Tavern music in Turkey during the 1980s was something symbolized with keyboards where an accompany module was placed. Solo singer and pianists performed in nightclubs. If your childhood has passed during the 1980s, you would see those entertainers using the word “tavern”. On the other hand, Greek Tavern didn’t correspond to this solo entertainers who had a mixed repertoire. This was a situation continued till the Davos Agreement between Turkey and Greece in 1987.
If you had already witnessed the night life till 1974, tavern music would mean an entertainment where Greek laiko, Armenian and popular Turkish music were performed. It created its own stars such as Rişar, Rita, Hayko, Nişaniko, Yorgo Vapourides, Alex, Dimitris Orfonidis and fabulous bands such as Kupa 4 (In Turkish they are called as Kupa Dörtlüsü and sometimes Kupa Dörtlüsü Orkestrası but we will prefer Kupa 4 for universal readers) and Bergama Orchestra. The period of 1930-1974 was the golden period of Greek music in Turkey which denotes a period between signature of Ankara Agreement and Turkey’s military intervension of Northern Cyprus.
The period in between 1974 and 1987 was a period of darkness for the minorities and the multiculturalism in Turkey. The soul of laiko was far way. Even the famous tavern singer Hayko was recording a cassette album where he followed the path of a highly oriental musical sources.
Starting with 1987 we began to witness an atmosphere of fraternity for Greece which was preceded by Livaneli’s cooperation with Mikis Theodorakis both in their joint album “Together” or “Güneş Topla Benim İçin” and their concert in Turkey. After the Davos agreement, veteran singer Alex made an album named “Davos Ruhu” (The Spirit of Davos) and Nişaniko made an album named “Tavernada Nişaniko” (Nişaniko in Tavern) . Beginning with 1990 Fedon made a fame both as an album and live singer of taverns. Fedon generally made a repertoire formed of a contemporary laiko songs from Parios, Mousafiris which were well known with the performances of Litza Diamanti and Marinella. Fedon also made the Turkish adaptations of these song such as Leie Leie and Lege Mou Sagapo. Fedon was a tailor before and his first appearance on stage happened while he was in his forties. Not only Fedon but also veteran tavern singer Hayko was on stage as well now returning to his roots. Both Fedon and hayko made albums during 1990s and reflected the electricity on stage.
The Greek wind affected a large variety of musicians such as Selçuk Ural (with his album Yıllar Sonra from 1987), Aşkın Nur Yengi (in her first album Sevgiliye from 1990), Alpay (especially in Hayalimdeki Resim (1987), Gitme (1990) and Senin İçin (1991) ).
By all these Greek waves in Turkey we started to call everything coming from Greece as “tavern music” . On the other hand it also took some time for us to figure out that not every tavern was a place of a musical entertainment. But of course the touristic approach such as Greek Night , Turkish Night etc. shadowed the real nature of tavern.
So Let’s Be More Clear !
Firstly, tavern is a place and this place is not only a Greek type of place. Latin and Greek Taverns are the most well known ones. According to Cambridge Dictionary it has two meanings of which first one is “a place where liquors are sold to be consumed on the premises.” and the other is “a public house for travelers and others; inn.”. If we refer to the definition of Greek Tavern, it is “restaurant with exceptionally limited menu with most of its food comprised of fresh meat, poultry, and fish, cooked to order upon a customer’s request” . If you are surprised and feel ignorant, never mind because even in Greece, this distinction is not so clear. But if you would like the learn the right terminology you should be using the term “bouzoukia”. In bouzoukia the eatery concept is almost the same while in addition you can get music, entertainment , belly dance and even break some plates as your service.
These Fedonist (a new concept inspired by hedonism and Fedon) places are bouzoukias where we misconceptualize as taverns. Some bouzoukias are family taverns while some of them are places where you can be even accompanied by some female staff ofwhich some are singers as well.
The music we call as tavern music is indeed a chain of tradition of rembetiko, eleftera tragoudia and laiko. That means there is no category of tavern music. On the other hand we will be using the term tavern music especially because that meant a certain thing in Turkey although it is terminologically not true. In Turkey context these genres were altogether classified as tavern or Roum Music.
Kupa 4 (Kupa Dörtlüsü in Turkish but stated as Kupa 4 for overcoming language barriers) which covers the story of this article was a unque band which had a great contribution of an electric and a groovy performance of tavern music between 1968-74. Kupa 4 was a symbol of the last drop of a multicultural and a multi religion Turkey . After the end of this band the preeceeding period meant a complete collapse of a spare time sociology and a multi cultural entertainment sector and of course a collapse of Turkish record market.
The only unchanging/ constant member of the band was Rişar (also known as Richard while his real name is Rihardos Preloredzos-Ριχαρδος Πρελορεντζος) who was born of a Roum and Italian parents in 18th December 1940 in İstanbul-Constantinopolis. Although his education was limited to elementary school, he was a selfthought person that had skills in poetry, lyrics writing and entrepreneurship. Later on he would add virtues in drumming and singing to his talents. Rişar began a musical career following his mandatory military service in Ankara circa 1960. This musical career expanded both Turkey and Greece with a high motivation of entertaining audience and himself with a unique music.
The processor of Kupa 4 was Tekero Quartet. The band was formed of Jani Stil (Γιάννης Στιλιανου) on guitar, Jimmy Abako (Τζιμη Αβακο) on bass and vocals and Rişar on drums in 1963. Hilmi Dural (Mimi) joined the band with his accordion afterwards. After the formation of the band Mimi also began to use organ which was at first a Philichorda. Some time later Rişar left the band for making a show programme with a chanteuse forwhom he was keen on. In that short period Rişar quited playing drums and began a solo and duet singer. After a heartbreaking departing with that chanteuse Rişar returned to his band. The band changed forms and even during a short leaving of Jani Stil they performed with the name “Trio Tekero and Şantör (Singer) Laki” . Laki was also a guitar player. This band also performed the fabulous İstanbul club named “Klöb X” . In an advertisement published in the newspaper Milliyet in 22.10.1965, we see that the band was sharing the same stage with the famous Italian singer Little Tony. Probably in the beginning of 1966,the band migrated to the nightclub named Reks in Sarıyer. In this line up a new guitarist named Yanakas and Rita joined the band. Rita was the new chanteuse of the band and later on would be the girlfriend and wife of Rişar.
In 1968, they began to perform in Bebek Yıldız Restaurant. They used the name “Rita & Tekero” as we see from an advertisement in Milliyet in 20.12.1968. In 1968 Jani Stil was back in the band.
