The famous Turkish folk music band Grup Yorum celebrated its 30th anniversary with a concert in Istanbul on 28 June 2015, even though the first two attempts to organise this concert earlier in the year were banned by the Istanbul Governor’s Office.
The ban was eventually reversed by a court decision, so that on 28 June 2015, a concert featuring performances by a 45-person symphony orchestra and almost 100 other guest musicians and singers, including the Amercian folk singer Joan Baez, could finally be held in the Bakırköy Public Bazaar in Istanbul.
“To ban music is a sign of failure and helplessness,” told the American folk singer Joan Baez to Daily Hürriyet:
“I am here because I am against the bans. I gave my signature for Grup Yorum 20 years ago. I performed for the people in the park during the Gezi protests. Now I am here for solidarity, my biggest richness in life,” she said.
Joan Baez performed a short song at the concert at Bakırköy Public Bazaar. Grup Yorum members gave her a guitar which had been damaged during a police raid at the İdil Culture Center.
Ankara concert still banned
The folk music group Grup Yorum has planned to organise anniversary concerts in cities around the country – in Adana İzmir, Ankara and Istanbul, among others – but authorities in Istanbul and Ankara declined to give them the permission to do this. The reason for the prohibition was allegedly that “the concert was not found appropriate since it might gain reactions from some parts of the society.”
The concert in Istanbul, however, was peaceful and was carried out without any kind of ‘reactions’ or agressions, reported Daily Hürriyet.
“We have been paying the price for being revolutionist artists for nearly 30 years. Sometimes our concerts are banned; sometimes are albums are withdrawn. We are taken into custody and tortured. We will pay these prices more. Our songs will continue to shake their pressures. They have done everything to prevent us from meeting with you. But we are together again. They won’t be able to prevent our meeting with the people of Ankara,” band members told the audience, referring to a concert planned for next week in the Turkish capital which currently is banned, just like the one in Istanbul originally was.
The authorities decision to ban Grup Yorum’s Ankara concert has been taken to court, and a result of this court case is expected to come this week. Grup Yorum members expressed confidence that they will be performing in Sıhhiye Square in Ankara next week.
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