Most of the time, I feel slightly shy to show my non-Turkish friends Turkish music. For example, I don't speak any other words than Hola in Spanish but I absolutely love Spanish songs. However, I can't really tell how a Turkish song would sound like to someone who doesn't understand the language, as the lyrics in Turkish music are usually extremely important. I decided to make a list to hear your opinions.
I mainly listen to Turkish rock and alternative music as well as some old songs. By the way, this is a great website to discover new world music.
P.S: Translating Turkish songs and not losing the actual feeling of the song is impossible.
1. Barış Manço - Dönence (The Tropic)
Let's start with one of the pioneers of Turkish rock music. Barış Manço is the name behind many important songs, recognised internationally. This song, Dönence, is my favourite by the legendary Turkish musician, amongst with other songs such as; Gülpembe, Dağlar Dağlar and Kol Düğmeleri.
2. MFÖ - Yalnızlık Ömür Boyu (Solitude for a Lifetime)
Moving onto another legend, MFÖ is a band formed by Mazhar Alanson, Fuat Güner and Özkan Uğur in the 70's; the first letters of each member's name make up the band's name. They worked with Barış Manço at some point in the 70's as well and they made amazing pop rock songs during their 40-something year old music career, such as; Ele Güne Karşı, Sarı Laleler, Bu Sabah Yağmur Var İstanbul'da, Vak the Rock and more.
"It always ends up in solitude, solitude is for a lifetime".
3. Tarkan - Kır Zincirlerini (Bu Gece) (Break Your Chains - Tonight)
It wouldn't be a proper list without Tarkan, and I find it unnecessary to introduce him. After all, he is Turkey's 'MegaStar'. This song is not as famous as his others such as; Şımarık, Öp, and Bounce? I have no idea what was popular internationally. In my opinion, this song is advanced for its time, has a great video clip, Tarkan's vocals are sexy af, the 90's feel is nostalgic and still makes me want to dance.
4. Athena - Ses Etme (Don't Make a Sound)
One of my favourite Turkish bands, punk rockers Athena have dominated their genre and the music market for a long time. They came a long way in the last few years, and produced hit after hit. This song is from their last album Altüst, and the video clip for it became international news.
5. Yasemin Mori - Ellerimin Karası
A young, innovative and creative soul, Mori has changed her style from her first album Hayvanlar (Animals) and second album Deli Bando (Mad Band) into an almost Björk-esque sound. She writes her own profound lyrics and in my opinion, works hard to improve herself.
6. Bubituzak - Bir Gerçek Var
Indie music scene recently boomed in Turkey and a few indie bands have formed, becoming successful mainly through Sofar Sounds Istanbul. However, Bubituzak is not one of them, as the band have been making music for a long time even before. Their songs are really fun with intelligent lyrics, such as this one: "There is this fact that the more you run from the truth, the more it will chase you".
7. Yüzyüzeyken Konuşuruz - Tarla
One of these new indie bands is Yüzyüzeyken Konuşuruz (which literally means, We'll Speak Face to Face) and they have established quite a style for themselves.
8. Deeperise - Raf
I honestly did not know there was a Turkish DJ making EDM, but apparently there is. I will keep an ear out for this guy from now on, his music sounds crisp and fresh to this prejudicial listener.