Selda – Selda (1976)


Throughout the late 60’s and early 70’s, Selda Bağcan traveled around her native Turkey with a guitar and a fierce commitment to promoting free speech and openness in a society that was less than friendly to the arts and any sort of anti-establishment messages. Just like their American counterparts at the same time, artist, musicians, and others on the fringe of Turkish society rallied around Ms. Bağcan, her powerful, beautiful voice rising when there own were silenced and muffled by authority.

This self-titled long player, released in 1976, was a radical reinvention on both a personal level and for Turkish music as a whole. After a few years’ hiatus from her folk career, Selda exploded back onto the scene with the help of some of Turkey’s most forward-thinking musicians. As a result, Selda’s protestant lyrics and calls to action had a newfound backing of blistering psychedelic rock, the likes of which few in the conservative Middle East had ever seen.

While Turkey is a relatively liberal and free place compared to the rest of the Middle East, it was still unheard of for a woman musician to have command of such powerful and straight up ballsy music. Her previously quiet musings now packed a hell of an electrical punch, bringing undesired attention from the Turkish government who believed this new style would have the power to incite riots. Take one listen to songs like ‘Ince Ince’ and you’ll realize that they were probably right. Other songs like “Dam Üstüne Çul Serer” drip with the exotic, forlorn beauty of her earlier folk work while utilizing some of the earliest synthesizers to broaden the sonic palette.

Personally, a love of geography and history adds even more to the music for me. I know next to nothing about Turkish society in the 1970’s, but the blend of raucous Western rock with her native language, melodies, and instrumentation paint such a vivid picture. I can almost feel the sun beating down on my face and the bellbottoms on my legs as a walk through an Anatolian bazaar, dodging Volkswagen Bugs and goat-led carts in equal measure while the thumping breaks of “Gitme” blast from my boombox.

Considering the circumstances, a woman like Ms. Bağcan should have never been able to make a blistering, psychedelic rallying cry to the ideological fringe of 1970’s Turkey. The fact that she did all of this and much, much more is a testament to the strength and ingenuity of one of the most criminally underrated musicians of her time. Hopefully, thanks to the efforts of labels like Finders Keepers who have made her music available to an entirely new audience, this icon will finally get the recognition she deserves. If you like this album, definitely order the album from Finders Keepers so that they can keep on releasing amazing gems like this. I bought the MP3 version myself, but I’m sure it sounds insane on vinyl.

Standout Tracks: “Ince Ince”, “Gitme”, “Dam Üstüne Çul Serer”


– Brian B.


2 Responses to “Selda – Selda (1976)”

  1. courtney Says:

    this is awesome, how did you find this??

    • Brian Says:

      i originally found it from a song of hers being sampled on the track “Heavy” by Oh No, which Mos Def then used for his song “Supermagic”

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