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Arabesque

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One type of music which is not necessarily related to the interaction with the West, but is worth mentioning, is Arabesque. It has its roots in the eastern provinces, and countries that border the east of the country. The flow of migration from villages to cities, especially to Istanbul, in the ‘60s caused great disappointment. As a result of a cry for self-pity Arabesque music began to appear, and was greatly appreciated by the masses. Turkey had a monopoly on TV and radio until the ‘90s, and as a result the state had a huge role in deciding what the general public listened to. In accordance with the ideals of the Republic, there was always room for sophisticated Turkish classical music, but there was no room for Arabesque music. The champions of Arabesque music include Ibrahim Tatlises, Orhan Gencebay and Müslüm Gürses, who have been in the industry for more than 30 years. Since the music is synonymous with pain, it used to be a common sight during concerts that people used razors to cut themselves in the arms and chest. Today arabesque music is still popular, also seeing more mainstream artists such as Şevval Sam and Işın Karaca, who record arabesque albums. Today, the trademark of the alternative indie band Fairuz Derin Bulut is also combining arabesque and rock.

In August 2010, there was a huge debate as a result of pianist Fazil Say’s remark that he is ashamed of arabesque music and that it has no value since it is only about self-pity and not creativity. He was harshly criticized by movers and shakers of the Turkish popular scene as being totally ignorant of public values. 

 

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