Elif, holding glasses in her hands.
It’s as if a duck whose head has green strands
Gently floats, calling out “Elif… Elif…”

I am the Minstrel: your slave for my part.
There’s no love for other belles in my heart.
Unbuttoning the shirt, I tear apart
The collars, calling out “Elif… Elif…”

Rumors were afoot among the people who heard these poems and songs that the handsome minstrel lavished on Elif. When her husband heard the rumors, he asked the feudal lord of the region to take action. Already in trouble because of his satirical poems criticizing the powers that be, Karacaoğlan was forced to leave town and his beloved Elif.

During his travels, he fell in love again – – this time with the daughter of another lord. He had just arrived in a town where he noticed a large gathering in front of a luxurious mansion. They told him the lord was holding a contest among poets. Karacaoğlan went in and sang a few of his love lyrics. Everyone was spellbound. He was declared the winner. The lord became his patron and often invited him to recite and sing.

Karacaoğlan found the lord’s daughter Suna adorable. But he was cautious and circumspect. One day, when he was strumming his saz in the garden, Suna came to him and said: “I just love your poems. Would you please compose a poem for me? Please…”

The minstrel broke into song immediately. For his Suna he started a poem that started with…

Loveliest of all, how lovelier you are now
Since no one else saw you, no one laid eyes on you:
That black lovelock of yours is curled up on your brow
Since there is no braid on it, just no braid on you.

and ended with…
Call, go on, keep calling out, Karacaoğlan:
The rock weighs heavy only in its own place.
The brave young man might cool off if his loved one
Gives him no embrace, gives him no loving embrace.

So, a passionate love affair started between Suna and the poet.
But, before long, her father heard about the affair and was so furious that he had Karacaoğlan thrown into jail.

After some time, Suna found a way of having him escape. About to leave, Karacaoğlan begged her to elope with him. But she was reluctant to abandon her family’s life of wealth and power for a wandering poet’s life of hardship. So, Karacaoğlan bade farewell and went on the road all by himself.

Wherever he went he was never without the company of beautiful women. They took a fancy to him…many of them chased him…they cherished his love lyrics.

Karacaoğlan always responded affectionately. When he ran into three wonderful beauties who did a special dance for him, he mused heartily and a bit naughtily:

If I were to love the elders the best,
Wouldn’t that be unfair to the youngest ?

The great Anatolian minstrel spent the rest of his life roaming villages and towns, hills and valleys. He had countless love affairs and composed tender lyrics as well as erotic poems for the women he loved.

Some of his poems express a chilling fear of death. It was as if the poet kept traveling far and wide to make it impossible for death to catch up with him:

Death, do not tire yourself out by stalking me;
Be gone for a while, Death, come some other time.
You won’t spare me, you shall have me in the end;
Be gone for a while, Death, come some other time.

I often roamed from this highland to that plain
Where I would eat, drink, be merry, entertain.
I kept fleeing from you, yet you came again.
Death, be gone for a while, come some other time.

Howling like the gray wolf has not been my fate.
This false world I can neither praise nor berate.
With friends and loved ones I failed to congregate.
Be gone for a while, Death, come some other time.

I am the Minstrel who is gripped by dismay
In the garden where nightingales sing and play.
Stop! You snatched my father and mother away –
Be gone for a while, come some other time, Death.

The people of Anatolia feel that Karacaoğlan escaped death, because his lovely poems and songs have achieved immortality.

His poetry in songs: Ala Gözlerini Sevdiğim Dilber ( A beauty whose hazel eyes I love)

A beauty whose hazel eyes I love
Don’t gossip about me with the world
Don’t stand before me showing your white neck
Don’t kill me before my fatal hour

I wandered around the mountains and stopped here
I found myself in the fire of your sorrows, my love
I found myself in hopeless griefs
That’s enough, don’t burn me

I was crying for days, for nights, never smiled
I was searching, but haven’t found the cure for my anguish
For so many years had no gratitude
Show me some kindness, don’t send me away

I wandered around the mountains and stopped here
I found myself in fire of your sorrows, my love
I found myself in hopeless griefs
That’s enough, don’t burn me

