by Sena Ikizoglu
Music in Turkish dizis is an interesting study in how it accentuates the emotions and intrigue of a given scene. Sometimes a song you may not like in another context suddenly becomes a favorite because of how perfectly it is used or repurposed in a particular scene.
The unifying power of the visuals and sound blend together in harmony, amplifying the effect when it is a song by a famous singer. I often find myself searching for the name of a song after it is played in a scene or, more imaginatively, I find myself connecting songs I know to certain scenes that I feel will benefit from its emotional depth.
A harmonious blend of a good song with a certain scene serves as classical conditioning such that when I hear certain songs, it transports me to that scene, or when I recall a scene I remember the song associated with it. This is a powerful mode of connecting with the Arts.
As a Turkish dizi viewer based in Turkey, I wanted to share some of my favorite pieces of music that capture the power of this unity in memorable ways.
ASK-I-MEMNU – BIR GUNAH GIBI by Ajda Pekkan & Toygar Isikli
Write about Turkish dizis and don’t start with Ask-i Memnu? I couldn’t have done that. I still remember how I felt the moment I heard this song in the background of the scene. The scene itself is overwhelming enough, as Bihter watches Behlul get engaged to Nihal, yet the song has that intensity to catch one unprepared. Let’s have a look at what the lyrics mean:
A page detaches from time/ When you leave my side/ Even at the beginning of this love/ I was dreading the ending/ Like a sin, I hid you/ Nobody has seen you and me/ While I was crying from inside/ My eyes smiled / I hid it like a sin
The song was first published in 1983 in Ajda Pekkan’s album “Superstar ‘83”. In 2009, Toygar Isikli and Ajda Pekkan re-recorded the song for the series. There couldn’t have been a better choice of a soundtrack to describe a “forbidden love”.
KIRALIK ASK – OLMAZSAN OLMAZ by Guliz Ayla
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration if I said Defne & Omer make for one of the most unforgettable couples in diziland. The chemistry between the leads, the beautiful and energetic soundtrack, are engraved in our minds as a romantic comedy that broke many records in its time. Of the many, there is this one particular scene that is memorable for me precisely because of the choice of song placement.
Omer comes home and calls Defne, but she is nowhere to be seen. He thinks that she has left. Just when despair is about to overtake us, a song comes in with a melody that makes you feel full of hope and joy. Then we see that she is actually at home, planting the flowers that she bought. And then the lyrics play their part:
I can’t go on without you/ Without you my flowers won’t grow/ My soil won’t breathe and my gardens wither/
UFAK TEFEK CINAYETLER – SUSPUS by Ceza
I am not very fond of rap but this one is in a league of its own, not so much for the song by itself but in the way it is featured in one of my favorite dizis. They played Ceza’s “Suspus” in a series that I already loved and suddenly I became addicted to this rap song that only existed in the periphery of my music catalogue.