While the band was known as Tekero Quartet on stage they were gradually transforming to Kupa 4 (Kupa Dörtlüsü in Turkish but used as Kupa 4 for a better pronounciation). On the other hand, the first incident of transformation happened in their first vinyl record. In September 1968 they released their first 7 inch single on behalf of Sahibinin Sesi (HMV in Turkey). In this record they performed 2 songs namely “Sarışınım/Esmerim” (My Blondie/My Brunette). In this record “Sarışınım” which was a composition of the organist Hilmi Dural and was performed by Rişar. The lyrics of this song belonged to Selim Naşit Özcan who was a well known theatre and movie actor who was sharing one floor of a 3 floor house with Rişar and his family. This original composition was not a laiko song but reflected the musical atmosphere created by beat groups that contributed the formation of the Golden Microphone Contest sound. Mimi was born of a Roum (Greek) mother and a Turkish father in Tarlabaşı where a person could learn upto 6 languages such as Turkish, Greek, Armenian, Ladino-Hebrew, Italian in a childhood time in 1943. He had classical piano lessons from a Greek tutor. After the military service he began to work in a printing house where his hand was stuck in one of the machines and faced a threat of amputation. Fortunately they convinced the doctor of the importance of this heavily damaged hand for his life as a musician and after a painful surgery the hand was survived. The hand recovered after a while that he joined the band, but till the recovery Mimi carried out the heavy work with one full functioned hand. Soon after the recovery Mimi was both arranger, organist, composer and accordionist of the band.
The flip side was an adapted laiko song which was performed by Jimmy as the vocalist. The arrangement belonged to Jani (Cani) Stil and the lyrics were Rişar’s as this also was a start for Rişar’s longlasting career of lyrics writer and song adapter.
In both songs in addition to the lead vocalist the other vocalist made back vocals for his band mate. Mimi’s killer organ sounds and Jani’s bouzouki sound surf guitar formed a groovy and a western start for the band.
The formation of Kupa 4 in record business accelerated the decision of using the same name on stage. In the new band Rişar and Jimmy Abako were the two singers along with Rita. This created a problem in means of being a band mate and Abako and Rişar were put into a rival position. Therefore Jimmy prefered to leave the band and by this decision Rişar became the leader of the band. The real name of Rişar was Ριχαρδος Πρελορεντζος (Rihardos Preloredzos) and he was also from the neighbourhood of Cihangir in Istanbul. He lost his father when he was only a baby. His father was a citizien of Greece and during the invasion of Greece by Germany he went to fight against Nazis. When he was returning to Turkey their ship was shot by German missiles and he was killed in the Agean Sea. Rişar was an orphan but he had a great aura that attracked people which brought him success in entertainment sector. His mother remarried in 1950s. When he, his mother his step father went to Kireçburnu for a summer vacation in 1955; the notorious 6-7 September 1955 barbaric attacks happened in Turkey. Luckily the Turkish community in Kireçburnu prevented the barbaric zombie crowd from attacking the non muslim people especially the roums at that location. Saying that “Get away there are no Roums/Greeks in this region”. Fikret Babalı who would be the next guitarist of the band also remembers these two days as something he is ashamed of as a Turk after seeing all these attacks and plunder. In his memories he remembers that there were piles of clothes in Pera and the ones who peculated the belongings of their neigbours.
Not only 6-7 September 1955 but also tension rising events between Turkey and Greece affected the Roums in Turkey in the worst way. In 1964 when Ankara Aggrement was ebolished, the Roums in Istanbul were sent back to Greece. Although the content was only the ones that were in Greece nationality poractically the ones with Turkish passports were also affected by this. In meantime Rişar was making a duo show with his sweetheart of that period. With the beginning of Cyprus incidents and the slaughtering of a Turkish family, racism showed back and Rişar was dismissed from the club he was working with defamation. These two events surely broke his heart but didn’t cause a decision for leaving Turkey; but continued his optimism which was indeed a great favor for the sustaining of laiko culture in Turkey.
Hilmi Dural was the other fundamental musician of the band. His father was a Turk while mother was Roum. He was a multi cultural guy as a person born and grown up in a multicultural community. His first instrument was an accordion but in his 11 he began to be trained as a classical music pianist; after the accident he first played accordion then shifted to organ. He first played a Philichorda which had a problem with its “F #” key. This also created stage accidents which could easily be turned into a stage show. Later on he changed his organ with Farfisa Compact.
Jani Stil (Giannis Stillianos) whose name was always written is Jani; Janni or Cani Stil etc. was a member of relatively an elder generation as he and his brother Corc Stil (Giorgos Stillianos, George Still) were born in late 1920s. He was the type of a guitarist who played in a surf guitar form which imititates bouzouki like wise Aris San. His brother was also one of the first tavern type of electric guitarists of Turkey.
Jimmy Abako was both the bass player and the solo vocalist of the band. Although he died in a very young age he left 3 solo singles and and one with the band behind him. He was fluent in singing both Turkish and Greek.
In 1969, Jimmy abako left the band as Rişar became the other and the rising singer of the band. He thought that a band can not go on with 2 singers and began a solo career following another band career with Bergama Orchestra.
After Jimmy’s departure a young bass guitarist joined the band named Selahattin Bengisu. His brother Münir Bengisu was playing piano in the band of Roberto Lorano who was the cha cha king of Turkey. Selahattin was a Pera guy and they were managing a lostro saloon in Pera as a family business. Rişar as a sheek stage person was visiting this saloon for getting his shoes polished almost every day.
Kupa 4 contineud to play with their drummer Rişar as the vocalist and in addition to Rişar his girlfriend Rita was also the chanteuse that the band accompanied. After the departure of Jani Stil, the band began to play as a trio plus Rita. At the first time period that Tekero transformed to Kupa 4, the band was playing in Bebek Yıldız. Following Jani’s departure the band made a new contract with a night club in Büyükdere. The owner of the club was named Strato. In the club next to Strato a young guitarist named Fikret Babalı was playing with Nejat Tarlan Orchestra.
Babalı’s family was from Thesalloniki and the whole family was living in Fener where was mostly inhabited with Roum (Greek) people. In his neigbourhood he grew up with the Roum musicians and these musicians affected him a lot. He became a professional musician with Güngör Özkartal. They worked together in Karagöz Tavern in Kadıköy (Khalkedon) in June 1968. In this tavern, Özkartal was playing accordion while Jorj Kostof was on bass, Saim Gencer on drums. This band accompanied Ümit Güven, Tülay Ünsal, Metin Duran and Serap Sim. Babalı was so eager to join Nejat Tarlan’s orchestra in Karpiç for the opportunity to make a good conventional music; but things were changing after 11 pm every night like a pumpkin cartridge as he was obliged to play guitar in between customer tables. He resisted this saying that his cable was short; but when the club owner provided him a longer cable next night he was obliged to play reluctantly.
