The following recommendations were written by the chief-editor, Teike Asselbergs. The recommendations are based on recommendations given by the author(s) of the chapter and on interviews conducted in 2010 by Teike Asselbergs with experts in the field.
Turkish acts could tour the rest of the Netherlands
In the Netherlands Amsterdam and Rotterdam have Turkish music performances and nightlife. In The Hague there is remarkably less activity and what happens there seems less modern. This does not make much sense: I can’t believe there is no audience in The Hague for more and more modern music from Turkey. Maybe the Rotterdam scene draws the audiences from The Hague, but this is not researched. Also there are Turkish audiences outside these centers. For 2012 bands from Turkey should be offered more gigs in the rest of the Netherlands. This is relies on the collaboration of Dutch music venues with a track-record in showing Turkish musicians. Maybe they can set up a pool so they can share costs related to bringing a band from Turkey to the Netherlands.
Focus on niche acts that draw a mixed audience
In Turkey there are several acts that have a more than acceptable sound, but are not visible in the Netherlands because they appeal to a very particular and niche audience that even though it exists in the Netherlands too, makes the hurdle to go from Turkey to the Netherlands higher. These niche acts can be invited to the Netherlands because their Dutch audiences comes from all backgrounds because they love that specific kind of music and less because they react to the ‘from Turkey’ in the title. This draws in audiences that normally would not see Turkish concerts. For instance: Hayko Cepkin is a kind of Turkish Marilyn Manson. His metal/rock act attracts Dutch people that are into such kind of music. Such an act is easier and cheaper to market (narrow marketing) and is also a good way to upset stereotype ideas about Turkish music. The same applies to Turkish Reggae, Turkish Goths, Blind musicians in Turkey, Turkish Ska and Turkish Hip Hop. Also more Turkish DJs and VJs could be invited to the Netherlands than is now the case. Gypsy music is also a genre indigenous to Turkey that can lead to interesting collaborations with Dutch musicians.
Explore and support public participation in music
Street music is a new phenomenon in Turkey that recently got legalized. Especially with the 2010 European Capital of Culture activities gathering the public around free music events became popular. Highlights of these include the debut of Tünel Festival which gathered a crowd of enthusiasts in Galata Meydanı, which has not been done before. Other side events that succeeded are placing a band on an extension that travels with the tram on Istiklal Caddesi (busiest pedestrian street in the city) or on the city ferry lines. Best moments happen when musicians include the public in their music by giving the audience special instructions to participate in the flow of music by reciting certain words or inviting a couple of members of the audience on stage to play relatively simpler instruments such as percussion. These are all great opportunities to gather crowds that would not otherwise encounter music in their daily lives. Turkish people are very interested in free participatory street music events. The Netherlands is perceived as being strong in social and participatory cultural projects. Municipalities in Turkey may offer office spaces in exchange for doing something with the local community.
Organize a walk-in music center in Istanbul
In the music field, like in other cultural sectors in Turkey, many people expressed their expectations that The Netherlands should claim buildings or make some kind of cultural center. Esra Yalcinalp: ‘Best for collaboration purposes would be to have Dutch in-residence musicians that hold workshops open to Turkish public. These workshops could both be short -and long-term. Centers would function as schools during the day and performance/concert/party spaces at night. Most important thing to bear in mind would be to make sure that these centers are open to all sorts of music from traditional Turkish to electronic, jazz to rap. This is important to be all-inclusive and not raise any eyebrows in the neighborhood. Once established through collaboration between Dutch and Turkish, these centers could be transferred to the municipality or a private fund that can use them in the long-term as cultural centers. These sorts of centers would create zones of culture and, while enriching the people through music, would also act as an agent of social change in their neighborhoods.’
Turkish and Dutch musicians playing music together
Another opportunity for fortifying relationships between Turkey and the Netherlands is to get to know each other’s music. In Turkey, there is simply no knowledge of what sort of music Dutch people make or listen to. Projects that bring together instructor-musicians (or groups of musicians with good leaders) of each country could literally enrich musical knowledge. Given that there are many unique Turkish instruments in Turkish music, this offers a great area of play by combining these instruments with Dutch music or vice versa. Since broadening the horizons of an instructor would later literally affect hundreds of students, this would be a good chance for further interaction between the two countries. It is difficult to attract sufficient audience for concerts by young musicians from abroad that are not yet established ‘names’. Collaboration between Dutch and Turkish musicians would help to attract enough audience in Turkey because the local musician would bring in his or her own crowd.
