Culture, Life

Baris Manco: Turkish music legend, cultural envoy

Combining traditional Turkish music with rock influences, Manco was Turkey's 'brother Baris', beloved by all ages

Dilara Hamit   | 01.02.2020
Baris Manco: Turkish music legend, cultural envoy ( AA - Anadolu Ajansı )


Baris Manco, one of Turkey's most important figures -- known as a cultural envoy of the country, a singer, composer, television host and actor -- is commemorated 21 years after his passing.

Manco was one of the first in Turkey to sport long hair, silver jewelry, and authentic stage costumes during the period of black and white television.

When asked where he was from he would say "from the world" because he was also a traveler and cultural ambassador of Turkey.

He traveled to nearly 150 countries, from the equator to the Arctic, and told people about those cultures on his television show, which was broadcasted from 1988 until his death.

He was born Jan. 2, 1943, in Istanbul during World War II, hence his named Baris, which means “peace” in the Turkish language, to celebrate the end of the war.

Manco received his early education at Galatasaray High School in Istanbul and graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Belgium in 1969, where he studied graphic and textile design.

His interest in music began during high school where he formed a band named 'Kafadarlar', meaning 'Buddies'.

The father of Turkish rock recorded his first single in the early 60s with his next band, Harmoniler, (The Harmonies), which is one of the first examples of the Anatolian rock genre combining a Turkish folk song with rock instruments.

In 1970, he formed Baris Manco Ve ..., or Baris Manco and ... -- recording their first hit single, Daglar Daglar (Mountains, Mountains) which sold more than 700,000 copies.

Manco modernized folk poets with diverse themes in lyrics by combining ethnic folk-rock themes.

He later formed the legendary Kurtalan Ekspres in 1972, the band led until his death. His first and only live album was released after he toured with Kurtalan Ekspres in Japan in 1996.

In 1978, he married Lale Caglar and had two children, Dogukan Hazar and Batikan Zorbey.

The artist impressed everyone when he started his television career in 1988, directing and presenting ''7'den 77'ye" (From 7 to 77).

The show and aired for 10 years and was a combination of a talk show, music, and documentary.

In the 90s, he became more popular across the world, as 20,000 fans attended his live concert in Japan, where Turkish and Japanese flags were waved in harmony.

Manco wrote and recorded more than 200 songs over during his career with many translated into English, Japanese, French, Italian, Greek, Persian, and Arabic.

Suffering a heart attack, Manco died Jan. 31,1999, just before the release of his album Mancoloji, celebrating 40 years in music.

Hundreds of thousands of people gathered together in Istanbul for his funeral, showing the late Turkish legend that he was loved by all ages.

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