10 Musicians/Bands You Need to Know and Listen from Turkey

10. İlhan Erşahin: A wizard on the saxophone, Erşahin moved to New York in his teens to hone his skills. He developed a love for punk and electronica at the same time. That resulted in traditional Turkish pieces punctuated by a sweet dance beat. The Turkish-Swedish musician’s Manhattan club Nublu has been a hotbed of creativity for budding musicians since its opening in 2002, with the experimentation-friendly atmosphere paving the way for fusions of Brazilian, African, and reggae music with improvised jazz.

9. Sattas: Sattas released Turkey’s first reggae album in 2012 and went on to become hugely successful playing in countless festivals and concerts. Without straying too far from root reggae, the band has played with elements of jazz, ska dub, classic music, and rock for a sound all their own.

8. Ethnique Punch: If you thought that Turkey didn’t have a rap scene, then you’ll be quite surprised to listen to the excellent musical work of this talented rapper from Eskişehir. Classic Turkish music sampling, bold beats, and intricate rhymes have made Ethnique Punch one of the standouts in the underground hip-hop scene.

7.  Selda Bağcan: Selda Bağcan is the name who left her mark in Turkish music in the last 50 years, even more. The legendary name of Turkish folkloric music appeals to every and each of us from different generations, ages, and social classes. What’s more, her velvety and enchanting voice and psychedelic style brought her millions of fans from the world, as well. She is now in her 70s, but still very energetic!

6. Şebnem Ferah: Şebnem Ferah is a striking example of one of the leading women figures for Turkish Rock music. With her dynamic and intensive voice and charismatic image, she has made millions of fans in Turkey. She is now 48 years old and still wafts millions behind her songs.

5. Sertab Erener: Sertab Erener was born on 4 December 1964. She is a prominent Turkish singer, songwriter, and composer. Further, and apart from her fame, she has one of the deepest, powerful, and influential voices in Turkey. In 2003, she won the Eurovision Song Contest and became the first Turkish singer who brought ever this success to Turkey. Sertab Erener has a coloratura soprano voice.

4. BaBa Zula: One of the last bands actively representing Turkish psychedelic rock, Baba Zula’s sound is a truly unique and mesmerizing amalgamation of diverse elements. Handmade instruments, classic Turkish and Balkan instruments, electronic characteristics, spectacular costumes, and a profound ability for improvisation, you’ll have to see Baba Zula live to truly experience their craft.

3. Tarkan: The most well-known Turkish pop singer in the world, Tarkan is mostly known for his song ‘Kiss Kiss’. “Dudu” song sold over 1 million units in Russia and received the best foreign song award. Even today, you can come across the song ‘Kiss Kiss’ which is played in clubs all over the world.

2. Gaye Su Akyol: Gaye Su Akyol has already been picked up by the likes of Pitchfork for her unique sound that mixes Turkish music styles with grunge, rock, and psychedelia. Part of a music scene that has been undoubtedly revitalized, Turkish scales, common with traditional instruments such as the saz or oud, have clearly influenced Akyol’s compositions.

1. Fazıl Say: Fazıl Say, the pianist who gave concerts all around the world and won numerous prizes, is the first to come to mind. He runs a concert within the concert, touching the keys and feeling a lot of emotions. Le Figaro has proved himself as one of the greatest artists of the 21st century, as a performer, as a composer and a guest in countless countries on 5 continents, he gives concerts with all the well-known orchestras and leading directors of America, Europe, and Asia. The broad repertoire of the artist extends from Bach to the Vienna Classics, to the contemporary works of romantics and his own compositions.