BaBa ZuLa: Do Not Obey review – rousing set from Istanbul's cultural crossroads

(Milan Music)

The front cover says it all. There’s a vintage American car with a frame drum perched on the roof and a long-necked saz (a Middle Eastern lute) propped against the boot, against a registration plate marked “Do Not Obey”. The vehicle is the proud possession of Murat Ertel, a key figure in the Turkish psychedelic rock movement and co-founder of BaBa ZuLa. Their latest album was recorded before last month’s attempted coup and the subsequent political upheavals, and it’s a reminder of how western influences shook up Turkish music. The title track mixes cool, sturdy vocals from Melike Sahin against a blues-rock riff from Ertel on the electric saz, urged on by bass and percussion. Elsewhere, there are chanting songs that edge towards Turkish rap, more traditional-sounding, semi-acoustic songs, and an urgent finale, Direniş Destanı (“The Legend of Resistance”). A rousing, defiant set from the cultural crossroads of Istanbul.


Robin Denselow

The GuardianTramp

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