Barış Manço
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2 January 1943 – 31 January 1999

Manço was born in Istanbul. His mother Rikkat Uyanik was a famous singer in early 1940s. His older brother, who was born during World War II, was named Savas ("war" in Turkish) while he was named Barış ("peace" in Turkish) by his parents to celebrate the end of the war. During his highschool days in Galatasaray Lisesi (and later in Sisli Terakki High School) he formed his first band Kafadarlar ("The Buddies"), allegedly upon seeing Erkin Koray and his band performing which were all students of a nearby highschool. In 1962 and 1963, with his next band Harmoniler ("The Harmonies"), he recorded cover versions of some of the then popular American twist songs, but also rearrangements of Turkish folk songs in rock and roll form, marking the beginning of Anatolian rock movement, a synthesis of Turkish folk music and rock. After graduating from high school in 1963, he moved to Belgium, studying at the university of Liège, where he formed bands with local musicians and recorded some singles mainly in English and in French but also in Turkish. He was contacted by French Henri Salvador to record a yeye EP on his Rigolo label. He toured with his band Les Mistigris (not related with Mistigris) in Germany, Belgium, France and Turkey until 1967. Frustrated by the difficulties of working with musicians from different nationalities, he formed Kaygisizlar (The Carefrees) featuring Mazhar Alanson and Fuat Güner, future members of the Turkish band Mazhar Fuat Özkan (or MFÖ who would have great success in the eighties). He also started to work with traditional material from "asik" (wandering folk poets) and incorporating that into modern rockmusic. From Belgium he released several singles but (being abroad) he missed out on the initial rise of Anatolian rock with the Altin Mikrofon contest (see our Turkey sixties section). He was not even supported by the music media in Istanbul as the considered him a freak wearing strange hippie clothes (he bought them at the Beatles Apple store in Londen). In 1970, he formed Barış Manço Ve ... ("Barış Manço and ...") again with foreign musicians, to record his first hit single, both in Turkey and in Belgium, "Daglar Daglar", selling over 700,000 copies.

After some brief recording sessions with bands like Mogollar (The Mongols) and the reformed Kaygisizlar his first full length album (actually a compilation of sixties work) was released in 1971 under the title ‘Dünden Bugüne’on the Sayan label. This was not without controversy since Manço already signed at Türküola and the album was released without his consent. After legal issues the album was withdrawn a year later (only to appear again in 2009). In 1972, he formed Kurtalan Ekspres the band that would accompany him until his death. The band remained releasing singles (which in sequence were later compiled on albums). In 1975 however Manço released a concept album under the name ‘2023’. An album that would set a standard for Anatolian progrock and is still a very sought after item. A year later, in a last attempt to reach international success, he released an album simply called ‘Barış Mancho’ with the George Hayes Orchestra under CBS Records label. Although the album did not bring the fame he was expecting, it did reach the top of the charts in Romania and Morocco. Next year, the album was released in Turkey under the title Nick the Chopper. From 1977 to 1980, he released three more albums in Turkey, partly consisting of compilations of older singles, namely Sakla Samani Gelir Zamani (1977), Yeni Bir Gün (1979) and 20. Sanat Yili Disko Manço (1980), all following a similar sound with 2023.

Through the seventies Manço stayed a bit of an underground phenomena but in 1981 he made the step to the mainstream with the album ‘Sözüm Meclisten Disari’, containing hits like "Alla Beni Pulla Beni", "Arkadasim Essek", "Halhal" and "Gülpembe" (a requim for his deceased grandmother). In 1985 the sound of Manço's changed when he started to work solely with synthesizers and drum computers. In 1988 he made a career switch from musician to TV personality with the show ‘7'den 77'ye’ (From age 7 to 77), a TV show that combined music, talk show and documentaries. The show played for eight years and Manço travelled almost 150 countries for it. Although his popularity continued mostly due to the TV show, his musical works in 1990s were not well received. The albums Mega Manço (1992) and Müsadenizle Çocuklar (1995) were considered as the weakest efforts of his career, despite the limited success of 1992 children hit "Ayi" (The Bear). On January 31, 1999, Barış Manço died of a sudden heart attack before the release of his just finished last work Mançoloji (1999), a double album containing the new recordings of his hit songs.  His sudden death caused an almost unanimous shock in Turkey with millions of people mourning and tens of thousands of people attending his funeral. In 2002, a tribute album was released under the name Yüregimdeki Barış Sarkilari ("Barış's Songs In My Heart", also "Peace Songs In My Heart") featuring 15 extremely popular Turkish artists of such diverse genres as arabesque, pop and rock (both Anatolian and western style) demonstrating his wide range of influence. In 2009 a rare live recording made in 1975 was released.

On the web:

- German-based fansite: http://www.Barışmanco.de/

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts:

Czesław Niemen (Poland)

Bijelo Dugme (Bosnia Herzogovina)

Triana (Spain)

What do we think:

DB: We became interested in Turkish popmusic just when Manço died. I remember the local Turkish cd-shop was stacked with Manço compilation cassettes and cd’s and his music was on continuous play. It is clear he had (and still has) a divine status in Turkey. His musical career has a bizarre course going from psychedelic beat to progrock to pop. His rare seventies albums are gradually becoming very heavy collectors items being sold on eBay for 100 dollar or more. However his eighties pop period is just as interesting although quite different to his progrock work (if you’re exclusively into progrock don’t even try them). Especially when he kicks out the band and drags in the Synclavier. Listen to ‘Darisi Basiniza’ to hear him go pop with synths and even get away with it. Which stands witness to his talent.

Recommended albums :

♪♪♪♪ - Dünden Bugüne - 1971

♪♪♪♪♪ - 2023 - 1975

- Sakla Samani Gelir Zamani - 1976

♪♪♪ - Darisi Basiniza - 1989

- Live in Tarsus 1975 - 2009

Further listening: Ben Bilirim - 1972; Nick The Chopper - 1976; Sari Cizmeli Mehmet Aga - 1977; Yeni Bir Gün - 1979; 20 Sanat Yili Disco Manço - 1980; Sözüm Meclisten Disari - 1981; Estagfurullah... Ne Haddimize! - 1983; 24 Ayar Manço - 1985; Degmesin Yagli Boya - 1986; 30 Sanat Yili Fulaksesuar Manço - Sahibinden Ihtiyaçtan - 1988; Mega Manço - 1992; Müsaadenizle Çocuklar - 1995; Barış Manço Live In Japan - 1996
Mançoloji - 1999
♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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