When he got a proposal from Kupa 4 with the mediation of Selahattin, and cheered up feeling that the nightmare was over. Before that proposal, he heard from a impresario named Domeniko that the band didn’t accept Turks among them. So this rumour became a soap bubble.
With the joining of Fikret Babalı, the band became stable and he would be the second most steady member after Rişar beginning with 1969. His sound depended on his Echo branded electric guitar he used between 1969-73. After 1973 he continued with a Fender he bought in a Cyprus Tour with Hayko and Füsun Önal and consequently Zafer Şener from Bergama Orchestra bought his ex guitar, Echo.
The first recordings of this lineup were the ones they did for their old pal Jimmy Abako. At that period Jimmy made a contract with Emel records. Kemal Uzunca was the producer of these records. Both of these records were performed in Greek.
These records were “Ama Thes Na Fiyis Fiye / Çiftetelli Pehnidiariko” (101), “Opa Lala / Tha Su Doso Ta Papuçyasusto Heri” (103) and “ Den Katalaveno Tipota / Ksimeroni Ke Vradiazi” (105). In these recordings Fikret Babalı was heard playing bouzouki for the first time.
In the end of 1969, the band made a contract with a tavern named Altın Balık (Golden Fish). The band lived its golden years in Altın Balık. In addition to Rişar and Rita, the band also began to accompany Hayko (Tataryan) on stage. Hayko had first experienced the stage in 1968 during his military service; and became professional in Yurdaer Taverna which was founded by the famous guitarist Yurdaer Doğulu. In his first tavern advertisement both the names “Hayko” and “Hayk Aram” are used. Hayko’s repertoire made of Armenian and Turkish pop songs were in a similar traffic and had a similar sound with the Kupa 4’s Greek and multi lingual repertoire. After this cooperation had begun, Kupa 4 automatically had 3 solo vocalists Rişar, Rita and Hayko.
Their repertoire was flexible according to the majority of the customers in that tavern. Hayko sang in Turkish, Armenian and Greek; while Rişar was singing in Greek, Turkish, Hebrew, Italian and Arabic . In their first era in Altın Balık, the line up of the nightly programme was Rita, Hayko, Berna Erdem (chateusse), Nadya (belly dancer), Mualla (chateusse), Buzuki Yorgo (Bouzouki Giorgos) and of course Kupa 4 and Rişar.
In 28th January 1970 the advertisement implied a change in the line up. In this context Hayko became the headliner and Leyla Fırat (replacement for Mualla and Berna Erdem) and Parazitler (Parasites-A comedy duo) joined the line up.
In 13th March 1970 Rita left the night club because of various reasons such as her debate of being headliner with Hayko and the band’s attitude about not having two vocalists that get a higher nightly payment.
Rişar was already having a double payment as he was the singer, leader of the group and also the announcer of the whole nightclub programme; therefore the band mates rejected a system where a double soloists existed. Therefore Rita began to work in Façoli Tavern with Jimmy Abako who was at the moment only a vocalist as he quitted playing bass. After Rita had left Altın Balık, Tülin Öz and Buzuki Çiço (pronounced as Bouzouki Chicho) joined the club programme. One of Çiço’s parents was Turk, while the other was Roum (Greek). Çiço had a separate show but he would also accompany Kupa 4 in some of their 7 inch records.
From Erdoğan Sezgün’s photo archieve Erdoğan Sezgün (guitar), Rita and Rişar who came to the club that Rita performed as a guest appeareance (Excerpted from Sarko Yazmacı)
The band was in the middle of attraction in Altın Balık not with only their energetic and powerful music but also the stage show they were performing. Rişar was the vocalist and the drummer who could sing while playing drums and percussion and was getting a great fame with his drum playing in a standing position. He could even sing hard songs like Granada while playing drums and percussion such as bongo and toumba. His tremolos with the cymbals while playing zeibekiko was very unique while performing Greek Zeibekiko. Mimi was also a spontenous and creative organist that can improvise easily. He could even make taxims (solos) with his feet as a part of the show while Rişar joins the audience with the hi-hat in his arms and Selahattin Bengisu played his Hohner bass while dancing. He played his bass like a hard rock bassist that he could pluck his “E” string. Fikret Babalı was a musician who could play his guitar like bouzouki following the tradition of Aris San, Jani and George Stil brothers. With his guitar he was also giving the feeling of rock and surf.
The band could transform the crisis into opportunities as well. One night in Sotiri, both misfortunes took place all together and a drama transformed to comedy. They were playing in an extremely narrow stage ofwhich height was about 25 cm. At first “F#” key in Mimi’s Philichorda began to sustain; at the same time “E” string of Selahattin’s bass gave way while he was dancing with his spiral line. Was it all? Of course not Rita’s microphone line came off. Last but not least Rişar’s kick drum began to roll into the audience who were burst into laughter. Following night some people from the previous audience asked when the band would make the show they did previous night as they had perceived all these as the part of the show.
Rişar was the leader of the band. One of the most important contributions he did to the band was to achieve to sign a record contract for the band. With this new contract the real laiko side of Kupa 4 appeared with the powerful Turkish lyrics Rİşar wrote for the band. After the one time record business with HMV, the band signed a contract with Murat Plak which was an absolute beginner in the music sector.
Rişar first recorded Mandoubala with Kupa 4 with the contribution of Buzuki Çiço. Rişar both sang with Turkish and original Greek lyrics. Rişar took the tape of Mandoubala and fetched it to Murat İncesaraç, the owner of Murat Records. Murat was reluctant at first; but couldn’t resist Rişar’s proposal as no payment for the first 1000 copies and 50 kouroush (half a lira) for each sold copy after the first 1000 copies. Murat accepted this proposal and the single “Mandubala Tatlı Sevgilim / Affet Beni” (Mİ 439) was released and sold over 20.000 copies. One of the locations that the record was sold at the highest amounts was Republic of Cyprus. Fikret Babalı was the arranger of this record. Çiço was playing bouzouki in this record. Although Çiço was a satisfactory showman he was far from being satisfactory in bouzouki performance. Therefore you can hear enourmous efforts of Fikret to complement Çiço’s deficiencies in bouzouki with his guitar.