Combine contemporary-traditional and known-unknown acts
Local Dutch and Turkish musicians playing together will also attract more, and a more diverse audience in the Netherlands. In the Netherlands the mix between traditional and a contemporary way works best (Tropentheater). Turkish musicians that synthesize Western and Turkish forms of music with splendid lyrics and good quality production have always been the ones that last through decades. They have fans in all three generations and are seen as powerhouses that inspire and help young musicians. Interviewees in Turkey expressed interest in combinations of contemporary and traditional forms of music and cross-overs with other performing arts and fashion. Codarts works together with Mimar Sinan since 2008. For 2010 and Turkey Now festival Codarts and Mimar Sinan composed/arranged music to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary western music. By combining contemporary dancers from Istanbul with traditional Turkish music from the Netherlands they intended to break possibly Orientalist expectations of the audience. Serdar Manavoglu (Pera, Paradiso) also uses the mix of traditional and contemporary, as well as the mix between young acts and well known performers with the aim to reach a wider audience. The foreign cultural institutes also work a lot with a ‘double bill’ format, combining known Turkish acts with lesser known foreign acts of good quality on the same stage.
Ghetto: How to educate people and develop an audience? Ghetto programs different kinds of music in one week, so everyone can find something. In Turkey well known names are very important. In one month the programming format is: in the first two weeks they bring Turkish names, they show at least 2 big foreign artists (who already have fans here) one night is devoted to Latin music: Latin night by Alyhan Seçimoğlu. On Thursday or Wednesday they showcase new Turkish bands: for example Turkish reggae group Sattas. Other interviewees also stressed that a diverse programming was necessary to reach large and diverse enough audiences to survive, but at the same time develop the audiences by offering music that is not main stream.
Young Turkish bands benefit from stage time with Dutch musicians
Turkey does not look for new acts because the clubs consider them to be risky. For young bands in Turkey there are very few possibilities to perform. There is a lack of venues and due to the global problem that nobody buys CDs anymore. The market is not supportive to invest in them. One interviewee told me that, as a result of the lack of support for unknown musicians, less innovative new bands emerged in Turkey. Most music venues rely on ticket sales for their survival so they cannot take to many chances with unknown acts that do not attract crowds. Outside Istanbul, bands from Istanbul are usually taken more serious than local ones. This creates the absurd situation that local bands from other cities have to first move to Istanbul to be booked by the venues from their home towns. Foreign acts performing outside Istanbul with local talents may have the effect that the local talents would be taken more serious without having to move to Istanbul first.
Support collaborations in music magazines and music journalism
Esra Yalcinalp: There is currently a huge gap in the market for published music magazines in Turkey. Some magazines shut down recently because Turkish advertisers do not target young audiences (see youth). Some of these magazines had their own cult of followers such as Roll and Billboard. These readers are now in limbo and any project about music-journalism that collects their attention would surely achieve its goal. In 2006 the Amsterdam based ECF and Turkish magazine Bant organized a ‘Popular journalism workshop’. 50 Editors from various European countries were together for 4 days in Istanbul. This was good for the development of music journalism on music and created lasting networks amongst some participants. Something similar could be organized in 2012 between Dutch and Turkish music journalists.
Improve visibility of online videos of Dutch acts
Esra Yalcinalp: Turkey has quickly adapted to cyberspace due to its young population. For this reason, anything on the internet is sure to gain wide popularity and create an impact as well. Ghetto: Keep in mind though that in Turkey certain sites are blocked, like YouTube used to be. Club owners complained about that looking at bands on Youtube, because using proxies is risky (viruses). Although Youtube is back online, for Dutch bands to be visible in Turkey uploading acts into more channels than only Youtube is recommended: Vimeo, Myspace, Facebook, Twitter.
Touring music in Turkey may be combined with touring theatre
Ömer explained that it is hard to arrange a tour through Turkey when a group from abroad shows interest in doing so, because they do not have partners in other Turkish cities (venues and organizers). They cannot guarantee a tour a long time in advance. There sometimes are also insurance problems for equipment (expensive) and people (sometimes insurance for casual laborers is possible = vasıfsız işçi). There is only one (sector) association organization in music and no associations or unions / syndicates. The state theatres may be used in 2012 for mixed theatre-music acts.