I wandered around the mountains and stopped here
I found myself in fire of your sorrows, my love
I found myself in hopeless griefs
That’s enough, don’t burn me

A beauty whose hazel eyes I love
Don’t gossip about me with the world
Don’t stand before me showing your white neck
Don’t kill me before my fatal hour

Don’t kill me before my fatal hour

Sources:

1.Prof. Talat S. Halman Chairman, Department of Turkish LiteratureBilkent University http://www.byegm.gov.tr/YAYINLARIMIZ/newspot/2001/sept-oct/n5.htm

2.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karacao%C4%9Flan

Come with me to the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond…


I get to experience new customs and new cultures which I feel makes me a better and wiser person. There’s a lot that we read and hear about when it comes to other parts of the world but actually visiting and experiencing another country in person is quite different.

It’s a big world out there. People live and behave differently. When you live in another country, you can open your eyes to the beliefs and values of other people and its influence on their everyday life. You will discover new social norms and lifestyles. It will not only change your perspective, but it will re-shape your personality as well.

The Middle East is of course a set of countries whose cultural traditions are different than the West.

I start with Özel Türkbaş (September 1, 1938 – July 22, 2012) who was a Turkish-born actress, model, singer and belly dancer, who helped popularize belly dancing in the US and recorded traditional music aimed at a western audience, including the successful 1969 album Bellydance with Özel Türkbaş: How to Make Your Husband a Sultan. Ozel’s Dance Routine (Mr Thing Re-Edit) is one of the tracks from Özel Turkbas’ album, called “How To Belly Dance For Your Sultan”

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  • Aris San (1940 – 1992) was a famous Greek singer who immigrated to Israel and was one of the first to use electric guitar in a Greek music setting.

“The status of popular Eastern music changed dramatically in the 1960s, with the eruption of the “Greek” wave of popular music in Israel. “Greek popularmusic” in this context should be understood as the sound of hybrid nightclub music styles from Athens and Thessaloniki, generally referred to as laika (DeBoer 1996). A dominant feature of this sound is the presence of the bouzouki. This type of Greek music became a favorite style for Israeli born Eastern Jews as well as for many non-Easterners.

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via GIPHY

  • GANIMIAN & HIS ORIENTAL MUSIC-COME WITH ME TO THE CASBAH

This of the earliest examples of any kind of recorded fusion between rhythm heavy pop music and traditional Turkish music. For Ganimian, this is a sadly unrecorded turk jerk combo The Nor-Ikes (New Dawn) combo – ran almost simultaneously alongside the rising Anadolou Pop scene in Turkey, resulting in his short lived powerhouse of Kif proto-rock under the changing names of Ganim’s Asia Minors, Ganimian & His Orientals and Ganimian & His Oriental Music Orchestra.

Combining a line-up of mostly unknown musicians from his local community (where he was worked as a butcher), Ganimian, in a short unison with ATCO records, was fortunate enough to accommodate jazz guitarist Al Schactman as part of his studio personnel (launching the career of this Nina Simone regular) as well as French born Armenian folk singer Onnik Dinkjian and reid player Steve Bogoshian (both from the band The House Of The Seven Uncles) as well as the esteemed Turkish raised Kanun player Ahmet Yatman.

As one of the very few early American recorded authentic Middle Eastern fusion record Come With Me To The Casbah has piqued a refined interest in a new generation of progressive world music collector resulting in a distinct drought in original Ganimian pressings on the collectors’ market earning Chicks name a rising placeholder on the want lists of DJs, vinyl hounds and ethno psychedelia collectors.

  • Devil’s Anvil

The Devil’s Anvil were a group of Arab-American musicians playing the New York folk and rock club circuit in the mid-’60s. They differed from virtually every other group experimenting with Eastern sounds because though they were rock musicians deeply rooted to the folk traditions of their heritages, and they played the Anatolian instruments associated with them. Hard Rock from the Middle East is the only album issued by the group. They had the unfortunate karma of having their album released at the height of the Arab-Israeli war and no one would touch the recording.