Because of 1955 and 1964 incidents, it was hard to find a Roum bouzouki player in that period; this would lead Turkish guitarists to fill the gap of virtouse Roum bouzouki players; therefore Fikret Babalı partially began to play bouzouki but mostly bouzouki sounded electric guitar, but especially in the period after Kupa 4 he would be Bouzouki Fiko of Greek musicial scene. Babalı would be followed by ex guitarists and new bouzouki players such as Fikret Ural (ex- Mavi Işıklar and Ağrı Dağı Efsanesi) and Hakan İtik.
Following this first Murat Plak record; Selahattin Bengisu had to leave the band for his obligatory military service in November 1970. Mail Tezsezer joined the band to replace the bass player. This new line up recorded the new single “Tamba Tumba / Zinguala” (Mİ 444) which were sung in Turkish and their original Greek lyrics. Bouzouki Çiço was also playing as the guest musician and the record was released in early 1971. These two records were released with the name of Rişar & Kupa Dörtlüsü Orkestrası. Rita accompanies Rişar in back vocals in the track “Zinguala” which is inline with the laiko tradition like Stelios & Marinella, Manolis & Annoula.
Kupa 4 was basically using the band name in their first single when it had two solo vocalists; but after Rişar became the sole vocalist the band began to use Rişar’s name in their vocal pieces.
Rişar’s poetry in these records are critical as Rişar wrote lyrics which were containing social critisim and satire and humour at the same time. In the first 2 records the formula was to sing the adapted songs both in original Greek version and Rişar’s Turkish lyrics at the same time. Rişar first sang in his Turkish lyrics then Greek and generally concluded in Turkish.
In the third single (Kedi/Bir Taneciksin) this formula changed. Because of the political pressure between Greece and Turkey especially resulting from Cyprus crisis; Rişar began to record in Turkish. “Kedi” (Cat) was originally the song titled “Η γκριζα γατα” which was a composition of Βασιλης Βασιλειαδης the famous laiko keyboard player who introduced Farfisa organ in laiko beat. “Bir Taneciksin” was originally composed as “ Περιφρόνα με γλυκιά μοu-Perifrona Me Glykia Mou” and performed by Dimitriou Menidiatis in the movie “Agapisa ke ponesa” in 1963. The composer was the famous Apostolos Kaldaras. There was also a version of Vangelis Perpeniadis in 1970.
Kupa Dörtlüsü (Kupa 4) also backed Rita in a variety of her records. Rita first recorded a single for Yıldız Plak named named “Samanlıklar Arasında” (Kalamies) / “Zenginliğin Kıymeti Yok” (Ta Kapso Ta Lefta Mu). The first one was orchestrated by Fikret, while the other by Mimi. Buzuki Çiço also accompanied the band in this single. Rita used the same formula with Rişar about the traffic of languages (Turkish-Greek-Turkish) in this record.
Rişar also made a single on behalf of Yıldız Plak like his fiancée. This single contained songs “On Para Etmezsin” (Mia Dekara) (Arr: Hilmi Dural) (Lyrics: Rita) / “Zalim Sevgilim” (Mi Mou Lete Gi’Afti) (Lyrics: Rişar). Buzuki Çiço was also the guest musician in this single. “On Para Etmezsin” and “Mi Mou Lete Gi’Afti” were also performed by Zerrin Zeren with Ülkü Aker’s lyrics with the titles “Yazık Sana” and “Aşkta Gurur Olmaz”.
Yıldız Plak was owned by a Roum named Dimostenis and they also released singles from Greece suchas Marinella and Tolis Voskopoulos.
Rita’s second record company was Sarıkaya Plak which was owned the musician Selahattin Sarıkaya. This time Selahattin Sarıkaya wrote the Turkish lyrics for the laiko songs Rita performed. This time Rita only sang in Turkish. “Yaptığın Doğru mu ?-Aşkımız Göze mi Geldi?” was also the first record issued by Sarıkaya Plak with the serial “SP-1”. “Yaptığın Doğru mu?” was an adaptation of “Όσο αξίζεις εσύ” which was made famous by Manolis Angelopoulos. There is also the EP version of this record with the same serial number. Side A consists of “Erkeklere Kanma-Yaptığın Doğru Mu?” while side B contains “Korkma Korkma Sevgilim-Aşkımız Göze mi geldi?” . In this EP Rita sang “Korkma Korkma” in both Greek and Turkish.
Rişar also made a single for Sarıkaya Plak towards the end of 1972 named “Yağmur Altında Aşk / İçki Benden Öpücük Senden” (SP 27) which was introduced in the 24 January 1973 issue of Hey magazine. This is one of the rare moments a laiko artist found a place in Hey magazine.
Rita’s third and probably the last record was released from Tunç Plak probably in 1973. The songs were the Turkish versions of two laiko songs Doukissa introduced before: “Belki Kabahat Benim” (Άνθρωποι είμαστε’) and “Sana Yanmışım Ben” (θέλω τα οπα μου). Lyrics again belonged to Rişar. This record was one of the great records that Kupa 4 played as a great ensemble. These songs were not only a coincidence as Rita had the opportunity to work with Doukissa in Façoli Tavern in 1972 for a short while. They became close friends during this short period. As I learnt from Zafer Şener; Doukissa performed with Turkish & Roum musicians as she only brought her bouzouki player with her.
Kupa Dörtlüsü also continued to make records for their master company Murat Plak. In 1972, they released “Viski Ve Konyak / Kölen Ettin (Πηρε Φωτια Μια Καρδια)” (Mİ 461) using the headliner, Rişar with their line up Fikret, Mimi, Rişar and Mail. In 1973 they recorded the last Murat Plak single with Vangel, Fikret, Mail and Rişar: “Neşe Dolalım / Başlık Parası Vermem” (Mİ 491).
The tracks “Viski ve Konyak” and “Başlık Parası Vermem” would be performed also by Hayko in his LP released in 1977. “Viski ve Konyak” would be titled as “Bütün Meyhaneleri Gezerim” with the same lyrics which were written by Rişar. On the other hand the lyrics for “Başlık Parası Vermem” would be re-written by Zührap Büyük and titled as “Baygın Gözler”. Although Rişar’s lyrics were on a political satyr concept; the new lyrics were far from the deepness of “Başlık Parası Vermem”.
