Grup Yorum celebrates its 30th year
DHA PhotosFollowing concerts in Adana and İzmir, famous protest band Grup Yorum’s third 30th anniversary concert took place in Istanbul on June 28, after the first two attempts to organize the concert earlier in the year were banned by the Istanbul Governor’s Office. The ban was ultimately reversed by a court decision and the concert was held in the Bakırköy Public Bazaar.
Famous U.S. folk artist Joan Baez also attended the concert to protest bans on concerts.
Before the concert began, thousands of people began gathering in the concert area after they were searched by security. The concert started at around 6:30 p.m. when the Grup Yorum members greeted the audience with a 150-person team on the stage.
Former members of the band, including Efkan Şeşen, Özcan Şenver, Serdar Güven, Özgür Tekin, Suat Kaya and Fikriye Kılınç, also accompanied the songs.
“We have been paying the price for being revolutionist artists for nearly 30 years. Sometimes our concerts are banned; sometimes are albums are withdrawn. We are taken into custody and tortured. We will pay these prices more. Our songs will continue to shake their pressures. They have done everything to prevent us from meeting with you. But we are together again. They won’t be able to prevent our meeting with the people of Ankara,” said the band members on the stage, referring to a concert planned for next week in the Turkish capital that is still currently banned.
During the speech, the audiences shouted slogans against fascism. Also, the names of those who had died during the Gezi Park protests in 2013 were read and commemorated.
Folk artist Baez took the stage, performing a short song, Grup Yorum members gave her a guitar which has been damaged during a police raid at the İdil Culture Center.
Joan Baez on the stage
Folk artist Baez also took the stage and performed a short song. Grup Yorum members gave her a guitar which had been damaged during a police raid at the İdil Culture Center. Calling out to the audience, Baez said, “I am here for solidarity with Grup Yorum against the bans.” Then she left the concert area.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet, Baez said the ban on music was a sign of failure and helplessness. “I am here because I am against the bans. I gave my signature for Grup Yorum 20 years ago. I performed for the people in the park during the Gezi protests. Now I am here for solidarity, my biggest richness in life,” she said.
The house concert featured performances by a 45-person symphony orchestra, under the baton of Orhan Şallıel, the Umudun Çocukları (Children of Hope) Orchestra, the Beşik Folk Dances Group and the İdil Folk Dances Group. Percussionist Baruş Günay also took the stage.
The concert ended with the song “Çav Bella” (“Goodbye Beautiful”) and the audiences dispersed without any trouble.
One of the Grup Yorum members, Caner Bozkurt, said they would continue singing their songs against attempts to create a fearful environment.
Another member, Dilan Balcı, said,” This concert was banned on grounds that it would cause public unrest. But we got this area as a result of our efforts and resistance. Today thousands people gathered in Bakırköy Square and shouted the songs of freedom.”
İlhan Altın said the ban on the Ankara concert had not been reversed yet, and a result would come this week. “We are sure that we will be in Sıhhiye Square [in Ankara] next week,” he added.