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Will You Play With Me?

In the early seventies popular Turkish music was categorised under two main streams, “arajman” and “Anatolian pop” which at its best was a hybrid of Turkish folk and psychedelic pop. Things changed when singer-songwriter Bülent Ortaçgil put out his debut album “Benimle Oynar Mısın?” / “Will You Play With Me?”. According to producer Ali Kocatepe, who is a singer and composer himself, Ortaçgil’s “Will You Play With Me?” was Turkey’s first and best ever “concept album. Influenced by counterparts like Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, Bülent Ortaçgil’s (pronounced Boolent Ortachgil) sounded a little bit too strange for Turkish ears at that time. His music was neither influenced by Turkish folk, nor did he sing clichée pop themes. Researcher Orhan Kahyaoğlu says that Ortaçgil sang about the loneliness, the fears and the dreams of the people living in the cities.

Especially after the military coup in 1980, there was no longer any demand for Ortaçgil’s songs and those of Fikret Kızılok, another city poet, neither in record shops nor in concert venues. The two musicians founded the “Seed Art House” a tiny venue, where groups like “Yeni Türkü” or “Ezginin Günlüğü”, who were later to become mainstream acts, performed. Today, the songs of Ortaçgil and Kızılok are sung by heart by even the youngest generation of music lovers in Turkey.


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