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Derdiyoklar Ikilisi - Disko Folk

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Artist: Derdiyoklar Ikilisi

Album: Disko Folk

Label: Guerssen

Review date: May. 1, 2012

Just how Germany became the place to break in a band is a question someone ought to snag for a Masterís thesis. But think about it: Before they went to Germany, The Beatles were nobody. Before they went to Germany, The Monks didnít even exist. And Germany is where the Turkish duo Derdiyoklar Ikilisi built their audience.

Maybe itís because audiences in Germany make musicians work. The Beatles were trying to please rooms full of sailors and hookers, but even they must have been easy to engage compared to the crowd at a Turkish wedding. Weddings and circumcision celebrations were Derdiyoklar Ikilisiís main gigs, and if this video is at all representative, there are no tougher audiences on earth. You can jump up and down, play your guitar with your foot and your keyboard with your beard, have a nervous breakdown onstageÖ and maybe the kids will pay attention, but everyone else has something better to do than watch the band.

Ali Ekber Aydogan (singing, saz, guitar, and that three-necked hybrid thing on the cover) and Ihsan GŁvercin (drums, vocals) apparently thought that truth in advertising was the most direct route to success, or at least bookings. The music on this 1979 LP, their third, is indeed a little bit disco and a little bit folk. GŁvercin was pretty adept at bridging the complex even over odd rhythmic patterns of traditional Anatolian music and the swinging but single-purposed grooves of mid-í70s European disco. Just put a bit of extra oomph on the 2 and the 4, keep the rest of the pattern going -- that should be enough to get the young folk moving and keep the ones in their chairs interested.

At any rate, his beats here are move-worthy for anyone other than one of those hearts-of-stone wedding parties. And while Aydogan doesnít go apeshit on record like he did on that video, his singing and playing are pretty commanding by themselves. His ululating orations are virtuosic, but that never seems to be the point. And his electrified saz (a Turkish lute), which is run through a battery of effects that render its tone chewy enough to separate your fillings from your teeth, spins out long, spiraling melodies that could snake a line dance through the bathroom line, past the punch bowl, and back without ever getting in the way of the beats. Heís also most likely responsible for the string synths that fill up the space where the rest of a band might go with thick, shiny textures.

This isnít the rebel rock of Erkin Koray. This is music that reminded migrant workers of home and kept their kids out of mainstream discotheques where skinheads mightíve stomped them. Itís the sound of cultural survival in action. The fact that itís so good is gravy.

By Bill Meyer

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