Support a program for talent development
American All Stars, a commercial production and event management company, explained that if they would be approached for 2012, they want to focus on one big event: a DJ/producing contest. According to them ‘Football & music (biggest ticket sellers) are areas where youth can be developed.’ They want to spend 80% of a budget on youth and 20% on those cultural actors that can be coached to take the next step onto an international stage. The reason why they want to focus on DJ/producing is that record labels in Turkey are all looking for a finished product. They print only the product but offer no distribution and no production support. It would be a good development to put producers together: everyone here uses the same computer sound banks, they do not have the equipment needed for professional production but they have to use it. Artists in Turkey are too focused on the local market, lack language skills and are not sufficiently interested in international albums. Talents from the Netherlands that could be part of the competition could show and explain the youth in Turkey how to communicate and how things work globally. Talented Turkish youth can be found in high schools and universities, but not in every school. So some effort should be made to find the right schools. Maybe All Stars can be matched with the Dutch Kunstbende which wants to take their format to Turkey. The only problem can be that All Stars are commercial and Kunstbende non-profit.
There are many music clubs in Turkish universities. It would be a good idea to do something with those clubs and their members. Collaboration between Turkish and Dutch talents would be good for the professionalization of both groups of youth.
Send Baroque music to Istanbul
According to Borusan, there is an audience for baroque music in Turkey. When the Austrians organized a baroque concert in Turkey it was crowded. Jordi Saral is famous in Turkey.‘Izmir Barok’ was less successful but as Baroque music activities continue in Izmir, the audience might develop there as well. There are no baroque instruments in Turkey, so workshops about baroque music can be organized only just for concerts. The Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra could be invited to Turkey for 2012.
Organize recitals by opera singers of Turkish and Dutch decent
Opera in Turkey is solely a State funded activity because of the costs. Only Turkish citizens can be hired in State opera. It may be a good idea to organize some recitals by classically schooled opera singers of Turkish and Dutch decent performing together. Anderske Kaspersma is a Dutch opera singer living in Istanbul and Gonca Gurses is a Turkish opera singer who is married to a Dutch man.
Engage private funders in Turkey for classical music concerts
The interest in classical music is increasing. However, the classical scene is interesting. During the Istanbul Music Festival most concerts are sold out, however this crowd is nowhere to be found during normal seasonal concerts. There may be a desire to be seen during the prestigious festival. The crowd for this genre is usually older and rich. Western classical music is seen in accordance with the ideals of the Turkish Republic. The Turkish State gave financial support to symphony orchestras as well as creating state symphony orchestras of its own. These orchestras regularly play in main cities such as Istanbul and Ankara. There has also been an aim to spread orchestral music to the rural areas but this has resulted in tragicomic situations with low attendance and absurd reactions. Western classical music is still marginal, but recently there has been more private funding and private holdings have established symphony orchestras that may be interested in collaboration.
Dutch Jazz in Istanbul
The jazz scene in Istanbul has its own audience. Traditionally jazz was seen as an upper class type of music in Turkey. However with the organization of events that made jazz more friendly to masses, there is a big change in the way people view jazz. There is an interest in Jazz from Europe because it is new for Turkey. Sweden is important for Turkish jazz musicians in terms of education and as a hub to America. America is more conservative whereas jazz from European countries expresses more local tastes and interpretations. There are several Jazz festivals that are successful and there are also ‘young jazz’ competitions. Ghetto told me selling tickets for Jazz acts is difficult, but they are not a place that targets jazz-audiences exclusively.
Go for the Turkish psychedelic funk craze
There is a rebirth of Turkish Anatolian pop/funk music in the global area. Artists from New York to Paris are currently using samples from Turkish music manufactured in the 70s to create new music. There is a Turkish psychedelic funk craze. In major capitals of the world special concept nights are held, second-hand and re-mastered albums are sold on internet auction sites. This is a major trend and is sure to continue for a couple of more years if not more. The big problem regarding this mania on oldies Turkish music is that the singers, arrangers, songwriters, composers of that era are not making any money although their work is over and over used. Anything to bring the actual actors of this type of music into limelight and giving them what they actually deserve will definitely gain support and respect.
