It is undeniable. The sixties had a tremendous affect on the average American psyche. Free thinking and expression of individuality was suddenly widespread, much to the dismay of the still traditionalist American government. But it wasn’t just America alone. England played perhaps the most vital role for the new culture in the entire world, as it provided the voice for the revolutionaries; Rock music. Rock and Roll would play a gargantuan role in the process of expression, as many of the artists that were writing and releasing the music that spurred on millions held very similar ideals. Just how big of an impact could a simple genre of music have on the American way of life? Let me put it this way. In the seventies, the FBI was ordered to tail and keep tabs on one John Winston Ono Lennon. Phone calls were tapped, spies were at his Dakota residence around the clock, and any contacts he had were investigated as well. Why? The administration feared that Lennon’s songs and comments in newspapers would inspire millions to vote for the opposing candidate during the next presidential election. Obviously, the happenings of the sixties were felt all throughout the United States. So, here’s a question. How did it affect the Middle East?
The Middle East has never been known for embracing Western culture. Indeed, in many countries today, television, radios, and things of that ilk are still outlawed, or else extremely taboo. And yet, ideals and stylings of perhaps the most decadent time in American history were more or less embraced in this western-culture wasteland. Turkey, in particular, was fascinated by rock music, and began creating songs of their own to try and recreate the sounds their western hero’s were creating. While recording technology was still relatively primitive at the time, there were indeed records made; records that somehow ended up in these very United States. Enter: Hava Narghile
A collection of Turkish rock music spanning from 1966 to 1975, Hava Narghile
contains almost what you’d expect; a bunch of weird bands playing heavily Middle-Eastern flavored classic rock, and for your listening and analytic pleasure, Turkish lyrics. While there is the occasional tune in English, quite frankly, the Turkish numbers are far more exuberant. One can certainly detect the amateur feel to all of the songs, and without a doubt you will know who they’re trying to emulate. While many of the songs are more or less enjoyable, a horrible process we’ll refer to as “chafing" occurs if you attempt to listen to the whole CD in one sitting. Adding to the problem is the fact that ¾ of the sings have Turkish names, and therefore are difficult to pronounce and/or memorize. The reason this chafing occurs is hard to pinpoint. There are many things that could be the source of the problem, for example the over-load of Turkish lyrics. These are refreshing at first, but as time and the album go on, you might find yourself annoyed with the band and the fact that you’ve no idea what their message is.
The songs themselves range from straight-up Middle-Eastern folk tunes to Beatles’ inspired rock and roll. Indeed, simplistic drumming and vocal harmonies are often unleashed upon the unsuspecting listener, and despite their best efforts, taking them seriously is often a rather intricate task. There isn’t an abundance of musicianship on the record, but there is the occasional guitar solo, and they’re (oddly enough) usually performed well. Following the early sixties route, the majority of the tunes last from around two-and-a-half minutes to three, rarely going over three-thirty. On display however, is some clever songwriting, and even if they do scream "Amateur", they do exude a charm and presence that only musicians from a completely different culture could display.
WHO IS THIS ALBUM FOR AND WHERE DO I GET IT?
A fine question indeed. This album can be enjoyed by many a diverse person. From the musically curious to the die-hard classic rock fan, almost anyone
can put on this album and enjoy it at least once. The reason? It’s an interesting compilation with some good songs. Also, it’s from friggin’ Turkey, and that’s kind of uncommon.
While I have yet to run across this album in any stores, a fairly easy internet search shall yield results, and for a cheap price, you could indulge in the Turkish bliss that is Hava Narghile
. There really isn’t much more to say.