  • Light in Babylon

“Light in Babylon”, an original fusion of ethnicities and culture. An Iranian Israeli singer, a Turkish santoor player and a French guitarist have come together to collaborate with eclectic musicians from around the world to create and spread an open, peaceful and shining orientalism.

With the strength and openness of their youth and the various musical influences they have, they intuitively created a original colourful blend of their inner voices with flavours that would carry the imagination on a travel trough the Middle east and beyond.

Story sources: Wikipedia, Image credit: Flickr creative Commons

How to build an aesthetics of discomfort on a music video while trying to overcome gender by either openly playing with it or by disguising it


This strange videoclip comes from Sweden. It’a a good way for us who don’t live the country to understand the mixity in the swedish society.

Pass This On” is a single from the Swedish electronic duo The Knife, released in 2003. It is the third track on The Knife’s second studio album, Deep Cuts. In Knife’s work we can obviously see their signature aesthetics: the blurring of gender and sexuality in their music.

The music video for the song was directed by Johan Renck and features female impersonator Rickard Engfors in a room lip-synching to the song. Both members of The Knife, Karin (also known as Fever Ray)(2) and Olof Dreijer, are visible in the video: Olof is seen dancing next to Engfors and flirting with him, and Karin appears at the end of the video, sitting at a table and looking at Engfors and Olof.

the knife pass this on caption

The narrative depicts a glamorous blonde singer — in real life, one of Sweden’s most well known female impersonators named Rickard Engfors — performing in what looks like a shabby community centre, to an initially disinterested audience. By the end of the song, however, the slinky diva has mesmerised not only one particular young man (Olof Dreijer from The Knife), who dances around her as though hypnotised, but also well and truly ‘owned’ the rest of the crowd whom similarly succumb to her charms.

Continue reading How to build an aesthetics of discomfort on a music video while trying to overcome gender by either openly playing with it or by disguising it

Eurovision 2017: Our favorites. Will France obtain another good result same as last year?


France and the United Kingdom automatically qualifies for the Grand Final alongside the other Big Five countries – Italy, Spain, Germany .Host country Ukraine also qualifies.

And we start of course with Italy the absolute favorite of this year but as Francesco Gabbani from Italy is the favourite to win Eurovision 2017 with his rather unique track Occidentalis Karma, in which he dances alongside an ape. Surrealistic  but with a nice outcome! The track is already a viral smash in Italy where it went gold within a week, double platinum within the month . Occidentalis Karma achieved 50 million YouTube views making it the most viewed Eurovision song ever on the site, and it hasn’t even been performed at the contest yet.

PORTUGAL has chosen Salvador Sobral to represent them at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest  and now he’s made the final after the first semi-final last Tuesday.

Portugal have never won Eurovision before, but since their performance tonight, they’ve shot up to second favourites in the betting. They might just win the whole thing this weekend.

The 27-year-old singer competed on the third series of Idolos, Portugal’s version of Pop Idol in 2009.It seems that talent runs in Salavdor’s family as his sister, Luísa Sobral, also competed in the Portuguese contest coming third in the first season.

Salvador Sobral entered a national competition to become the artist that would represent Portugal in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest.

The show, Festival da Canção 2017, was organised by Portuguese broadcaster Rádio e Televisão de Portugal and involved two semi finals followed by a grand final on March 5.

Our third favorite isLucie Jones for the United  Kingdom. Lucie found fame on The X Factor before establishing herself as a musical theatre actress with roles in Les Miserables, We Will Rock You, Legally Blonde: The Musical, RENT and Ghost: The Musical. Her song is called Never Give Up On You and was co-written by Emmelie de Forest, who won Eurovision 2013 for Denmark.

“There is nothing else like Eurovision in the world!” she said. “A music competition that brings together people from all over the world is an incredible thing and to be part of such a wonderful event will be a true highlight of not just my career but my life.”

For UK’s online magazine the Guardian Lucie will probably not win because of British politics.

In part that’s because of the annoying irony that mere months after we voted for Brexit, the UK entry is called Never Give Up on You. The song is, if you think about it, Theresa May turned through 180 degrees: Lucie’s message to Europe is Brexit doesn’t mean Brexit. That won’t wash in Extremadura or Wrocław.

