Category Archives: Turkey

New Videos unveiled for France, Ireland, Israel, Turkey, Ukraine…

As the National Final season winds to a close, often times the biggest news to come from the delegations between their selection and Eurovision itself is the release of their Promotional Video.  They might be a simple edit of live performance footage, or they might pull out all the stops and put together something that would make people wish that MTV hadn’t replaced music videos with “Jersey Shore”.  (Or maybe that’s just me…)

Over the past few days, a number of countries have presented their preview clips, and you can expect many more to follow in the coming weeks.  Let’s take a quick look around Europe, shall we? Read the rest of this entry

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“Love Me Back”, says Can Bonomo

Back in early January, after much speculation, it was decided that Izmir-born indie-rocker Can Bonomo would be representing Turkey in Baku this year.  We finally have some insight into what Bonomo will be bringing to the table (or, in this case, to the arena); he unveiled “Love Me Back”, an eastern-infused song that somehow blends pop, folk, sea shanties, and maybe just a hint of klezmer…

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Can Bonomo for Turkey

After months of speculation, and dozens of rumors regarding artists from all over the Turkish musical spectrum, we finally have some clarity from Turkish broadcaster TRT.  After throwing us a red-herring a few weeks ago and releasing a list of five candidate artists (Duman, Şebnem Ferah, Atiye, Murat Boz, and Hande Yener), it’s alternative-indie rocker Can Bonomo who gets the golden ticket to Baku.  (For those of you who understand Turkish, here’s a clip of the announcement on tonight’s news.)

Can, a 24-year old  member of Izmir’s Jewish community, is a relative newcomer on the scene, having released his first album, “Meczup”, in early 2011.  Since then, he’s been lauded with local praise, including winning the Altin Kelebek (Golden Butterfly) award for Best Newcomer.  Soon after the announcement, Can tweeted: “This is an exciting process, and I thank everyone for their support and well wishes.  I have my own style of music and will try to represent my country in the best possible way with an appropriate song.”

We should know more about Can’s song for Baku within the next month or so, but to tide us over until then, here are a few of his recent singles:

What do you think of Turkey’s choice?  Let me know in the comments!

(Special thanks to Dan from EscXtra.com for the help translating!)

New Videos from Ukraine, Turkey, Moldova and Macedonia

As is customary after the Semifinal Draws, many ESC nations are rolling out their entries’ videos.  Over the past few days, we’ve seen the official debuts of the Ukranian, Turkish, Moldovan, and Macedonian videos…let’s check them out!

The Ukrainians, as per usual, have revamped their entry and officially submitted their song “Angel”.  Who knows if it will continue to evolve by the time it hits the stage in Germany?  I’m half expecting an unfortunate flat tire to hit Mika’s car on the way to the venue, with Zlata Ognevich or Jamala just serendipitously hanging out in the arena…

Regardless, I do prefer this edit a bit to the original, as it has a somewhat stronger beat and isn’t quite as sleep-inducing as the ballad that we originally heard in Kiev.  That being said, it’s still not one of my absolute favorites; Mika’s English is often tough to parse.  I am, however, looking forward to the onstage presentation of “Angel”…with all of the circus themes in the video and the National Final performance, and considering Ukraine’s history of over-the-top staging (Svetlana Loboda, anybody?), things could definitely get interesting. 

Next up, the Turks have presented their video for Yüksek Sadakat’s “Live it Up”:

Not really sure what to say about this one…the song’s fun, with a bit of an 80’s Hair Band throwback feel (despite the lead singer’s baldness) and a touch of an ethnic sound from the string section.  It’s Turkey, so chances are pretty good that it will qualify for the Finals, but there are other pretty good rock songs in this competition that might give Yüksek Sadakat a run for its money if more than one makes it to the show on the 14th.  Turkey has made the Top Ten every year since 2007, and has never failed to qualify for the Finals…it’s a lot for “Live it Up” to live up to!


