Green Pop

From, an essay by Dorian Jones on Islamic rock music in Turkey. Click here. I find it interesting that the pop musicians wish to add the expressiveness of  “shouting and crying” which they find in rock to religious music, which is too “soft”. Reminds me of the increasing popularity (especially in Africa and South America) of new forms of Christian worship that engage the emotions through shouting and trance and speaking in tongues over straight liturgy- and bible-based  worship. The appeal is that the individual has a direct,  unmediated, personal experience of God (Kind of like a Sufi). In the case of Yesil Pop, however, the musician interviewed in the essay makes it seem that expressiveness is a howl of protest at the wold’s lack of social justice, rather than an expression of faith. But also a step away from any kind of text-based, ritual-based worship. Is anyone rapping the Quran?

I looked on the web and didn’t find a lot of shouting Yesil Pop. Here’s a performance by Feridun Özdemir, which reminds me of rather unoriginal old-fashioned soft pop, but with dervishes.

An excerpt from the essay:

The growing modern Islamic music movement has been dubbed by the Turkish media Yesil or “green pop”. With some albums selling more than a million copies the music easily outstrips popular western music…

It draws on a wide range of influences from rock to reggae to dance, but unlike its secular Turkish pop counterpart there are no women singers… Yesil pop videos are as highly produced as their Turkish secular counterparts, but without the images of sexily dressed women usually seen on Turkish television. Islamic media too has exploded on to the scene, with TV and radio stations broadcasting the music…

Such is the division in Turkey few secular people are even aware of the music. Assistant Professor Songul Ata of Istanbul Technical University, is one of the few secular people to have studied the Yesil pop phenomena. Ata says its success is a reaction to the explosion in western culture in Turkey and a desire by many to protect their identity. But she is concerned about the message the music carries.

“I think this is dangerous because it’s, ‘My God, you know everything,’ all the time, and they repeat many times ‘God is great, and they sing about paradise. This kind of fatalism is not good for the people. People don’t think of science. Only God knows everything.”…

But [Yesil pop musician] Feridun Özdemir dismisses such concerns, arguing like any other rock music it is just reflecting the times, in a way young people can relate to. “At the root of rock music is shouting and crying; that is how you express yourself with the music, the rhythms. But traditional religious music is very soft. But in the world we live in today, there is war, countries are being invaded there all these killings… I want to express myself through shouting and crying, which I think young people can relate to….


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