Istanbul’s musical ferry generally is a soulful expertise

Musicians Oguzhan Erdem (C) performs ney, Eren Koc (L) keyboard and Zafer Saka(R) guitar throughout a ferry journey on the Bosphorus from Kadikoy to Eminonu, in Istanbul, on Could 16, 2019. AFP / BULENT KILIC

Istanbul: It is already one of many world’s most unique commutes — the ferry journey between Istanbul’s European and Asian sides offers a every day quarter of 1,000,000 passengers unforgettable views on their technique to work.

Now the Turkish metropolis is providing music to offset the seascapes, and for the beginner musicians offering it, it is an opportunity to make some essential cash in troublesome financial occasions.

The musicians work onerous to make sure their music displays Istanbul’s distinctive place as a metropolis straddling East and West.

“We journey backwards and forwards between the 2 continents and we attempt to categorical feelings sparked by the 2 cultures: a sort of fusion, a synthesis,” Oguzhan Erdem, one of many ferry musicians, instructed AFP. 

Till lately, ferry musicians performed with out authorisation, however metropolis authorities realised they had been lacking a possibility and launched a mission to make them an official a part of the expertise. 

Erdem performs the Turkish ney reed flute, an instrument historically utilized by Sufis, a mystical department of Islam, whereas his band mate performs a Western-style keyboard.

“It is merging the East with the West,” stated Erdem. 

‘Like being in a film’

In whole, 82 musicians work on the intra-city line from 9:00 am till the final ferry at 1:00 am.

Ferry musicians depend on the tricks to make their residing and it has supplied a lifeline for these fighting Turkey’s financial downturn. 

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Erdem, who additionally performs within the streets and along with his band “DoguBang”, had failed to search out work as an inside designer. 

“The job market is so unhealthy. After I was brooding over what I’ll do, I noticed a younger woman singing within the ferry someday and requested myself ‘why do not I give it a attempt’,” he stated. 

He has now been taking part in the ney on ferries for the previous 9 months.

Istanbul is stuffed with buskers — each Turkish and overseas — notably on its busy procuring hub of Istiklal Avenue.

Eren Koc, who performs the keyboard, is a sculptor by occupation and located himself taking part in on the ferries after visiting town for one among his exhibitions.

“There are fascinating moments on the ferries. When applause all of the sudden breaks out or some folks arise and dance — it’s like being in a film,” he stated.

For some commuters, it may be a really emotional expertise after a tough day at work. 

“The tunes converse to my soul and relaxation my thoughts. It takes me again to the previous,” stated Nimet, with tears in her eyes as she listened to the ney. 

“Just like the water flowing within the Bosphorus, it’s triggering a move of feelings inside,” she stated, wistfully.

Erdem is blissful to encourage folks.

“Within the evenings folks depart work and return to their residence. They empty their thoughts, attain a sort of serenity. I see many sleeping in peace. This can be a supply of nice pleasure for me,” he stated.


Tunc Baydar, coordinator of the mission for the municipality, stated musicians taking part in in an unauthorised trend had beforehand brought on issues for the crew and safety personnel.

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“We kicked off the ‘Music on the Ferry’ mission in 2016 in order that we may create an setting for these musicians to play within the ferry with permission, extra comfortably,” he stated. 

“We’ve got turned the ferry musicians into a part of our model.”

Baydar stated that they had been all the time looking out for brand spanking new proficient musicians.

“We watch their movies on social media. We have even begun recruiting conservatoire college students.”

Many world capitals have nice buskers — and a few have even turn into megastars like Ed Sheeran — however few cities supply as beautiful a backdrop. 

“We hearken to music within the metros in Europe however it’s so stunning on the ocean,” stated Berker Colak, a vacationer from Germany who got here to Istanbul along with his fiance.

“The seagulls and the music create a very genuine ambiance, an actual concord.”