Kupa 4 not only did Rişar singles for the label Murat Plak. They also accompanied Zerrin Zeren who was a tavern chanteuse in Smyrna in a great variety of records. This collaboration lasted between 1970-73 but never transformed to a live occasion. The songs that were also used in Rişar, Rita and Hayko records and some additional stuff. These records were the best selling singles Kupa 4 took part along with the singles they recorded for Hayko. The arrangements of the tracks were generally done by Fikret Babalı and Mimi. In most of the records instead of a text music a collective effort was dominant therefore the orchestration credits generally belonged to the whole band. In 27th December 1970, Zerrin Zeren was nominated with the Golden Record Prize because of the sales of the single “Yazık Sana-Aşkta Gurur Olmaz” and she became the first artist that took a golden record prize from Murat Plak. The reason behind the highly satisfactory sales of this record was its usage in the soundtrack of the move “Beyoğlu Kanunu”. Another song that was performed by Zerrin Zeren titled “Karanlık Dünyam” was used in the soundtrack of the movie, “Tophaneli Murat”.
In 1970 another collaboration of Kupa 4 began with their stage partner Hayko in recording business. This was triggered by the contract of Hayko with Mihran Gürciyan who was the owner of Grafson records. Gürciyan was also an Armenian like Hayko and therefore he promoted Hayko as a singer who would adress both Armenians in diaspora and in Turkey and also general audience in Turkey. In this team there was also a lyrics writtter for song adaptations named Zührap Büyük (Büyükabramyan).
The first two 7 inch singles with Hayko were “Sude Sude / Arev Dur” (MGZ – 3719) and “Segan Mer Arat / Ah Im Anus Yar (A parallel melody with “Εχε γεια παναγια”) (MGZ 3739 Arr: Mimi) which were recorded in Armenian. Both of these records were a quite successful synthesis of tavern (laiko for Greece) and beat sound. Rişar’s relatively harder drum touches and Mimi’s killer Farfisa solos which sometimes became baroque took Kupa 4 to a surf rock band status. While the first record was jointly orchestrated, the second one was consisted of Mimi’s arrangements.
The third record was Hayko’s first Turkish performed record. This recorded consisted of Turkish versions of the second single where the lyrics belong to Zührap Büyük : “Ah Bu Ne Hayat (Ah Imanus Yar)/ Böyle Bu Dünya (Segan Me Arat)”. Zührap (Zoğrap) Büyük had a music store in Yüksekkaldırım İstanbul where he was selling music instruments. He was also making piano and accordion maintenance. Another field of interest for Büyük was publishing musical notes and lyrics of popular songs of 1960s and 1970s with the publishhouse named AR-AK. He also had works that contained Turkish adaptation of western popular songs. Some of Büyük’s works were officially released on records while some of them remained as Büyük’s unreleased adaptations such as he did for the instrumental Moog hit “Pop Corn” as “Mısır Buğday”. By these adaptations from Armenian to Turkish or vice versa, Zührap Büyük succeded to access to the interest of both general audience and Armenian community.
In the earlier singles of Hayko, Grafson’s strategy was targeting the Armenian audience both in Turkey and diaspora. The records like “Arev Dur”, “Sude Sude”, “Yegur Yegur” were submitted to countries such as USA and France via the Armenians who travel between Turkey and diaspora. In this context, some Turkish songs were also presented to Armenian audience with Armenian lyrics written by Zührap Büyük. “Viştov Letzun” (Buruk Acı) and “Tun Mişt Gulas” (Gözlerini Gözlerimden Hiç Ayırma) were the songs adapted to Armenian speaking audience by Büyük.
The fourth record of Hayko was “Yalvarırım / Günlerdir Aldatıyorsun”dur(MGZ – 3745) released in 1971. Both arrangements in the record belonged to Fikret Babalı. In “Günlerdir Aldatıyorsun” which was the Turkish adaptation of “Paploma”, a power Farfisa solo of Mimi can be heard; with this special treatment, this Pontus type of song was easily transformed to a garage rock song.
The next hit of Hayko came out with the fifth single record: “Yegur Yegur”.. Gürciyan was strategically managing Hayko’s profile as a balanced figure for all communities. This record was a great hit for both audiences although sung in Armenian. It was beat tavern/laiko with a great energetic aura. “Yegur Yegur” would later on be performed with Turkish lyrics as well in Diskotür Records era with the title “Sürme Çekmiş Gözüne”/”Düğün Alayı”. Hayko’s Turkish version would be written by Zührap Büyük while the same song would be adapted for Zerrin Zeren as well with the lyrics of Ülkü Aker titled “Kanım Kaynadı Sana”. In this track it was obvious thing to perceive Hilmi Dural’s virtuosity in Farfisa organ. On the flip side a modern classical Turkish music hit of Teoman Alpay named “Buruk Acı” becomes “Viştov Letzun” with the Armenian lyrics of Zührap Büyük and the orchestration of Önder Bali. The children chorus and Önder Bali’s clarinet gives the real essence of the song (MGZ-3761).
In the record named “Karune Karun / Udenk Himenk” (MGZ – 3771), orchestration also belonged to Önder Bali while lyrics again were written by Büyük. Although Hayko was routinely performing with Kupa 4 there were news from the music press that Hako would perform with Önder Bali Orchestra in Büyükada.
In 1973, Hayko changed his label in favor of Diskotür which was owned by Antuan Şoriz. In Diskotür Hayko continued to record with Kupa 4 along with some sessions with Onno Tunç Orchestra and İstanbul Gelişim. When he recorded his hit record “Eyvallah” on behalf of Diskotür; his ex-label Grafson released the Armenian version of the track titled as “Ahçiknerı Gıhapem” and its flip side song “Gımernim Kez Hamar” as a single with the serial number MGZ – 3778.
1 Mayıs 1967 : Vangel’s trio before Kupa 4 in which he participated with Hasanaki and Emilyos
In 1972 Kupa 4 had its first major change in its lineup as Mimi decided to leave Turkey for various reasons. One of them was an event that a night watchman asked him why he was returning late home. When Mimi replied that he was a musician, the guy asked why he was a musician. That time Mimi had a disappointment to be a musician in Turkey. Therefore he left the band and Turkey leaving a letter and migrated to UK. Although his first intention was not being a musician in UK; coincidences led him to perform music. Consequently, Mimi was replaced by Vangel who had previously performed with Emiliano and Hasanaki in a laiko trio as a guitarist. Vangel (Εβανγελος Αποστοληδης in some records he was called as Wagner) had a quite sufficient knowledge of harmony; on the other hand he was far from the energy and being spontenous as Mimi. In 1973 this time Mail Tezsezer also left the band for his military service obligation. Instead of his, his brother Nazım Tezsezer joined the band. Nazım had strated his musical career with the band Dinamikler where Neşet Ruacan, Atakan Ünüvar, Metin Aşuroğlu and Daryo Malki were making music together in 1965. His band mates Neşet and Atakan would be masters of jazz music in Turkey. In comparison with the period that the band’s music could be described as garage –tavern , the new sound was more refined thanks to the improvement of recording technologies and their increased knowledge on harmony.
