City of beauty and life ought to have countless songs devoted to its uniqueness. As Istanbul continues to glimmer with its qualities, it manages to be a never-dying inspiration for art. A canvas for paintings and a pen for poems, Istanbul has a distinguishable influence over artists as a city. Apart from its inspirational views, its rich historical presence is one aspect that defines the value of art produced in Istanbul. The city manages to establish a common connection between artists. As life goes on, a number of songs devoted to this city continue to flourish. Whether it’s a sorrowful song about going through heartbreak in the streets of Ortaköy or the fascinating feeling one receives over the energy of Istanbul, all of these songs manage to portray Istanbul in their unique ways. Let us take a closer look at some of the most famous songs about Istanbul.
One of the unique music bands of Turkey, MFÖ is an initiative led by famous Turkish artists Mazhar Alanson, Fuat Güner, and Özkan Uğur as band’s name comes from the initials of each artist. Known as one of the first Turkish bands to produce rock music nationwide, MFÖ is active since the 1970s. “Bu Sabah Yağmur Var Istanbul’da” is a song about love with the background of a rainy Istanbul. This sad and desperate song about one’s love is one of the most famous songs by MFÖ.
With her amazing songs, Sezen Aksu is one of the most known Turkish artists of all time. Born in 1954, she managed to pave the path of Turkish pop music on her own, starting in the 1970s. In “Istanbul Istanbul Olalı,” written and composed by Sezen Aksu, she essentially shares her broken heart with people who live in Istanbul.
This humorous song about the transition of Istanbul’s name from Constantinople is one of the most known songs about Istanbul. Originally written and composed by the Four Lads, this song received its fame when the American band They Might Be Giants covered it in 1989. A good product of pop culture as well, this song is somewhat joyful to listen.
Famous both in Balkan countries and Turkey, Katibim Türküsü is about the singer’s clerk and their travel to the renowned district of Istanbul, Üsküdar. With a history that reaches way back to the 18th century, Katibim Türküsü has countless adaptations from Europe to the Middle East. Records done by Safiye Ayla in 1949 is the most renowned version of this song.
This progressive song about worker rights and power is composed version of famous Turkish poet Vedat Türkali’s poem with the same name. A touching story of hardship and suffering of the working class, Bekle Bizi Istanbul has a significant influence as it apprehends the beauties of Istanbul.
Teoman manages to find the shared feelings that people experience about autumn in Istanbul in a melancholic manner. In this slow-paced song, Teoman likens Istanbul as a woman while referencing famous landmarks of the city as her qualities.
With the thoughtful words taken from Yahya Kemal Beyatlı’s poem and the composition of talented Turkish musician Münir Nurettin Selçuk, Aziz Istanbul is one of the most well-known songs about Istanbul. This song is one of the examples of Turkish Classical Music, and it has an important place in Turkish people’s hearts.
Marc Aryan is a Belgian composer and singer with Armenian origins. He is an admirer of Turkish culture and Turkey. Known for his Turkish and French songs, Marc Aryan is greatly respected in the Turkish music community. Among many concerts he gave in Turkey between the 1960s and 1970s, Marc Aryan wrote “Istanbul” in French. In the song, he initially focuses on the mosques of Istanbul and the Bosphorus. The song’s focus later shifts from the beauty of Istanbul to his dreams about Istanbul, including lovers and friends.