Album Review

Yildirim, Derya & Grup Simsek – "Kar Yagar" – [Les Disques Bongo Joe]

Thurston Hunger   6/8/2021   12-inch, International

Old Anatolian Psych has certainly charged KFJC’s airwaves in the past, this is a modern Grup coming out of Germany, also channelling Turkish melodies and scales, but with more of a pop charm. I can see Slowdive fans enraptured by much of this. Derya Yildirim is at the forefront with her baglama, and her arresting voice. Somewhat husky and brimming with a triumphant frailty that reminded me of Selda Bagcan. She soars on re-interpretations of classic folk songs, there are nice translations and brief backgrounds in the included booklet – “Dom Dom Kursunu” has a piercing story behind it. The older songs have more political sting to them, while Derya’s compositions cover a more emotional heartbreak. The album does have an ache to it, although the number that drew me to it was the closer “Oy Oy Emine” – a playful pining folk tune, number one with a bullet for your belly dancing class. “Hekimoglu” is another unique track, a stately percussion procession, Derya’s voice wavering a top it. Most of the album though masterfully mixes her saz riffs with swelling organ, some gritty fuzz guitar and absolutely suave basslines. Drummer Greta Eacott holds it all down (and has her own label too). Great hypnotic pop with a petite powerhouse lead vocalist (nice that her Dad Mustafa thunderously recites poetry on “Cockular II”). Old tunes, young Turks, new rewards!

-Thurston Hunger

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