Calling Istanbul the Whitest City in the World is probably unfair to some city in Ukraine but if you've ever danced at a Turkish wedding you know it can be pretty white here, and frequently souless (afro-Turks notwithstanding!).
Lots of us have been getting our soul fix from Dirk and Ansel's Soul Sendikası radio show, which they host weekly, in Turkish, on Istanbul's Açık Radyo. When they announced the launch of Soul Nights at the Peyote club, we cleared our very busy schedule. So did lots of other folks -- Turks and yabancılar alike.
As DJs, Dirk (Belgian) and Ansel (American) -- to whom we occasionally refer (with only love!) as the whitest guys alive -- bring it. Their VJ (who might be Ayça Yürük, who posted a video of her great work that night here) coordinated with their playlist brilliantly. It was a super fun night.
But, have you ever gone to a bar or a club frequented by homesick immigrants who just want hang out and listen to music that reminds them of the old country? You felt cool and maybe edgy, like you were re-living your teenage years spent grooving in Addis or Guadalajara rather than shoveling horseshit in the rural Pacific Northwest. But you probably didn't notice the old guy sitting in a dark corner alone with his beer, looking at you like "you're on my lawn, would you please step off?"
Well, we've now been both those people.
We would never, ever begrudge Turkish audiences their fill of funk -- in fact, we think it's wonderful that Turks embrace Soul Sendikasi and are developing an appreciation of an important aspect of American culture and what it represents -- but we saw those Soul Train clips when they originally aired! Josie and the Pussycats were at our house on Saturday mornings! We listened to the Jackson 5 on AM radio in morning carpool! That was the music of our youth (true, so was Paul Anka, thanks to the whitest ancestors on the planet)! But that a white girl from Issaquah Washington can appropriate music made by blacks in Detroit is what makes America America.
Anyway, if you're a non-American interested in learning more about a vibrant period in American music or a cranky American nostalgic for a vibrant period of your youth, you shouldn't miss Soul Sendikasi's Soul Night in November.