Place Dutch popular music in Turkish soap-operas and the vice versa
However a recent phenomenon in Turkey, the locally produced soap operas (called ‘dizi’ in Turkish) are extremely popular in Turkey and all over the Middle East. The love for these series creates obsessions with fans such as clothes the actors/actresses wear. Music also takes its share in this craze. Dizi soundtracks are heard everywhere even as cell phone ringtones. One band that has become famous after producing the soundtrack for a series (`Kavak Yelleri`) is Pinhani. Dutch music can benefit from this.
There are opportunities for Dutch Rock outside Istanbul
Rock is becoming increasingly popular; in fact interest in it is exploding. However, rock still needs to go a long way since there are only a few major names in the sector. Rock traditionally has its base in Ankara. Eskişehir, Çanakkale, Gaziantep and Bartın offer opportunities for rock. It is popular at the moment to mix rock with pop and arabesque. In the Netherlands Turkish rock musicians also penetrate the Dutch market. Rock is popular with Dutch-Turks. There are seven music groups of Dutch-Turks in the Netherlands.
Bring Dutch Indy/Alternative Rock to Turkey
According to Murad Beşar, club music (the music people dance on) now turns into indie music (wide definition: it is linked to arts and can include sound tracks of films. Its audience is more educated, but does not consist of students. They are the people with ‘taste’). It sells, it is not big, but it’s not bad. In general indie and alternative rock music is rapidly gaining popularity in Turkey. Concert halls often open up their stages to young indie rock music and semi-amateur bands. In world music there are no interesting amateur or semi amateur musicians at the moment. Mercan Dede is a famous artist all over the world and there are a couple of nationally known musicians in this field.
Mixed messages about the VJ, DJ, electronic music and club scenes
Burcu: Dutch events in Turkey should be open air. The DJ scene is young and lively but DJ’s have trouble to earn enough money with their art. Turkish DJ’s pay the clubs, not the other way around. Turkish DJ’s go abroad to play and earn money. Likewise foreigners come to perform in Turkey. The best Turkish clubs have foreign DJ’s (professional club-owners pay foreigners about 1500 lira per month, 700 lira per month in Ghetto). Clubs have a difficult time due to the crisis and a host of other problems recently. A few years ago there were more electronic parties. Now there are electronic music festivals in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir and at some coastal cities where the same audiences have their summerhouses.
VJ’s do a lot of projections on building right now. Mobile battery powered projectors have enables this trend. People send things from the internet, for example from twitter and they can be projected immediately. Motion capture/tracking, video-mapping (projection) on 3D objects, LED sculptures, and interactive lighting are also recent developments. What is missing, are collaborations between VJ and graphic designers, architecture, design, new media and theater light and dancers, cinema students, video artists and poets. The VJ scene like the electronic arts scene is small in Turkey.
Most Dutch musicians are trance-acts (Junkie XL, Kraak & smaak, van Buren, Giovanca). One interviewee working for a magazine said that if he were the Dutch he would not spend money on electronic artists except for huge events like Tiesto (Istanbul based American All Stars has organized performances by Tiesto), whereas another interviewee from the field said that Turkish electronic music was getting better, more experimental. So there are mixed messages about electronic music.
Collaborations in Rap and Hip Hop and exchange musicians
Rap is extremely popular in Turkey and it has replaced Arabesk music in ghettos. There is a huge underground group of young rappers who hold their own parties in day hours at venues which are actually bars at night. They can only rent these locations during day time because of alcohol permit issues. The venue owners know that these young people have no other option so they sometimes cancel at last minute etc. This is a great widespread culture which needs leadership and safe venues where they can practice their music. According to Murad Beşar, Hip Hop doesn’t sell in Turkey because the target audience is really young and doesn’t have money. Hip Hop is popular with Dutch-Turks and, like rap, is an excellent way to reach youth who are not likely to come into contact with art and culture in other ways.
Turkish youth goes to the following venues in Istanbul: Peyote, Dogstar, Kiki, Mini Musik Hal, Arka Oda, the Hall, Babylon and Indigo. The ‘salon’ in the newly opened IKSV building will compete with Babylon. The interior design of the ‘salon’ needs to be improved and will be redesigned in September 2011. Indigo’s owner has problems retaining staff and therefore the organization not always looks professional. Ghetto is a well managed and well located venue, but their sound system is not so great. Ghetto is also quite expensive for young audiences. Ghetto and Babylon have worked with Dutch artists before and are open to make a program for 2012.