The final line up: Rişar, Nazım, Vangel and Fikret
Kupa 4 also recorded instrumental folk arrangements beginning with the end of Murat Plak period. In 1972 they recorded their last Murat Plak single with the name Kupa 4 (Kupa Dörtlüsü). By this they used the name of the group as the solo artist 4 years after their first single “Sarışınım/Esmerim”. In this record they covered “Bana Derler Külhanlı / Vız Gelir Dünya” (Mİ 504) of which the first is a traditional song and the second is the song previously performed by Zerrin Zeren.
After Murat Plak the band signed a contract with Sevilen Plak. At the first hand they recorded an instrumental EP with the line up of Rişar, Fikret, VAngel and Nazım. The EP was consisted of the tracks “Rumeli Karşılaması – Kadifeden Kesesi / Kızılcıklar Oldu Mu – Konyalım” (SP 234). In this LP they also collaborated with musicians playing Turkish instruments such as kanoun.
Following this Kupa 4 single, a new Rişar single was released. In this new record “Nerdesin Sevgilim ve Aferin Canım” (SP-236) were the tracks. “Nerdesin Sevgilim” (Όταν καπνίζει ό λουλας) was a great zeibekiko where Rişar displayed that he was a great representeter of laiko in Turkey both with his drum playing and vocals. The song named “Aferin Canım Aferin” was also an adaptation of the same song that Zerrin Zeren recorded as “Vız Gelir Dünya”; but with the lyrics of Rişar. This song would later on be covered also by Hayko with the title “Sen Bir Tanesin” in his Diskotür LP named “Volume 2”.
Following this EP, 4 more instrumental singles that contained tracks recorded in the same session, were released in early 1973 subsequently: “Yavuz Geliyor Yavuz / Üsküdara Giderken”(SP-255) , “Eminem Eminem / Tin Tin Tini Mini Hanım” (SP-256) , “Evreşe Yolları / Ya Mustafa” (SP-257), “Şiş Kebab / Çiçek Dağı” (SP 258)
In addition to these Sevilen Plak singles they also released an instrumental pop folk single on behalf of Yağmur Plak titled “Oy Güzeller / Erzurum Baş Barı” (0603). In all these pop folk recordings, Atakan Ünüvar who was Nazım’s old band mate also joined the studio sessions playing flute and sax.
Between 1969-72 Kupa 4 accompanied a big scale of singers in their records as the session band. Number of the records was so enormous that sometimes the same song was adapted to Turkish audience in 3 lyrics version. For example “Sude Sude” was recorded as original Armenian and the Turkish version “Herşey Yalan” for Hayko, and “Susma Susma” for Taroub. The band performed both in Altın Balık Tavern every night during week days , performed with Hayko in extra gigs for weekends in venues such as Hilton istanbul and played as a session band for records. Sometimes when they played in studio the phone of the studio rang and the person on the line asked if Kupa 4 was there, they would be invited for another session. They were too much exhausted but glad all over. Fikret Babalı tells those days as “My youth passed with exhaustion”. Rişar was the guy that arranged all these sessions with his commercial intelligence. When the record industry was at its peak Rişar made business engaments for accompany; after its gradual collapse began Rişar led the band to record instrumental folk pop covers of anonymous tracks.
In this context we should mention some of the records they accompanied between 1969-72:
-In 1972 they recorded “Bu Ne Biçim Aşk Böyle -Belki Yıllar Sonra” (SP 205) and “Duymayan Kalmasın- Ben Seninle Yapamam-” (SP 206) for the Turkish Music singer Dursun Salkım for the label Sevilen Plak. “Duymayan Kalmasın” ( Όσο αξίζεις εσύ ) was a Manolis Angelopoulos cover which was also recorded by Rita as “Yaptığın Doğru mu?”.
-In 1972 they accompanied TRT speaker Tuna Huş in a record where he used the name “Tuna”. The single “Nerdesin / Nazlı Gülüm” was released by Şah Plak. The sound was some type of Greco-Anatolian rock.
-In they backed famous Lebeneese singer and actress Taroub (Tarup) for her single “Susma Susma Susma / Ben Hep Seni Sevdim” (MT 574) released by Moda Plak. This record was arranged by Mimi and Taroup covered “Sude Sude” in Turkish with the lyrics of Müşerref Tezcan who was also the singer of Moda Plak at that time.
– They accompanied Smyrnian singer Armağan on his single “Evreşe Yolları – Yar Saçların Lüle Lüle” for Egefon label. (Ege 9566)
– Their most hard rocking single was the one they did for a folk singer named Mürüvvet Kekilli: “Yalnız Adam-Canbaz”. This record was an Anatolian psychedelic rock piece where Fikret Babalı played his electric guitar with fuzz pedal. They also recorded another Anatolian pop single for Mürüvvet Kekilli titled “Söz Ver Bana-İnanmam Artık Sana”
-For Gül Plak label they backed Feride Sümer for her beat funk single “Çapkın Kızlar-İçeceğim Bu Gece” .
-Last but not least they also accompanied Nuran Yakarlar for their single “Acıyorum Sana-Başımın Derdi” for Eminfon label.
The year of 1973 was a special one for both Kupa 4 and Hayko as they both got contracted with Antuan Şoriz’s Diskotür. Hayko’s single “Eyvallah / Ceylan Gibi” that was released in late 1973 became a great hit of Hayko after “Sude Sude”. Beginning with Diskotür Armenian songs lost its domination and Turkish songs took a central position in the repertoire. Atakan Ünüvar began to play also in Hayko & Kupa 4 singles. In “Eyvallah”, Kupa 4 & Hayko were at their peak of energy. In “Ceylan Gibi” Kupa 4 performed like a mode band in a great groove including Fikret’s solo with wah wah pedal and Nazım’s great bass riffs.
In 1974 “Nazlısın / İpek Olsam Yar Boynuna Sarılsam”(DT 5125) and the Armenian single of Hayko was released containing tracks “Tun Mişt Gulas / Karun, Karun Karunes” (DT 5126). . “Nazlısın” was the Turkish version of the song “Karun, Karun Karunes” which was made famous by Adis Harmandian. The flipside piece titled “Tun Mişt Gulas” was a classical Turkish music tune that called “Gözlerini Gözlerimden Ayırma Hiç” which was adapted to Armenian by Zührap Büyük.
