Gülben Ergen: Kalbimi Koydum

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In an Asia Minor Key

Listening Post 29. Notwithstanding its name, the Turkish music form known as Arabesque has Byzantine and Balkan influences as well as Arabian. Over the past 20 years a new form, Arabesque-pop, has emerged with the addition of more Western instruments. On her tenth album, Gülben Ergen— the Queen of Arabesque-pop—sings across a stylistic spectrum, from traditional melancholy songs to dance-pop rhythms. Despite the plethora of instruments—including baglama, oud, guitar, bouzouki, sax, clarinet, piano and drums—her sensual, expressive voice (she is also a film and TV actress) remain the center of attention. Aşkla Aynı Değil (Not the Same as Love, video 1) is a mournful but lush duet with the song’s composer, Oğuzan Koç; “My hope is gone,” Gülben sings. “Surely the mind forgets everything/But my heart will always cling.” There’s a percussion-driven dance vibe behind Panda (video 2), in which she describes of how people see themselves: as fierce as a lion or cuddly as a bamboo-eating bear. The title song , Kalbimi Koydum (I Gave My Heart), is a mini-novela of shattered love in search of reconciliation; the Arabesque overtones are more prominent in Kusura Bakma (I’m Sorry), while there’s a Gypsy tinge to Sana Bıraktım (I Leave It to You). If you thought Arabesque was only artistic decoration, Gülben Ergen offers a enticing opportunity to discover the soundtrack. (Doğan Müzik Yapim)

 


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