“That era had electricity. There was probably an electric energy in space at that time that covered the whole world, and we became part of that electricity.” (Erkin Koray, Roll magazine, 1977)
In 1965, the electrification of his music gave rise to the “Electric Dylan controversy”, in which Bob Dylan was accused of betraying folk music and its political ideals. In the same year, 1965, the conservative Turkish newspaper Hürriyet organised a very popular song competition called “Altin Mikrofon”, the “Golden Microphone”. The task was to re-arrange and perform a Turkish folk song in a Western style. The electrification of traditional instruments and the use of new electric and electronic instruments in Western pop music were the main means of Westernisation.
The lecture shows how the electrification of music, especially in the 1970s, led to the development of a new Turkish music, Anadolu Pop, which combined rurality and urbanity, folk and rock in a very special way. There was no question of betrayal, on the contrary: the Kemalist programme of East-West music could now be implemented in a way that appealed to the public. This was because the musical power politics led to a shift in focus in the western part of Ziya Gökalp’s music ideological East-West construct: the focus shifted from the favoured but rather unpopular European opera classics to the much more popular Anglophone pop-rock music in the course of the Americanisation of the 1950s in Turkey.
This allowed Anatolian folk music to be completely redefined as electrified “heavy folk”, which in principle remains traditional but is played with heavily distorted electric saz and sung with electronic reverb. The long arm of electrification emanating from the “golden microphone” also reached other (multi-)hybrid genres in the 1970s, such as arabesque rock or taverna synth pop. People everywhere became “part of this electricity” (Erkin Koray), who gave his first album the title Elektronik Türküler (1974).