In another Hayko single “İlk Gözağrım (Sadettin Öktenay) / Çoban Aşkı, Sadettin Öktenay who was the kanoun player also joined the band during the recording session. “İlk Gözağrım” was also a groovy song like as “Ceylan Gibi”. Vangel’s killer organ and Öktenay’s kanoun create musical structures like one is musically asking a question and the other gives a reply. In a synchronization, the Armenian version of this single was released: “Germir Vartis / Hingala”.
In 1974 the single titled “Düğün Alayi-Herşey Yalan” was released which contained Grafson period Armenian hits’ Turkish versions. “Düğün Alayı” also known as “Sürme Çekmiş Gözüne” was the Turkish version of “Yegur Yegur” while “Yalan yalan” was the adaptation of “Sude Sude”. The kanoun of Öktenay , and Rişar’s change of focus from drums to percussion created less beat but a balanced Kupa 4 in orchestration and sound.
Diskotür was so successful to promote Hayko as the King of Tavern; while Kupa 4 carried out the concept of instrumental dance moods of Diskotür label.
Kupa 4 released 2 Eps as soon as they signed the contract with Diskotür’: One of them was “Kupa Dörtlüsü İle Eğlenelim” (DT 5105) and the other was “Kupa Dörtlüsü İle Oynayalım” (DT 5121. The former was containing laiko and tavern hits such as Eğlen Oyna (Boum Pam) and Fige Fige; the second one contained folk arrangements like they began to do in Sevilen Plak era. These Eps were expanded with some additional stuff and were also released as an LP in April 1977 posthumously. This LP was titled “Oyuna Davet” and that was the only solo LP of Kupa 4 until now.
In 1973 the band lived two important events subsequently of which one contained mourning and the other contained joy and happiness. At that time, Rişar and Rita were about to marry; and old pal Jimmy Abako would be their best man. Shortly before the day of marriage ceremony, Jimmy was involved in a car accident and died due to the crack of his neck while driving from Bebek to Arnavutköy. His funeral was in Kurtuluş (Tatavla); he was such a beloved person that when his coffin was passing through Feriköy and Sinanköy people threw flowers from their windows and balconies. Especially Rişar was deeply shocked with the death of Jimmy and couldn’t listen to his records for years. When Jimmy died his daughter was only 7 months old. Later on Jimmy’s wife and daughter moved to Athens and in 2019 his daughter died of cancer.
In 1973 Rita and Rişar got married with the absence of Jimmy. Their witnesses were Selahattin Sarkıkaya of Sarıkaya Records and Naci Bey who was the boss of Altın Balık and continued a happy relation till now.
From left to right : Jimmy Abako, Henny and Vasilaki with Bergama Orchestra in Büyükada İnci Club, 1971
In the spiring of 1974, Kupa 4 made a vocal single using the band’s name only approximately 6 years after their debut single. The single contained “Cevap Verdi Bakışıyla / Oyuna Davet”. In the track “Cevap Verdi Bakışıyla” for the first time another group member performed the solo vocals. While Fikret Babalı was the soloist Rişar performed the back vocals. The song was credited to the band. The flip side was an instrumental that referred to the laiko surf rock roots of Kupa 4. ”Oyuna Davet” was a progressive and a poly rhythmic work that was brought to perfection by Babalı’s Aris San style guitar and Vangel’s organ referring to Vasilis Vasiliadis.
Probably in the same session the last Kupa 4 solo single was also recorded and it was released in a very close time period after “Cevap Verdi Bakışıyla / Oyuna Davet” (DT 5131): “Kalpsiz Fatma / Ah Seni Gidi” . This was the rarest Kupa 4 single that I still could’nt hear till now. “Ah Seni Gidi” is probably the same song Hayko released in September 1975 as a single and probably the playbacks are the same. The only thing we know about those songs are Rişar performed the solo vocals on both tracks.
In May 1974, an LP of Hayko was released named “Hayko Taverna’da” (Hayko in Tavern) . In this album we also hear Kupa 4 challenging to record with strings group of symphony musicians in “Doldur Kadehi” which was a Turkish adaptation of Havva Naghilla.
While the band members were still in Turkey they backed Cengiz Coşkuner’s single “Çillim” that was released by Max. In April 1974 they also accompanied comedian Öztürk Serengil in his “Kaynanama / Hela Holding” (DT 5139) single.
After Turkey’s military intervension to Cyprus in July 1974, the Roum members of the band began to have difficulties which forced them to leave Turkey. They had already lived 1955 and 1964 incidents but this time the things went even worse. The band first had to leave Altın Balık which they were so glad to work for because of a fight where Hayko, Vangel and Fikret Babalı were slightly injured. The fight starters were a bunch of looters from Anatolia. One of the looters tried to cut the cable of Hayko, when they tried to be avoided, they punched Vangel and hit Babalı with head. Rişar lived those types of vandalism before such as being threated while he was singing in Greek; but he managed this without fight and losing control in order to avoid a damage against Altın Balık but this was the last straw. They had to leave Altın Balık while both their boss and the band were crying.
These types of events affected their decision for sure. When one is a minority in a country, they had to live in a timidity guessing that things would get worse if they had protested. A similar thing would happen to Rişar in Greece when some looters tried to avoid him singing in Turkish (Manolia of Zeki Müren); but this time he was not a part of minority and he simply said “Fuck off” .
The new tavern they began to work with Hayko was Canlı Alabalık which was also known as “Nuri’nin Yeri” in Yeniköy. The real owner of the tavern was the famous godfather Oflu İsmail. The Cyprus events happened during their working period in Canlı Alabalık. One day the doorkeeper of the tavern told Rişar that he wanted to throw Vangel to the pool as he was a Roum; while telling this he thought Rişar was a Turk. Faschists were strolling in the streets of Cihangir yelling “Death to Giaours (non-muslims)” which deeply terrorized Rişar, Rita and their 1 year old son.
On the peak of restlessness and terror, Rişar ve Rita migrated to Thessaloniki while Vangel went to Athens. Both Vangel and Rişar newly bought their own houses recently but they had to sell and migrate to Greece which was an ambiquity and a new adventure for them.
When Vangel and Rişar left Turkey; Hayko and Fikret Babalı were performing in Maltepe Ship in 31.12.1974 for New Year celebrations. On their return Rişar and Vangel had already left Turkey. Hayko and Fikret Babalı had to face these mafiose guys and in order not to annoy these guys they had to form a band with musicians under the average. Sometime later the band got settled with good musicians and a while later the name changed to “Hayko & Fiko Dörtlüsü” (Hayko & Fiko 4) . Fiko was the nickname of Fikret Babalı and this time it became his stage name and transformed to “Buzuki Fiko”.
