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The fine folks at Pharaway Sounds / Guerssen Records have reissued another album by the dynamic Turkish duo Derdiyoklar Ikilisi. Disko Folk, their 1979 album, featured a mind-blowing mix of electric guitar and electro saz. Now the bearded bandmates rise again on Çoban Mamoş, their 1985 record which is available again for the first time since it’s initial release.
Ihsan Güvercin (drums) and Ali Akbar Aydoğan (guitar, saz) hail from the Malatya province in Eastern Turkey. After they finished their required military service, they moved to Germany separately. By 1974 they were performing together in Darmstadt and released their first full-length album in 1979. They gained a bit of a reputation and sold numerous cassettes at weddings and parties. As Turkish immigrants in Germany, they sang their share of anti-xenophobia songs. By the time 1985 rolled around, the duo had run their course and split up a year after the release of Çoban Mamoş. Luckily they put together a tremendous album before Derdiyoklar Ikilisi called it a day.
The first thing you might notice when you look at the cover of Çoban Mamoş is that Ihsan Güvercin (pictured left) and Ali Akbar Aydoğan (right) are sporting shorter hair and beards this time around, reflective of the times no doubt. Similar to Disko Folk, the pair is holding a triple-necked guitar, which appears to be an electric guitar / electro saz hybrid. It is the electro-folk combination of guitar and saz, acoustic and electric, which makes Derdiyoklar Ikilisi’s music so unique. Aydoğan and Güvercin both have excellent voices and harmonize frequently on the record.
Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects about this band is the fact that it’s only two guys. One listen to Çoban Mamoş and you would assume there are at least four to five members. While Derdiyoklar Ikilisi stripped their sound down to mostly guitar and drums for their live shows, they overdubbed plenty in the studio, which gave them endless sonic possibilities. Throughout the album the pair utilize distorted guitars, saz, cimbalom and sheep sound effects to achieve their dynamic tone. With synthesized drums and drum kit knocking out the rhythms, Çoban Mamoş sounds unlike anything you’ve heard before.
Güvercin and Aydoğan have moved on to other projects since the demise of Derdiyoklar Ikilisi, but they reunited on stage in 2001. Let’s hope there will be more appearances in the future. Check out their now iconic 1984 live performance which is well-known in Turkey and throughout Europe. Over the course of ten minutes the duo put on a dramatic show, entertaining the crowd with wild antics. The children in the audience appear bemused by the duo who do everything possible to capture their attention. I doubt any of them have witnessed anything as crazy since. Listen to “Çoban Mamoş” above and pick up the LP/CD as soon as possible.