12. Arabesk: Looking at the History of Popular Meanings and Feelings in Turkey



1. Orhan Gencebay, Batsın bu dünya

Kervan 102, 1975, 33⅓ rpm.




Orhan Gencebay, the first and greatest star and producer of arabesk, was dissatisfied with the State-endorsed, Western-influenced, national art music and urbanized folk music broadcasting on national radio and decided to experiment and develop a syncretic musical style that would draw on local and foreign styles.


2. Orhan Gencebay, Hatasız kul olmaz

Kervan 109, 1976, 33⅓ rpm.




3. Ahmet Kaya, Acılara tutunmak

Taç Plak, 1985, audio cassette.




The most challenging event in political music during the 1980s was the emergence and great success of Ahmet Kaya. Kaya articulated political discourse to a synthesis of arabesk and tavern—two of the dominant trends in popular music at the time. While his vocal style, his bağlama playing, and his lyrics, drew on arabesk, his use of the keyboard and rhythm-machine recalls the sound of taverna. Therefore, Kaya’s audiences extended far beyond the student movement and the left, including a wide range of classes and working-class people who were not necessarily part of the left.


4. Ahmet Kaya, Ağlama bebeğim

Taç Plak 0002, 1985, audio cassette.