I became completely obsessed with Turkish psychedelic music several years ago and began searching out and accumulating Turkish 45s at a rapid clip. Since then, “Anadolu pop” has been discovered so to speak, with excellent reissues on the market by labels like Finders Keepers and Shadoks.
One of the first Turkish psych tracks that knocked me out was the Lambaya Püf De single by the great Bariş Manço (you can hear it here, archived on WFMU courtesy of DJ Trouble - or on the stellar Andy Votel compilation Prog Is Not a Four Letter Word).
I noticed at the time that Manço’s song was credited to one Osman Pehlivan. Not long after, I found another version of Lambaya Püf De - a harder-edged cover by Urfali Babi, this time with a song credit to Merhum Osman Pehlivandan. Who was this person? I gradually pieced it together.
This melody, in Turkey, is historic. Today’s post, long overdue and unavailable in any form as far as I can tell, is the original performance by tanbur soloist Osman Pehlivan (1847-1942), from which all of these blistering Turkish psych versions are based. Pehlivan’s wonderful solo was recorded in Istanbul by engineer Edward Fowler ca. July 1928, and still pretty much rocks. The title, loosely translated, means “Anatolian spoon song” which refers to a folk song which would be traditionally accompanied by wooden spoons, which are held in each hand and played a little like castanets. Pehlivan would have been 81 when this was recorded.
It’s still commonly performed today. For visual accompaniment, take a look at this performance of the kaşık havası here. Or here. And here are two terrific kaşık players. Even just a few weeks ago, I heard Arif Sag’s version of the song, which is actually titled Osman Pehlivan, and has since been reissued on the new compilation Obsession (and can be heard here, archived by Brian Turner, also on WFMU). The melody will certainly live on.
UPDATE: An intrepid reader pointed out to me that a version of this song performed by Pehlivan is available, under a slightly different title, on the Folkways collection “Folk and Traditional Music of Turkey” on an out of print LP, or custom made CD. However, if you listen to the sound clip, one can immediately tell that the Folkways recording is a completely different version than this one, which was no doubt recorded much earlier.
Technical Notes Label: HMV Coupling Number: AX 853 Face Number: 7-219429 Matrix Number: BF 2129