"For millions of Turks the musician Cem Karaca, who has died of a heart attack aged 58, was a phenomenon who, for nearly four decades mirrored the transformations of his homeland, displayed resolute unwillingness to accept the dead hand of authority, and embodied aspirations for peace and social justice.
The rock singer - who had a voice of extraordinary forcefulness - became successively a leader of the left, a fugitive from Turkey's military government in the 1980s, and finally an advocate of coexistence between Turkey's secularists and Islamists. Through his music he reached out to the people of Anatolia and bridged the gap between them and the musical life of Istanbul's western-oriented middle classes.
Karaca was the son of actors and he began life in Istanbul. He was most at ease when among that city's bohemian circles. His parents sent him to Robert Academy, the city's American high school, in the hope that he would become a diplomat, but after Karaca discovered that his singing impressed girls, he turned to music.
His mother encouraged his singing and Karaca was also dabbling with theatre. In 1967 Karaca and his group, the Apaslar, won a song contest and he went professional. He was soon one of the country's most popular singers.
In the west, Karaca would have been a protest singer, but there was no such thing in 1960s Turkey. Yet at a time when youth was polarised between leftists and ultra-nationalists, he soon became identified with the left. One of his best known albums was entitled Poverty Isn't A Destiny.
Political and personal disagreements caused Karaca to break up with his group. During the next decade, in various partnerships, he blended progressive rock with Anatolian musical themes. From these efforts came Safinaz, his finest album.
By the time it appeared, left-right clashes were claiming large numbers of lives and in 1979 Karaca moved to Germany. He became the nearest thing that exiled leftwingers there had for a leader, launching attacks against the Turkish right.
In 1980, the Turkish military seized power and ordered him to return to face a tribunal. Karaca refused and - like other exiles - was stripped of his Turkish nationality and remained in Germany until 1987, four years after the return of a civilian government in his homeland. His return was discreetly brokered by prime minister Turgut Ozal's chief adviser. Karaca flamboyantly showed his gratitude by deferentially kissing Ozal's hand in the Ottoman manner - a gesture which outraged many of his friends who accused him of being a turncoat.
Karaca never abandoned his long hair, but the youthful 1960s singer had given way to an extravagant figure in a felt hat. He explored less controversial themes: Turkish identity, peace and religion. His funeral was shown on pro-Islamic TV stations and, mourners ranged from youths with facial piercings to bearded Islamists.
He is survived by his wife, Ilkin Erkal, and a son from his first marriage.
Cem Karaca, musician, born April 5 1945; died February 8 2004"
This album exceptional. It's a progressive rock opera with powerful vocals, social(ist) inspired powerful vocals. Middle eastern influences. The band was led by Fehiman Ugurdemir (multi-instrumentalist, member of Dadaslar and Kardaslar). The content and style of the songs is explained at next page.
1974 Cem Karaca'nýn Apaþlar, Kardaþlar, Moðollar ve Ferdy Klein
Orkestrasý'na Teþekkürleriyle (Yavuz LP 1006)
1975 Nem Kaldý
(Yavuz LP 1012)
1977 Yoksulluk Kader Olamaz
(Yavuz LP 1021) (Derviþan)
1992 Nerde Kalmistik ?
(Marsandiz music CD 083)
with Ugur Dikmen & Cahit Berkay (Mogollar)
printed in limited quantity ; now company is closed
review will be added later
1999 Bindik Bir Alamete
Another interesting musician is Cem Karaca, a Rock Singer who, according to Winfried Schlögel once blew away all other groups at an important festival in the seventies in Frankfurt with his incredibly powerful voice. His backing bands over the years include Apaslar, Kardaslar, Mogollar and Dervisan.
"Apaslar, like many bands of the 60's, started as clones of the Shadows but gradually developed into an innovative instrumental rock band from '67 onwards. Their collaborations with Cem put them up at the top of the Turkish pop charts and this led to great success in Germany" G.A. & J.D.
"Cem Karaca's early band was another reference to The Shadows Apaslar - The Apaches! The Apaches were probably named after The Shadows's big hit Apache." Can Altinbay" Can Altinbay
In 2001 Cem Karaca started working with Kurtalan Ekspres, Bari Manço's backing band from the 70's, and he still performed regularly in 2002 in Istanbul as well as in other Turkish cities. He occasionally plays in western Europe and had a visit to Australia planned for December 2002. Since 2003 he had a new backing band. In 2004 Cem sadly passed away.