Netherlands-based band, Altin Gün, has reached audiences across the world with their psychedelic, disco-laced reinterpretations of traditional Turkish folk songs. We got to see the Turkish-Dutch ensemble bring their signature 1970s psychedelia to Brooklyn Steel, one of many stops on their big North American tour. The band’s lineup includes Merve Daşdemir (vocals and keyboard), Erdinç Ecevit (vocals, keyboard, and saz), Thijs Elzingaa (electric guitar), Jasper Verhulst (bass), Daniel Smienk (drums), and Chris Bruining (percussion). The band was founded by Jasper as part of a revival of 1970s Anatolian rock.
An electric opening set from Brazilian samba-funk artist, Rogê, accompanied only by a drummer, got the ecstatic community of Altin Gün hyped for a mesmerizing night. He cured our Monday blues with his spell-binding guitar skill and infectious energy. As Altin Gün’s six members filed onto the stage, they were met with a rhapsody of applause. They opened the show with “Rakiya Su Katamam,” the lead single from their most recent project, Aşk. The album emulates the psych-rock sound of their previous albums, but their use of traditional recording tools and methods gives it a distinctly vintage feel. This unique production allowed them to channel true 1970s nostalgia with a sound that evokes the live concert experience.
They performed songs such as “Leyla” and “Vay Dünya” from Gece, the 2019 album that earned them a GRAMMY Award nomination for “Best World Album.” It was easy to get lost in the band’s hypnotic melodies, Ecevit’s vibrant plucking of the electric saz (a long necked lute traditional to Turkish folk music), and the dreaminess of Daşdemir’s vocals. When the band began to play “Cicekler Ekiliyor” from their debut album, On (2018), nearly every hand in the building raised into the air and snapped along to the beat of this crowd favorite. The performance continued in a weaving exploration of the band’s four full-length albums, and ended with a two song encore of “Goca Dünya” and “Kirşehirin Gülleri.”
Altin Gün’s catalog is a kaleidoscopic collision of Turkish folk music and 1970s rock. They’ve infused the polyrhythms and melodic richness that characterize Turkish folk music with the bold and funky beats of rock. This union of two distinct musical sounds is best exhibited through their vibrant live performances. Their reinventions of these classic songs are many-hued and fantastic at commanding the undivided attention of a live audience. Any opportunity to witness Altin Gün in person is one that should not be missed!
📸: shot by Maggie Miles