Fun fact: I already knew the song but it felt like I was discovering the song for the first time because the emotion of the scene echoes the tone of the song – the protagonist faces injustice, she’s angry and the antagonist is just making cupcakes in peace. The song is so perfect placed that I had put the song on repeat for the next few WEEKS! Let’s find out a little bit about what lyrics mean:
Can’t see beyond my nose, it’s hazy/ They are chasing, don’t make a noise, hush! / Once my brain had been frozen/ Now I see that my journey ended on a flat place/ (…) I’m lost/ I hope the dream that I saw means something good/ I’m the captain, look, there are many people who go nuts/ Show them the door then let them in from the window/…
NO. 309 – DELI DIVANE by Buray
Even though Buray made most of the soundtrack of this series, and even though all of the songs are amazing, this one stands out. The scene is from the main couple Lale and Onur’s wedding. Everyone – almost everyone – is happy and dancing to this song, which is naturally included in the category of “Songs to lose yourself to dance at a Turkish wedding”. It has that vibe to make you want to dance with people: rhythmic, has clapping, whistling sounds and a choir singing in the background, which is perfect for a celebration! And the lyrics are the declaration of a man who is madly in love:
I fell for this lover/ If only we can find a solution for this/ Oh the heart wants her/ The heart is wild about her (…) If they ask about my heart/ It’s like trapped in its place/ It seems to escape at the earliest opportunity/ God save me/ Before I fall deeper/ My eyes are locked on her lights…
DOLUNAY, CESUR VE GUZEL, UFAK TEFEK CINAYETLER – KUTLAMA by Sezen Aksu
Scene: Cesur Ve Guzel
Scene: Ufak Tefek Cinayetler
This song by the legendary Sezen Aksu has been played in at least these three series’, if not more. At a wedding, at a party or in your kitchen, it doesn’t matter where but, this song must be associated with slow dancing, with the perception firmly cemented thanks to the scenes. The song actually begins with heralding the coming of spring , including names of some flowers and fruits, and then she says “I’m coming to celebrate the spring with you”, that makes you imagine a couple running into each other, and then come these lovely lines:
To lean my head on your shoulder/ To start living life all over again/ I’m coming to wash myself inside-out / In your vineyard, your garden, your fountain
RAMO – ADALETIN BU MU DUNYA? by Selda Bagcan
Narrate a story about survival and justice while you play Selda Bagcan’s “Adaletin Bu Mu Dunya?” and that’s how you speak directly to the conscience. We see Ramo walking through the street, completely clad in black and his expression screams of hopelessness and deep sorrow, as if he’s reflecting on the lyrics with every movement of his body:
I can’t trust my wealth or my properties/ I have no hope in today or tomorrow/ The ground will embrace me too/ Is this your justice, world? / You gave no lovers or properties, world/ You belong to the evil ones, world/ The world that kills the good ones…
With such heart-wrenching words, it feels like the effect of the scene runs in your veins.
ERKENCI KUS – DEVA BIZE SEVISLER by Yalin
Erkenci Kus team must have loved the song so much that they played it in the series more than once. Apart from the global success of Erkenci Kus, it would be fair to say that the production had stellar choice in music for its scenes. They were always on point. Even Demet Ozdemir had sung an original song that was written for the series. Specifically, this song is expressive in a magical way, especially when it is played during Sanem and Can’s reuinion after their long separation, because the song says that “loving is a cure”.
I don’t want your hopes to fade away / If my words are made up of glass/ The justice cannot be bent/ I swear I have never forgotten, sweetheart/ If your skin is my hell/ I won’t think, I’ll just run to you/ …
The list of “Turkish dizis and the songs” can go on indefinitely along with my fangirling heart. If you’ve read this until here, I hope I was able to inspire you to be touched by what touches me. Let’s not let the ship sink but it is time for me to drop anchor so that you can share your favorite combination of scene+song from any dizi of your choice. Please comment below and keep the list going!
Article copyright (c) North America TEN & Sena Ikizoglu.
Born and brought up in Turkey, Sena has had a passion for music and languages from a very young age. An accomplished pianist who loved to explore different genres of music, got interested in the English language through songs. As she pursued Psychological Counseling as a profession, it helped to expand her abilities to interpret life from different perspectives. While she worked in a school in addition a private psychological education club for children, she found an outlet for her passion for music and languages by starting to translate songs on public websites. And that is how she met a member of the North America platform and her journey in this wonderland began. “Translated by Sena” is synonymous with videos on North America TEN, as she is in charge of translating various Turkish content for the platform.
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I don’t find series interesting in general, but I think Turkish music is unique. Definitely not comparable to other oriental countries. I have watched so many different music from many other countries,
unfortunately they have little character. It goes straight into the soul
wonderful article….Especially Ramo 🙂
Thank you for this wonderful article! I think the music is what makes a Turkish Dizi unique, and I love your choices, Especially Olmazen Olmaz. I actually watched Kara Sevda after hearing the musical score.