Speaking of rock, Moldovan ethno-punk rockers Zdob si Zdub have unveiled the video for their second ESC entry, “So Lucky”:

I kind of miss the oversized gnome hats and the unicycle from their National Final performance, but with six members in the band already, they face a quandary: cut a member for the sake of presentation (like they did for “Boonika Bate Doba”), or have the whole band up on stage?  We’ll have to see what happens when they start their official rehearsals.  Anyway, I realize that I’m likely in the minority with this, but I happen to really like this song!  Roman Iagupov reminds me so much of Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and, despite my prep-school exterior, I’m a rocker at heart.  I’ve been known to crank the volume up on this whenever it comes on my iPod, and it’s become one of my go-to songs on the playlist I listen to whenever I go and work out.  I highly doubt we’ll be going to Chisinau in 2012, but at the very least, I’ll be dancing my arse off when they’re playing in the Esprit Arena this May, even if I’m the only one.

Moving on, we’ve got the new video from (FYR) Macedonia.

The clip from Vlatko Ilievski’s “Rusinka” has a pretty cool concept, but it’s a bit repetitive and even a little headache-inducing.  It sounds a lot better than the live version we all saw at Skopjefest, but Vlatko comes off as a bit of a creeper at times, and he might have been better off not miming the guitar playing at all.  Oh, well…can’t win them all, I suppose…

Yüksek Sadakat will "Live it Up" in Düsseldorf!

After two months of waiting, TRT has finally released their highly anticipated song for Eurovision: “Live it Up” by rock band Yüksek Sadakat (High Fidelity).  The name of the band was released back in late December, with mixed reactions coming from Eurovison fans everywhere.  Some people were thrilled to see the continuation of the strong tradition of Rock from the Turks, who had sent impressive entries in the genre back in 2004, 2008, and 2010.  Others were disappointed to see a lack of hip-shaking pop, and still others were confused about why TRT picked a band that was well-known, but not quite as monstrously high-profile as maNga.

After a half-hour question-and-answer session aired live on TRT’s music station and broadcast through Eurovison.tv’s live stream, we finally have some clarity on what the Turks are going to be serving up.

“Live it Up” is, as its title suggests, an upbeat song with a message: let loose and party!  In that way, it’s not too dissimilar to Athena’s “For Real” from a few years back.  Only instead of the ska vibe we got from Athena, Yüksek Sadakat’s going for more standard, straightforward rock.  The lyrics might be a bit simple, but the song is a lot of fun, and I definitely expect it to survive the semifinals (especially considering that brothers-in-arms Azerbaijan are in the same semi).  Does it make as much of an instant impact as “We Could Be the Same“?  I’m not sure.  But with time, I’m cautiously optimistic that “Live it Up”‘s popularity will grow, as it does for most Turkish entries.

This just in: Yüksek Sadakat for Turkey

Within the last few moments, Turkish network TRT has announced that rock band Yüksek Sadakat (literally, “High Fidelity”) will be representing the nation in Germany.  The group was formed in 1997, but really hit the big time in early 2006.  They’re known for blending pop-rock with traditional Turkish sounds.  This selection not only defies the rumors of either Atiye Deniz or Tarkan’s participation in the contest this year (then again, rumors surround Tarkan nearly every year), but it also goes against the recent trend for the Turks to alternate between rock and hip-shaking pop!

More information is coming…but from all indications, this is not a bad way to kick off the New Year!  (You know how I love it when the Turks rock the house!)

ESC Wish List: Şebnem Ferah

From Greenland, we take a trip to the other distant edge of the Eurovision sphere: Turkey.  As I mentioned in my full piece on Turkey in the ESC, I absolutely love it when they turn to rock for their entries.  Between maNga, Mor ve Ötesi, and Athena, these songs have not only proven to be major hits in their homeland, but they’ve had pretty strong impact on the Eurovision scoreboard.  However, most of these songs have been male-fronted (which, I suppose, is somewhat indicative of the rock scene as a whole…but that’s another issue…), while women in these Turkish songs have been relegated to belly-dancing eye candy or disco-pop divas (not that I’m knocking Sertab Erener, who has had an extensive and highly successful pop career, and gave the Turks their first ESC victory).

And so, I humbly introduce to you, my readers, the incomparable Şebnem Ferah.  She released her first solo album, “Kadın (Woman)” in 1996, and has been cranking out stellar rock songs since then.  Her style has ranged from soft, traditionally-Turkish-inspired pop to acoustic-guitar-driven alternative to searingly dark hard rock, and she has drawn comparisons to Amy Lee, among others.  While it’s tough to wrap one’s arms around such a varied and deep catalog, I’ll hook you all up with a few of my favorite Şebo tunes.

