Turkish rapper Ceza to shine at Sziget

Turkish rapper Ceza to shine at Sziget

Cenk Erdem – ISTANBUL
Turkish rapper Ceza to shine at Sziget The Sziget Festival, one of the biggest festivals in Europe, will be held on Óbudai-sziget (“Old-Buda Island”), an island in the Danube, Budapest. Sziget is many festivals in one, a week-long non-stop event with approximately 50 program venues and around 200 programs daily, including Turkish international rap star Ceza, who  will represent Turkey as one of the headliners on the European Stage.

Sziget is known as the Island of Freedom, which could also be regarded as an independent state, and Turkey has been a part of the festival since 2009.

The festival attracts almost 400,000 fans from over 90 countries to the beautiful island in the heart of Budapest, providing a complete festival holiday experience with non-stop parties, great live concerts, a wide international community and all the touristic features the city has to offer. 

Sziget also has loads of other things to offer festivalgoers, including theatre, dance, classical music, cabaret, performances, films, fine art, crafts, literary presentations, kids programs, sports and other free time activities. 

The festival will take place from Aug. 10 to Aug. 17 and Ceza will hit the stage on Aug. 13.

Rihanna, Muse, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Manu Chao La Ventura, Oscar and the Wolf, Bastille, Block Party, Sigur Ros, Kaiser Chiefs, Crystal Castles, David Guetta, Jake Bugg, Parov Stellar, Roisin Murphy, Sia and Boys Noize are some of the big names in the great line up for this year and Ceza is ready to party up Sziget with a high energy set list together with the band Kes and Barış Çakmakçı. 

Since he released his debut “Med Cezir” in 2002, Ceza has been considered the best in Turkey’s rap scene on an international level. He was the first Turkish artist with an MTV European Music Award and the best selling rap artist in Turkey. 

I had a chance to talk with Ceza about his new excitement over being part of the Sziget Festival, as well as some more details of his music.

You are to shine (while) performing at the European Stage of the Sziget Festival, which is one of the biggest festivals in Europe, but can’t we say that you’re already one of the biggest stars of Turkish immigrants living all around Europe?

Of course I have so many Turkish listeners and fans living outside our country but I also have so many international fans besides Turkish fans thanks to the international festivals I took part in since 2002 and thanks to the different projects (in) which I collaborated with so many artists outside our country. 
I guess it’s pretty obvious that I have international fans because I keep on performing at international gigs. 

You are going to be the first artist representing Turkey at the Sziget Festival. Are you planning a high energy set list for the performance? 

Yes. I am going to be on stage with my live band and we are preparing ourselves for a high energy and up tempo show. We would like to impress the audience with the best possible performance in an hour so we keep on working on it. We have the best in our band with Kes and Barış Çakmakçı. 

Some European listeners are (going) to watch you performing for the first time, so how do you describe your sound? 

Certainly (a) highly energetic rap sound but it’s not a local or ethnical sound at all. 

You’ve said that rap couldn’t make it in the mainstream in Turkey but I disagree with you. Can’t we say that there are some rap stars like you with a great amount of popularity just like pop stars? 

Yes sometimes some can make it. But unfortunately, it’s not exactly helping it to make it mainstream at all. We can’t talk about a real space for rap music in Turkey. Almost every rap artist puts a great effort into going on with it.  

Is there any special song of yours that makes you quite emotional whenever you hear it anywhere on the street?

“Kim Bilir?” (Who Knows?)

Apart from worldwide stars like Drake and Nicki Minaj, have you recently discovered some new favorites? 

Skippa da Flippa, Tate Kobang, Vince Staples, Uncle Murda, Danny Brown, Dave East are few of my latest favorites that I love to listen to.  

When you think about all the festivals and shows you took part in; which ones do you remember with the most hype? 

Massive Attack at Parkorman in 1999, Rockistanbul Fest in 2003 and HipHopJam this year.