Posthumous singles were released after the disbanding of Kupa 4 as well. In September 1975 Hayko’s single “Ah Seni Şaşkın-Aşkından Ölüyorum” was released. Also in 1975, Yasemin Esmergül’s “Koşmaca Oynama Benimle / Hadi Hadi Aldatamazsın” ( DT 5175) was also a Kupa 4 accompanied single.
The dispanding of Kupa 4 didn’t automatically end the upcoming releases because of the high amount of playbacks they left behind for Diskotür label. With the quick treatment of Zührap Büyük, new lyrics for those tracks were prepared for those playbacks. “Hayko Kupa 4’lüsü Eşliğinde” Volume: 2 and Volume : 3 were released in 1977.
In 1979 a selection of the singles that were recorded for Grafson as “Hayko & Kupa Dörtlüsü” were released in LP form. Only Hayko’s name was mentioned on the LP and its cover gives an image of a pirate product. Although the title of the album was “Taverna Müzik”, on the cover a concert photo of Led Zeppelin is located.
Hayko & Kupa 4 LP with Led Zepppelin Cover -Grafson-1979
In Germany things were even worse. Zerrin Zeren and Rişar’s mutual album that was released in 1974 by Murat Plak and later on by Max Plak was reissued on cassette by Minareci in 1982 with the title “Karışık tavernalar 7” . The original album name was “Tavernada Aşk” but the repertoire was not 100 % fidel to the original album. Many of the tracks surely didn’t belong to Kupa 4. In the cover, the famous Turkish sexploitation actress Figen Han can be viewed. This LP didn’t contain master recordings eventhough only a few years passed since the original singles were released; but instead singles were directly transferred to the LPs. Automatically the cassette also didn’t contain master recordings.
In 1976, another Germany rooted company Alparslan Kaset released a cassette named “Disco Show” consisting of instrumental folk pop material recorded for Sevilen. On the cover of the album Yılkut Tezcan Orchestra was located instead of Kupa 4.
In 1975 Rişar and Rita moved to Thesalloniki. When he went to Thesalloniki he had only 60.000 TL which was equal to 300.000 drachmas. Rişar didn’t mention his previous career as a singer but introduced himself as a drummer only. Rita also performed on stage for a short time. In the first tavern that she worked the boss suggested her to also work as a B-Girl; therefore she immediately left that tavern and began to perform in a family tavern. On the other she also left that place because of a babysitter that smoked while given care to the children. Following this decision she quitted singing and devoted herself to her children.
Rişar played drums for long years on Thesalloniki taverns. While working as a singer he also started a business on selling musical instruments. It began with one single store and then became a ring of musical instrument stores named “Rihardos”. In 1993 he quitted playing drums and began a late solo singer career and endured this professional career till 2003. Although he has already announced his retirement, he is still performing in taverns as a guest singer.
Fikret Babalı played with Hayko as the leader of his orchestra sometimes named as Fiko 4 till 2019. They worked together with or without Kupa 4 including ship programmes and USA tour. Even during Kupa 4 times , he sometimes went to extra shows with Hayko and directed the local orchestra for adapting the repertoire of Hayko. In a transatlantic tour show in April 1975 named Ivan Franko he backed singers such as Ayten Alpman, Bal Arıları, İhsan Kayral, Hayko, Şenay and Yeşim in the line up of an orchestra formed of muscians such as Onno Tunç, Cezmi Başeğmez and Ümit Aksu. Bouzouki became the main instrument of Fikret Babalı and began to be called “Buzuki Fiko”. He also appeared a s a studio musician in a small number of albums such as Hayko’s “Hadi Yanalım” (1992), Harun Kolçak’s “Teslim Oldum” (1998) and Aysun Kocatepe’s “Hadi Gari” (1994) with his bouzouki. He also performed live with Fedon another important Roum laiko figure in Turkey. In 2002, he participated in Sezen Aksu’s Türkiye Şarkıları (Songs of Turkey) project concert and backed Aksu in the song “Paploma” with his bouzouki. Babalı temporarily gave a pause in his musical performance both because of Covid pandemic and his neurological disorders; but I am sure he soon will be back on stage.
After his military service, Selahattin Bengisu began to perform in Turkish music genre backing singers such as Kamil Sönmez, Müslüm Gürses, Suat Sayın, Küçük Emrah, Muazzez Ersoy, Hülya Afşar and Muazzez Abacı. After his retirement he also played bass in the sufi music band of Taşkın Savaş which performed spiritual music from all Abrahamic religions.
Hilmi Dural (Mimi) went to UK and performed as a live event musician for a long time period. The other keyboardist, Vangel is still living in Athens; he is recovering from a celebral hemorrhage.
Mail Tezsezer performed laiko for a life long period with his wife Şükran Şen. Mail passed away in February 2020 and shortly after him Şükran Şen also deceased in October 2020.
Nazım Tezsezer went on performing professionally and he began to play doublebass as well.
Although Kupa 4 is a band that has been disbanded over 45 years they continue to exist both in our recording history and the tradition they have established. Despite the fact that the relation between Turkey and Greece pendulated between love and hate; the music of this country has nothing to do with hostility or rejection of an inheritage. Culture needs a continuity and no matter how iti is tired to be wiped out , it finds its own path. Kupa Dörtlüsü (Kupa 4) opened a gate for the tavern music in Turkey and shed light to the path of singers from Alex to Fedon.
Kupa 4 performed a laiko music in Turkey with a groovy and a western touch. They were the representers of a late time Levantine music which was a compound of Greek, Armenian, Arabic, Ladino and Italian music. While performing this blend they didn’t implement it as an authentic band but also considered music as business and stayed in the heart of mainstream.
Kupa 4 was also the “İstanbul Gelişim Orkestrası” of low budget studio recordings. Maybe that’s why they were one of the main backing bands of Diskotür along with İstanbul Gelişim Orchestra. Antuan Shoriz used Üç Hürel for Anatolian Pop recordings, İstanbul Gelişim Orchestra for pop recordings and Kupa 4 for the other genres of the spectrum from Hayko’s tavern to Öztürk Serengil’s adapted comedy records.
When we observe Kupa 4 from today’s perspective, it is obvious that Kupa 4 was unique in its kind in comparison with Greek, Turkish and Armenian bands. One of the unique features of the band is they could be both groovy, beat and laiko while following the path of being commercial. They were commercial while making their club full especially Baklahorani’s last day but at the same time carrying out the tradition of Baklahorani at the same time with their modern eclectic laiko music. So let’s admit that; Kupa 4 was the symbol of values of Turkey which was once much more multi cultural than it is now.