Library of
Design, Art and Idea

Street Musicians

29.05.2015
Vol. 10

Birbirinden farklı onlarca kimliği aynı taşlar üzerinde duraklatmayı başarabilen sokak emekçileri...

Street musicians; the heroes of the melody you hear on the way to work in the morning, or maybe the notes of “that song” which mixes up with your night from the corner of the street you take to reach your destination late at night… they are the street workers who make the closest interaction with the children, animals, people of the street, who make you smile for a few seconds while passing before them at least once a day, who could successfully make all those different identities stop to listen to them… -just like a part of the silhouette of the city- blowing a piece of their souls to the streets, corners, churches, squares and city lines these people make the images we watch come true and try to carry art on the street want their freedom back to only do their own works. They know too that there is no “limit” in art.


Cihan Ayhan (soloist and guitarist), playing on the street for 5 years, prefers mostly the ferries.

“What do you think about the security units and the limitations on the ferries? “

“In all developed countries street music which is a culture is also the source of income, occupation of many musicians. However in our country unfortunately we often hear news about street musicians being applied restraint by the municipal force. Recently there was again news like that. In spite of graduated from the conservatory some days I used to make music on the city line ferries to earn some money. But along with the prohibition this became impossible.

Many musicians who lead their lives like that, so to speak are left hungry. I condemn the mentality that put us in the beggar status when there was a chance of people listening to us with pleasure during their journeys.”


Illustration: Esin Bayhan


Hazal Akkerman (cellist), playing on the street for 6-7 years, prefers mostly playing on the European-side metros and streets of Kadıköy.

“What do you think about the interaction of street musicians with the environment and people”

“The biggest advantage of street music is maybe the state of being in one-to-one dialogue with the people. When you are on stage, you find out if your works/songs are appreciated or not much later than when on a street performance. Stage lights, stage equipment are elements for us, namely musicians, that make us understand the psychological state of our audience slowly. However while performing on the street, a contact is established immediately with the audience. Even if the eye-contacts, snipes spoil the concentration of the performer, they are the most concrete states of one-to-one dialectic. This takes the music from the stage, more elitist and well-off audience and maintains that music is for everybody. Music could reach everyone in this way without any class discrimination.”


Reza Hazaveh (tar artist, vocal), playing on the street for 9 years. Prefers mostly İstiklal Street and Büyük Ada. Iranian

What does playing on the street mean to you?

“Iran folkloric music is weird for many people around the world, this is so even for the Iranians. In my own country I had experiences and got feedback from many people. Most of my audience is old because our songs are nostalgic for them. We had young audience after a while because I started playing the same songs in a different style. The reason I make music on the street is to introduce Traditional Iran Folkloric music in Turkey, India or another country. When I combine my own music with the music of other countries, I produce(or I create) new and different sounds for people by including instruments belonging to Iran. The most difficult side of this is the noisy and crowded streets/boulevards. Sometimes I have problems with the police. And the cold weather… Instruments made with leather are sensitive to cold and hot weather. Therefore there are times I miss notes but I keep playing. In my opinion, music is the best language for different cultures and nations.”


Serhat Talay (guitarist, saxophone player), playing on the street for 10 years. Prefers mostly Taksim, European-side metros and streets of Kadıköy.

“What are the difficult sides of street music?”

“Cold weather and cold people! Street is a troubled area. Swearing as well as loving is there. But still, being on the street is like “to exist”!


Serkan Uzun (guitarist and vocal), playing on the street for 4 years. Prefers mostly playing in Taksim.

“Why should there be music on the ferries?”

“Artists take the first steps of ideas on the way of freedom. Music is, just like art, is free as a result of its nature and nature itself. Even though the prohibitions reach the maximum level, as long as the people hum, music creates itself on the street, ferry, in the bars, homes, on the metro, spaceship. On the ferries music suits well with both the beautiful bosphorus, and Istanbul and people. Street musicianship is natural enough anyway. My suggestion to the politicians that would not look at this from the point of art is the free employment. Let the musicians play their instruments and ferries dance”



Photo: Şener Yılmaz Aslan

Vol. 10
Merve Atılgan Mustafa Kula