We’re ready for a brand new beat. Bring on the göbek atmak!
Early in 2014, my cousin – an Istanbullu through and through – invited my friends and me to a concert in Beyoğlu, the beating heart of the city’s art scene. He assured us that the neighbourhood, with its alleys lined with dozens of bars and performance spaces, was the best place to spend a dreary February night. Removing a stack of tickets from his coat pocket, he added that Kolektif Istanbul was playing at the Babylon nightclub. ‘No one puts on a better show’, he said
We got to Babylon at around nine or nine-thirty, when the other concertgoers were still having private conversations over drinks, and checked our coats before walking to the stage. Some minutes later, the energy in the room shifted. People left their posts at the fringes of the dance- floor and congregated in the centre, turning away from one another to look up at the six musicians who had just taken the stage. With their instruments in hand, the band must have felt that the room could not wait any longer, and, seconds later, launched into an infectious brass melody. After two hours of dancing to songs we had never heard before – at least, not in a 9/8 time signature – I had become a follower of Kolektif Istanbul.