Müslüm Gürses (1953-2013) is a musical legend in Turkey. With his mélange of arabesk, pop and rock, he became a cult hero in his time – and he still is for a lot of young Turks.
One of his best known songs, and probably one of the most beautiful songs in Turkish, is Nilüfer. There are a trillion Nilüfer covers on YouTube, but for me this version from Tuğba Yurt is one of the best.
Tuğba, born in Belgium, is a true pop diva and has been one of the most successful female singers in Turkey in recent years. She had her big breakthrough in 2014 with Doğukan Manço’s cover of a Sezen Aksu song, Sakin Ol. The video is one of the most viewed on YouTube in Turkey.
Just like quite a few other Turkish pop singers, Tuğba has a past in classical music. She studied at the Uludağ conservatory and played the viola in several orchestras.
Tuğba Yurt regularly posts videos of intimate acoustic sessions on YouTube. I therefore highly recommend following her channel.
Singer and songwriter Nova Norda is one of the most eye-catching newcomers in the Turkish music world. Started playing the piano as a 7-year-old girl, studied music at Boğaziçi University and ended up in a corporate job in the media world.
But two years ago her passion for making music eventually won, and since then Nova Norda has released a series of singles and EPs.
Anyone who happens to use Deezer as their music streaming service is very welcome to follow my “Türkçe” playlist.
More than six hours of hand-picked favourites, Turkish only. With male vocalists, but of course quite a lot of *Kadın Sesler* as well. Such as Selda Bağcan, Yasemin Mori, Sezen Aksu, Göksel, Ceyl’an Ertem, Nil Karaibrahimgil, Melike Şahin, Sena Şener and many others.
It’s probably because I’m getting older, but more and more, autumn gets to be my favourite season. The city turns quieter, gloominess alternates with golden brown splendour, and we are not dealing with heat waves or bitter freezing temperatures.
The most beautiful song about autumn’s melancholia is İstanbul’da Sonbahar (Fall in Istanbul) by Teoman. But this is *Kadin* Sesler, so I chose this wonderful version of singer Göksu Taşçeviren and her band Sufle.
“İstanbul bugün yorgun üzgün ve yaşlanmış – Biraz kilo almış – Ağlamış yine, rimelleri akıyor” (Istanbul is tired today, upset and getting old – Has gained weight slightly – She cried again, her mascara is running down).
Göksu Taşçeviren co-founded the band Sufle when she studied economics at the University of Ankara. The band initially played pop-rock covers, and posted them on YouTube. Later, the warm voice of Göksu could be heard at festivals and in TV shows throughout Turkey. The EP Pus (Haze, 2017) contained only self-written work.
Earlier this month their most recent single Mücevher was released.
Since the release of her self-titled debut album in 2007, Sıla Gençoğlu has become one of the biggest names in the Turkish music world.
Over the past
decade, Sıla – singer, songwriter, composer, poet – has made a
series of albums that have been admired by critics and have often
reached the top position in the Turkish best sellers lists.
Acısa da Öldürmez, Vaziyetler and Zor Sevdiğimden are just a few of her many top 5 hits. One of my personal favourite Sıla songs is Engerek:
In 2010 and 2014 Sıla was the best-selling artist in Turkey, and in 2015 she was named Woman of the Year by GQ Türkiye magazine.
Sıla’s unique timbre and her both powerful and elegant appearance make her one of my favourite Turkish singers.
The past ten months have not been easy for Sıla – the singer had to deal with domestic abuse (and the legal aftermath). Womens rights organizations in Turkey praised her courage to talk openly about this.
Fortunately, there was also a lot of good news: Sıla released two great EPs in 2019. Acı (in March), and Meşk (in July) of which Karanfil became the first single.
Even if the name Sena Şener does not immediately ring a bell, you most definitely know her voice. Sena is the vocalist on the massive indie dance hit Feel (2016) by Turkish producer Mahmut Orhan.
She was only 16 years old at the time of the Orhan collaboration, but Sena’s musical career started even earlier. Before that, she shared her acoustic covers of English songs like Radioactive and Don’t You Worry Child on SoundCloud and YouTube.
Sena’s first studio album İnsan Gelir İnsan Geçer was released in 2018. A blend of folk, blues and rock music, all in Turkish, and all written and produced by Sena herself.
The Ölsem track was released as a single in March 2019. Sena Şener, who is sometimes compared to the late Amy Winehouse, turns 21 later this week. Doğum günün kutlu olsun!
The multi-talented Melisa Uzunarslan released her first studio album in December 2018. But at that time she already had an impressive musical resume.
Getting her first violin lessons as a 9-year-old girl, Melisa has a classical background. She was a member of various orchestras, including the Borusan İstanbul Philharmonic and the İstanbul State Opera and Ballet.
Melisa worked with international celebrities like George Benson and Lang Lang. Since 2013 she has been a violinist and vocalist at the concerts of the famous Turkish rock singer Teoman.
She wrote all the tracks on her debut album Tanıdığım En Güzel Deli, and Melisa also played the violin, piano and guitar. The video for Kabus was released this month. I think it’s a very powerful song.