I love the haunting “Yar” from Merhamet when Ferhat is telling Narin that he can’t get her out of his mind. And Hos Geldin sung by Ebru Sahin when Miran and Reyyan share their first kiss. Then there is their KISS (!) on the bridge accompanied by
Ben Sende Tutuklu Kaldem.
My newer favorites are Yoklugunda from Zemheri where Ayaz and his friends are having an impromptu jam session on the boat. And the entire score of Dogdugun EV
The music choices in the dizis are remarkable; they enhance the scenes to an amazing degree. It’s a real talent I believe, to choose the most appropriate song, especially if it’s not purposely written for the show. The music of Toygar Isikli for Cukur, Kara Sevda, Kuzgun and Carpisma to name just a few; Alpay Goltekin, Zeynep Alasya, Aydilge Sarp..basically every singer/songwriter of every song in Kiralik Ask. The theme tunes to EDHO, Sen Anlat Karadeniz…the list is definitely long.
Wow, this was great. I wish Sena could tell us about some of the iconic music in Karadayi, Kuzey Guney, and Ezel too. I love dizis, and I love the music. Write more, Sena! You are wonderful. I always look forward to your translations, because they make sense and are accurate.!
My most unforgettable song was featured in the sweet cuddly love scene in Siyah Beyaz Aşk between Asli and Ferhat while in the seaside stone cottage (now where have we seen that house before?!) The song is variously translated as “You are my Thug/Hoodlum/Gangster.” Perfect soundtrack while making love with a Mafia hit man!
The song, “Serserim Benim,” was sung by Aşkın Nur Yengi.
It’s featured on this YouTube video accompanying clips from the series showing Asli and Ferhat’s more intimate moments.
Can anyone identify another song I’ve obsessed over but can’t identify? Or identify the artist, at least? It was in the background in Kuzey/Guney, episode 61, love scene between Guney and Melda. I’ve tried lyrics websites to try and find the song but gave up after several hours! Some of the lyrics fragments are: “rain keep coming down on me”; “love come wash away the pain”; “take my heart and set it free.” Here’s the clip:
I wonder if you were able to find the name of the song in the love scene between Guney and Melda? !!
Love this article! Dizi music is like therapy for me. I have so so many favorites. Ben Yuruldum Hayat which I first heard in Hercai broke my heart and I didn’t even know what the words meant at the time. https://vimeo.com/showcase/6084041/video/376683593
Or one of my all time favorites Sensiz Aaadat Neymis sung acapela by the talented Burguzar Korel in Karadayi https://youtu.be/gY3ROr_p5oo
Or the beautiful ode to mothers Annem sung in Siyah Beyaz Ask https://youtu.be/qi8-Y5hZYpA
Or O Gunler song just in a teaser clip of Kuzey Guney https://youtu.be/vT8SPFTjsps
But the list is long! My Turkish dizi music also includes pieces by Toygar Isikli, Cem Adrian, Sezan Aksu, Yildiray Gurgen, and many many others.
Wonderful article Sena.
I can’t agree more with your introduction “The unifying power of the visuals and sound blend together in harmony,”
The connection is powerful indeed. I have a long list of favorites, but the first one that comes to my mind is Toygar’s Hayat Gibi in Kuzey Guney. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g90SkTollzw&ab_channel=KivancTatlitugNorthAmerica
❤❤❤❤❤ I really enjoyed this article. The Turkish dizi’s I find are very touching and enhanced by the choice of music. When it resonates with your heart, I find the scene and the music will forever be imprinted. One of the songs that does that for me is the Theme music from Siyah Beyaz Ask series.
YouTube Siyah Beyaz Aşk Dizi Müzikleri – Jenerik Müziği – Yıldıray Gürgen link
The scene: https://youtu.be/r5uVfhcbFN0 Gives me the shivers it is so hauntingly beautiful.
Thank you Sena for this insightful article.