Erkin Koray – “Cemalim” (1974)
I’ve recently fallen in love with Turkish psychedelic rock. It started a few months back when I started getting into Mazhar ve Fuat and has continued into a full blown obsession with the genre’s godfather, Erkin Koray. Considered to be one of the first Turkish rock musicians, Koray blends traditional Turkish folk music with fuzzed-out riffs and guitar wizardry that combines the sounds of the east and west into otherworldly psychedelia.
“Cemalim” is a traditional Turkish folk song, originally recorded by Ürgüplü Refik Başaran in 1930 and covered by Koray on his second full-length album, Elektronik Türküler. The song, which translates to “My Cemal,” is about a martyr named Cemal (a common Turkish name). While many consider the self-titled Erkin Koray to be the Koray’s debut long player, the album was actually a collection of pre-recorded singles, thus making Elektronik Türküler (translation: Electric Ballads) his first true album. It was reissued in 2012 by Pharaway Sounds, so if you dig around you can likely find the LP.