Filed under: music, the city, Uncategorized | Tags: asmalimescit, istanbul, leaving, music, oi va voi, urban life, video
This year I am again away from Istanbul. This time, I am in USA, on a desert, at a university campus, unlike my Paris experience when I was soaked up with an imperial, cosmopolitan, and artistic city. This is Tucson, AZ, and it has definitely a different story.
However, you never know what you will face in an American university. I was aware of the fact that I was going to “do Turkish studies” but I did not expect such revelation. This semester, I am taking a course on Istanbul and its cosmopolitan characteristic, and I am doing its readings while I am listening to Oi Va Voi, a British group who is making “simply put” Jewish music. I have first heard of them out of Babylon’s posters. Then I had the chance to listen to them, and to adore them, and to never quit listening.
Tonight, I have to finish a book on Renaissance Humanists’ view of the Ottomans, but I had to write this entry despite my schedule. Firstly, let’s listen to this moving piece:
OK, what do we see and/or hear here? Like those experiences where you mix your sight with your sense of smell, or where you see a touch, I have heard a view, a view from Istanbul, especially from Beyoglu, more specifically from Asmalimescit. This posh feeling of that particular quartier, this promoted lifestyle, this eclectically pictured image of Asmalimescit are very well imbued in Oi Va Voi’s music. When you listen to them, you travel to Istanbul, hang out with your best friends, have the most fun at the best clubs at town, get drunk, dance, kiss, don’t mind, shout “whatever”, walk clumsily, and have your soup at the end of the night before your taxi picks you up. This song is where I grew up to be a human, this song is what almost all my friends have left for some years abroad, it is our past, it is the subject of our daydreams, it is the soul of our yearn to Istanbul.
On this very day, September 13, 2010, I feel like a Greek Humanist émigré in Italy, holding an ancient text saved from the fall of Constantinople while I am listening to this song. I don’t belong here but people want to learn from me, I am surrounded by stuff constantly reminding me my fallen city, I am reading my own city at a very distant location.
This is sad, I noted, therefore I continued, cried Ilker at the end “Oi Va Voi”.
“The last time OK Go released a new video, Jay-Z was a Mets fan, Barack Obama was being inducted into the United Federation Of Planets, and this song was a number one hit. Or at least it feels that way. Which is why today is such a very, very good day.”
This is how the band announced the release of their new single, simultaneously with their new video, on their official website, the 9th of November. The single and the video are available to buy on iTunes and the single album is also available on stores since the 17th. Those of you who doesn’t regularly listen to OK Go, may remember them from their “the most fun clip ever” video of their hit single “Here It Goes Again”, also known as “The Treadmill Dancing” video. This video, which is available here, has caused a “let’s make a treadmill dancing video ourselves” fashion and resulted on a number of similar videos to appear on media platforms. But, this was not the first of its kind for OK Go, since before that, in 2005, their video clip for “A Million Ways”, which you can watch here, had created the same effect, giving the band its popularity and fame. Video for “A Million Ways”, also known as “The Back Yard Dancing”, was shoot by the band itself without the knowledge of their label, with a budget of nearly 10 dollars(even their camera was a borrowed one). It became a huge internet phenomenon, being the most downloaded music video by August 2006, with over 9 million downloads. On top of that, the band put a video of 180 fans performing the “A Million Ways” dance for a YouTube contest, in their limited edition CD/DVD release of their album “Oh No”. “Here It Goes” video followed that same spirit and has been viewed over 48 million times (only for one instance of the video) and won 2006 YouTube Award in the Most Creative category. It is not hard to see that the fame of the band came with the amazing popularity of their videos rather than their hit songs. After, “Here It Goes”, other singles they have released in 2006 gave them an important number of fans, only to disappear for almost 3 years, until now.
“Skyscrapers” was already released online on May 7, 2009, pre-announcing their upcoming album “Of The Blue Colour Of The Sky”. The first new single “WTF?” (I know. It sounds good) comes with an original video. After watching the video, I can say that having them back feels very good. It’s the good old OK Go-ish creativity we missed.