Rest In Peace!
The sudden death of Barış Manço (Barış means Peace in Turkish), predominantly a renowned pop singer but also a journalist, TV producer and traveller, deeply affected the entire Turkish nation.
No doubt, he will be remembered with great pride and wistfulness by all segments of Turkish society.
It is not wrong to say that Manço did not alter his style, both in terms of his musical preferences and his stance as an artist, from the beginning of his career in the late 1950s. Despite that, he succeeded in always remaining one of the most beloved of public figures. But what made him become the focus of such great popularity and admiration for old and young?
Barış Manço was among the first proponents of `ethnic-rock, a musical genre which adheres to the synthesis of a rock beat with the harmonic structure of traditional Turkish folk music. From `Dağlar Dağlar to `Sarı Çizmeli Mehmet Ağa and `Gülpembe, he demonstrated how Western and traditional elements in contemporary Turkish music could be combined and produced in such profusion. In this respect, he was surely before his time, an avant-garde composer and performer. Later on, pursuing his own path, he never yielded to the ephemeral demands of the popular music industry.
However, this musical dynamism had always been backed by original lyrics. Barış Manço never concentrated on cheap love themes. Rather, he took his themes mostly from everyday life and the daily inter-relations between people, focusing heavily on the problems rooted in the major cultural transformation taking place in Turkey. No doubt, it was his frequent reference to the loss of traditional human values which made him a perfect ethical role-model in the eyes of the public. He always adopted a critical stance against the recent distortion of the cultural realm, reflected in a suppression of honesty, selfless love and solidarity in favour of possesive individualism. Therefore his music, as well as his private life,
invoked a clear social message.
Towards the mid-1980s, Manço intensified his efforts for the cultural improvement of the Turkish people. In this manner, he attached great importance to children and launched a TV show, called 7den 77ye (7 to 77). In that series, he presented his journeys to almost every corner of the world with the aim of expanding the cultural and informative horizons of the Turkish people. In the Adam Olacak Çocuk (The Child Who Will Become a `Man) segment of his show, he interviewed children every week and tried to imbue them with true virtues concerning mutual relations and self-care. Meanwhile, he served as a de facto cultural ambassador to the entire world, giving numerous concerts in Europe, America and the Far East. In turn, he was endowed the title of state artist in 1991.
The `Manço philosophy was primarily a combination of Turkish human values and progressive modern civic norms. His unusual ultra-modern outer appearance (with his long black hair and downward-slanting moustache, supplemented by fur coats and gigantic rings) and his orderly private life in full compliance with the national cultural structure have never been perceived as being contradictory by his 65 million adherents. On the contrary, he lived his life as a unique expression of devotion to music and the Turkish people, in which he was extremely successful in clarifying its underlying motive: the creation of a modern Turkish nation following the path laid down by Atatürk.
Rest in peace, Barış! You remain a role-model for every one of us with your diligence, modesty, ethical values, your love for the Republic and your faith in the Turkish people.
NOTES FROM BARIŞ MANÇOS LIFE
1943: Barış Manço was born in Istanbul.
1958: Started his music career.
1962: Published his first Single 1962 Twistin USA/The Jet
1963-1969: Went to Belgium and studied Graphics and Design. He graduated with Honours from the Academy.
1970: Composed `Dağlar Dağlar and became a very famous pop star.
1978: Married Lale Çağlar, the mother of his sons, Doğukan (b.1981) and Batıkan (b.1984).
1988: Began his TV series.
1991: Bestowed the privileged title of `State Artist by the President.