Tag Archives: Music

The Music of Istiklal

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On the weekends, something special happens: music fills Istanbul’s busiest street. Most Friday and Saturday evenings, there is a wonderful addition to the old street car that runs through the heart of Taksim, along the pedestrian street of Istiklal. Behind it, you will find a moving stage car with a group of musicians performing inside of it. Each night there is a different band playing a different type of music. I have heard everything from salsa to blues to rock and roll. As the old street car moves down Istanbul’s busiest street, the musicians play. Catching a short performance is always the highlight to my evening.

Read more about the Tramway here.

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I am absolutely obsessed with the French electroswing and gypsy jazz band, Caravan Palace, and was so thrilled to hear they were coming back to Istanbul for this event. Babylon is a music establishment in Istanbul, and always brings the best up-and-coming bands to the city. For today’s event they brought an assortment of their favorite bands to initiate the summer concert season. Do yourself a favor and check out this line-up…

Babylon Soundgarden: An Istanbul Concert

The Accordion Player Returns…

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He came again this Sunday. He was accompanied by his wife and child. As he walked past our apartment building, we made eye contact with him, and exchanged a series of waves and informal hellos. We used this opportunity to initiate our special basket, and provide our collective change (roughly 4.75 lira) to our favorite neighborhood accordion player. This basket is a neccessity to any apartment that looks out at the street, and has a daunting amount of stairs (we have 112 to be exact). It is very simple: it is a basket with a long rope tied to its handle. The rope is slowly released until the basket reaches street level. In exchange for our efforts (and creative albeit lazy delivery), he performed for us, and I captured it on video. Enjoy!

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The Annonymous Accordion Player

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Every Sunday, in the early afternoon music fills the streets of my neighborhood. A man playing the accordion walks up and down my long and narrow street. We do not know anything about him, but he has quickly become one of my favorite neighborhood characters. Rarely making eye contact with the formal and informal spectators that he attracts, he passes through the neighborhood with a sense of purpose and nonchalance. He does not demand an audience, nor does he immediately stand out from others on the street. Occasionally, he lures people to their windows, and sometimes into the street. Others encounter him by accident as they pass him on the street. Some stop and give him money, others walk by without any acknowledgement. I stand at my window, with a smile on my face when I remind myself that this is simply a normal day in the neighborhood.

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What I am listening to at the moment…

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The Frames

Glen Hansard gained international attention through the success of the movie (and music of) Once, but his band The Frames managed to remain unknown to me until recently. Almost everyone in my life seems to be more knowledgeable about music than me. My “newest discoveries” are often well-known bands by the time they are introduced to me. The Frames are no exception to this. The Frames are an Irish band based in Dublin.  They were founded in 1990. They are beloved in Ireland (My Irish friend Robert introduced them to me in August) and they have produced more than 6 albums. They have toured with Bob Dylan and performed at Lollapalooza. “Star star” was the first song I listened to, I have been mesmerized by  The Frames ever since…