Sibel Can: A voice that can’t be limited to one style

Sibel Can: A voice that can’t be limited to one style

Cenk Erdem
Sibel Can: A voice that can’t be limited to one style

DHA photo

One of Turkey’s biggest divas, Sibel Can has just released her 21st album covering the biggest hits of the Arabesque genre, particularly anthems from stars like İbrahim Tatlıses and Müslüm Gürses. 

Arabesque has always been a controversial style in Turkey, having attracted heavy criticism for its sublimation of pain and suffering in love. 

Now, Can has come up with brilliant arrangements giving a new makeup to arabesque, positing that even people who criticize the genre would love to listen to these songs. The album “Arabesque” also comes with some happy examples from the genre like “Mavi Mavi” and “Gülüm Benim,” proving that the style is not all about sadness but life itself. Arabesque songs accompany all kinds of feelings including love, pain, happiness and joy. 

The album also gives listeners some potential club hits with her reinterpretations with DJ producer Erdem Kınay’s arrangements. 

Nevertheless, Can has always been known for her amazing voice that is able to perform different styles, as well as her excellence in Turkish Classical Music. Before kicking off her European tour, she spoke all about her new album, her inspirations, her music and her early days. 

Can will be performing in eight different European cities in three countries: Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. 

Your 21st release, “Arabesque,” especially comes to the fore with İbrahim Tatlıses and Müslüm Gürses hits, so how do you pick the songs?

This is a concept album and it gathers a selection of Burhan Bayar’s work. So these songs were his work interpreted by gorgeous male singers like İbrahim Tatlıses and Müslüm Gürses already and now it is a reinterpretation with a female voice, and I guess listeners already liked it. I’m happy presenting this album as a kind of archive to all music lovers… 
You say that in fact we all have a kind of arabesque feeling somewhere in deep, so isn’t it just like we can’t call it love without suffering. Are arabesque songs the best accompaniment for those feelings? 

Actually, arabesque is life itself. Life carries all kind of different feelings. Love, pain, happiness and joy… I have a feeling that listeners have now started to listen to some arabesque without any hesitation with this album.

There are some of Tatlıses’ 80’s anthems like “Mavi Mavi” and “Gülüm Benim,” which are very happy songs on the album. Can we say that these songs are a kind of celebration of love?

I love these two songs indeed. Both songs are the most famous İbrahim Tatlıses songs and loved by so many people. These songs succeeded in being the answers to every single mood and they always will.

You have been singing these two songs at your live performances too; so can we say that these two songs are your favorites?

İbrahim Tatlıses, Müslüm Gürses, Orhan Gencebay… And so many more… Would you ever be able to choose? My live performances are usually divided into three parts as Arabesque, Turkish Classical Music and popular songs. So, I try to cover all these precious names’ songs at my concerts, too.

Most of the songs you choose for the album are big hits from different periods, but is there any special one reminding you of any personal memory from the first years in your career?

Do you think it’s only me with personal memories related to these songs? I believe that every single person has some personal memories related to all these songs.

You have turned into a kind of house diva with the Erdem Kınay remix for the song “Gülüm Benim” on the album, and you already have a club hit with the song “Alkışlar,” so will there be any upcoming dance projects? 
Being on stage feels like my own territory… I will always love different projects in different styles.

It always feels like the right synergy between you and Tarkan on your collaborations, and you both play with the song in either your feminine or Tarkan’s masculine way, so what do you love most about Tarkan?

Obviously, everyone knows Tarkan’s excellent voice and his energy on stage. I am into his attitude and I love him too. It’s a great pleasure to sing his work. Recently, I released a song he wrote titled ‘Bir Parmak Bal’ and people loved it too…

We haven’t been able to see you perform some of your biggest hits like “Padişah” and “Emret Öleyim” on your set lists lately; is that on purpose, or are there any surprises related to these songs? 

I used to sing these songs each and every time years ago. But sometimes we love to make little changes on our set list. These songs have always been my favorites too.

You are big in Middle Eastern countries too and especially world music stars love you and, ultimately, you’re one of our biggest international stars. So do you also love to listen to some international stars?

I am in love with our classical music. I am also open to listening to different world music styles. If I catch a beautiful melody somewhere, I am always after it.

Muazzez Abacı was one the stars who supported you when you were only 17; so did she have any influence on your singing style in those days? 

Muazzez Abacı is one of our well-respected and established singers with her unique style and attitude. I love her and I listen to her. But of course you realize your own attitude in time.

You have come up with so many different project albums including concepts like arabesque, Turkish Classical Music and DJ productions, so are there any upcoming projects? 

I always wanted to record concept albums that would have an archive-like quality with different styles. I love to perform on stage things like Turkish Classical Music, popular music and arabesque. So, I already did one with Turkish Classical Music covering hits and now I’ve released an arabesque album too. There have always been music and different projects that I have gotten into and there will be [more].