Anatolian Rock Ensemble: Psychedelia and Social Change in Modern Turkey (MPF4244.01)

Joseph Alpar

This performance ensemble will immerse participants in the distorted lutes, fuzzy guitars, swirling electronic effects, driving percussion, and wailing vocals of rock music in Turkey. Inspired by the music of Elvis Presley and Fats Domino, the earliest Turkish rock musicians began to explore the sonic possibilities of adapting western instruments and amplification to the sounds and styles of Turkish folk music while also embracing the “mind expanding” aesthetics of psychedelic rock—feedback, electronics, and intense volume. Anatolian Rock (referring to the region of Asia Minor in modern Turkey) was born. Through the 1960s and 1970s, an influential crop of Turkish and Kurdish rockers infused their now iconic music with socially conscious lyrics, often using their songs as platforms to protest government injustices and longstanding political, ethnic, and economic struggles in the country. In the sweeping and violent political turmoil of the 1970s and 80s in Turkey, several of these artists wound up in jail or in exile. In this performance ensemble, we will learn some of the major hits and lesser known gems of Turkish and Kurdish popular music, highlighting artists like Erkin Koray, Selda Bağcan, Barış Manço, Ahmet Kaya, Orhan Gencebay, Cem Karaca, Ciwan Haco, and more. We will also study examples of the current Anatolian rock revival and its relationship to contemporary Turkish politics, including the band Altın Gün and the singer-songwriter Gaye Su Akyol.

Learning Outcomes:
Students will:
•be able to identify and perform in several styles of Turkish popular music.
• recognize the differences between musics of different composers based on cultural context, instrumentation, dance styles, language, and other criteria.
• learn a variety of rhythms and meters and their associated functions in Anatolian Rock.
• play an assortment of percussion instruments, understanding their function in an ensemble.
• be able to play in an ensemble context, learning to listen to one another.
• be able to participate in class discussions about the music we learn and how it relates to the everyday lives of the people in the region.
• sing in a variety of languages—Turkish, Kurdish, and Armenian
• perform in a concert centered on Anatolian Rock and other popular music genres from Turkey.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: An audition is required for this ensemble. Auditions will be held May 8-12, 2023; email to schedule. All instruments and voice types are welcome. Students should be reasonably proficient on their chosen instruments and be able to match pitch.
Corequisites: Occasional participation in Music Workshop on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 PM; Attendance at relevant music events Performance in one or two concerts at the end of the term.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 2
T 8:00PM-9:50PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 12
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Fully In-Person , Performance , Two Credit
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