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ESC 2010 Reviews: Turkey

Playing last in the second semifinal will be Turkey, a country that’s geographically located in both Europe and Asia.  By population and area, it is the second-largest country participating in Eurovision (after Germany and Russia, respectively), and they’re currently trying to get into the European Union.  All of this, plus the recent influx of Turkish migration to other countries in Western Europe, makes for an interesting dynamic in the context of Eurovision.
As to be expected of a country with a population of over seventy million (approximately the populations of California, Texas, and New York combined), the musical scene in Turkey is pretty varied and diverse.  Their Eurovision entries have seen influences of traditional Middle Eastern sounds, pop, ska, and (this year) hip-hop-infused rock. 
Turkey entered Eurovision in 1975, but came in last place with “Seninle Bir Dakika (One Minute with You)“, a somewhat vanilla and maudlin ballad.  Five years later, they sent local superstar Ajda Pekkan to sing “Pet’r Oil“, a vaguely hidden metaphor about oil production.  And in 1987, my favorite “Nul Points” entry ever burned its way into our collective eye sockets: Seyyal Taner and Grup Lokomotif with “Şarkım Sevgi Üstüne (My Song is About Love)“…so much fringe, so little time…
Up until 1997, Turkish entries never cracked the Top Five, and only made it to the Top Ten once.  However, Şebnem Paker & Group Etnik broke down that door in Dublin with “Dinle (Listen)“, a beautiful, traditionally-inspired number that took them all the way to third place behind the UK and Ireland in one of the last years that countries were mandated to sing in their own official languages.  (Because of this rule, songs in English often had a bit of an advantage, as they were more universally understood, unlike a song in Turkish, which had less of a linguistic reach).
Six years later, Turkey took home its first (and, so far, only) Eurovision victory, with Sertab Erener’s “Everyway That I Can“, another ethnopop song, complete with belly dancing and a rap break.  Since then, Turkey’s been almost unstoppable, with four Top Ten finishes, three of which were Top 5.  On home soil for the first time in 2004, they sent ska-rockers Athena to carry the flag with “For Real“, a complete departure from the hip-shaking goodness they had won with. 
It was the first time that Turkey reached for Rock, but it definitely wasn’t the last.  My all-time favorite entry from Turkey was their 2008 offering, alt-rockers Mor ve Ötesi’s “Deli (Crazy)“.  Scoring a respectable 7th place (strong, considering it was sung entirely in Turkish), the song made enough of an impression on me that not only have I collected Mor ve Ötesi’s entire catalogue of work, but I’ve actually started to learn Turkish (slowly!). 
Turkey, like many countries in the eastern portion of the Eurovision world, tends to take the contest pretty seriously.  Since 2003, contestants have been hand-selected by broadcaster TRT to participate, and the network generally picks well-known and well-respected artists.  Speculation from local fans generates wildly in the weeks leading up to the official announcement from the Powers that Be, and this year was no different.  Some fans claimed that the offer would go to Tarkan, best known for his international smash “Şımarık“.  Others said that it would go to Şebnem Ferah, one of the reigning queens of Turkish Rock.  Finally, TRT announced that their representatives would be maNga, with their song “We Could Be The Same”.
maNga is actually pretty well-known on the European stage.  They recently took home the MTV Europe Music Award for “Best European Act”, an award decided by a public vote (they actually beat Dima Bilan, Eurovision winner for Russia in 2008).  They tour heavily, and work hard; lead singer Ferman Akgül recently collapsed on stage during their promotional tour (he’s fine, kids!).
No major Eurovision power is without its controversy, however.  Up until recently, Turkey was under the disadvantage of having no allies in the ESC, in terms of Bloc Voting.  However, with Azerbaijan in the contest, top scores have flown back and forth between the two countries regularly.  Furthermore, Turkish residents in countries like Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, and France have also been voting for their homelands, so while these nations are geographically far from Ankara and Istanbul, their support is generally pretty strong.  Because of this support, and the high quality of “We Could Be The Same”, I’m almost positive that they’ll sail through to the finals, and will possibly make it to the Top 5.  
But, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to listen to my new Mor ve Ötesi album, just released last week.  Yay! 😀