My guess is that Eurovision audiences in Kiev won’t buy this inversion. Instead, they’ll boo Britain for Brexiting and make the UK into this year’s Russia.

Historically, Russia existed in Eurovision to be booed – for human rights abuses, for seizing Crimea and for having a president who takes off his top for photoshoots.

La France est bien sûr aussi un favori cette année-là. French entry Alma studied a business degree and began writing music while at college abroad. She eventually moved to Paris, where she began work on a debut album, to be released this month.

Following the huge success of Amir, France’s representative in the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest (6th place), France 2 and France 4 have joined forces once again in 2017. The upcoming young talent Alma will fly the flag for France in Kyiv this Saturday with her song Requiem which was written and composed by Nazim Khaled.

Whilst she deals with universal themes including love and even death, Alma brings a very personal approach. The poetic and dreamlike Requiem tells of Alma’s quest for never-ending love and showcases her unique voice.

Bulgaria this year is represented by Kristian Kostov is a 17-year-old singer who was born in Moscow, Russia, to a Bulgarian father and Kazakh mother. He moved to his native Bulgaria to take part in the country’s version of X Factor, finishing second in the competition in 2016.

He’s released two hit singles to date in Bulgaria, including a collaboration with rappers Pavell & Venci Venc’ on the particularly popular Vdigam Level.

The video, which seems to have taken inspiration from Woodkid’s “Iron”, has a Game of Thrones vibe, which is fitting given the series’ focus on redemption and strife.

Bulgaria’s song main character is a youngster who is facing a world full of darkness that he is living in and is searching for an oasis of light for him and the people he is willing to fight for.  Country’s project this year is dedicated to all young people, urging them to define themselves and fight for the values they believe in according to Wiwibloggs.

For the rest of the top 10 this year we predict Armenia, Sweden, Hungary, Azerbaijan, Romania, Israel or Belgium. 

Armenia’s entry Fly With Me was composed by Lilith and Levon Navasardyan, who are known to Eurovision fans for Aram MP3’s Not Alone from the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest, Mika’s Love (Junior Eurovision 2015) and Iveta Mukuchyan’s LoveWave from last year.

According to AMPTV, both the music and lyrics were inspired by this year’s slogan for the Eurovision Song Contest; Celebrate Diversity. Featuring folk and traditional rhythms and elements not only from Armenia, but also from Europe, Africa and even Asia, Fly With Me showcases the beauty of diversity and proves that our stories and voices are the vivid colours of this world.

Sweden will participate in the Eurovision Song Contest 2017 with his soulful pop  song “I Can’t Go On” written by David Kreuger, Hamed “K-One” Pirouzpanah and Robin Stjernberg. The song will be performed by Robin Bengtsson.

Sweden has participated in Eurovision since 1958, and with six victories and six spots in the top five, it is one of the most successful countries to date.

Joci Pápai, a Hungarian Roma, has won the Hungarian national selection for the Eurovision Song Contest, A Dal 2017, with the song Origo and will thus represent Hungary in Kyiv this saturday after he passed last night’s semi-final.

The song tries to mix authentic gypsy music with contemporary pop, hipster styles. That’s something positive for a country which hates diversity and racist attack on its Roma minority are very often.

odds eurovision 2017
Odds eurovision 2017: caption @eurovisionword.com
eurovision odds 2017
Eurovision odds 2017 Caption @eurovisionword.com
  • Other Eurovision topics and links and sources:

Eurovision World

Wiwibloggs.com

Esctoday.com

INFE Network

OGAE Eurovision Fan clubs

Following its third straight elimination this evening, San Marino has suggested that it won’t be returning to the contest.

Eurovision : la France a une stratégie pour gagner avec Alma

Eurovision 2017 : une demande en mariage en direct ! &Qui est Alma, la chanteuse qui va représenter la France à l’Eurovision 2017 ?

Who is Cyprus’s Eurovision Song Contest 2017 entry? Hovig to perform Gravity in the FINAL

https://www.thesun.co.uk/topic/eurovision-2017/

http://metro.co.uk/tag/eurovision-song-contest/