Swingin’ Istanbul

One of Istanbul’s best live concert venues for world music – Babylon, organized yet another stellar festival to kick-start an eventful summer season

Turks danced to electro swing beats of Caravan Palace (France), balkan-infused ska and trip hop beats of Oi Va Voi (UK) and the jazzy swing of The Parov Stelar Band (Austria) during the Babylon Soundgarden Festival last Saturday.

The one day festival kick-started with a mellow local band 123, followed by a more alternative rock by Buyuk Ev Ablukada on the main stage, while the smaller second stage and the silent disco featured line-ups of various DJs spinning dance beats of all eras.

The swinging started with the charming French band Caravan Palace in the late afternoon on the main stage.

The band began their musical journey seven years ago when the three initial members Vial, Delaporte and Payen were hired to compose music for silent movies. They released their first album in 2008 with the addition of Sonia Fernandez Velasco, Arnoud Camille Chapeliere and Antoine Toustou. Their single ‘Suzy’ is a highly energetic electro-swing/gypsy-jazz combo that got the festival attendees warm up to dancing.

Balkan beats are always close to the hearts and ears of the Turkish audience, so the floor got hotter once the UK band Oi Va Voi started playing their mixture of Balkan rhythms with soul, ska, trip hop and drum’n’bass. The clarinet in the background added an oriental romanticism to songs like ‘Ladino Song’ and the ‘Refugee’, while the audience greeted the talented violinist and the rather pretty vocalist with rounds of ovations.

Parov Stelar Band live at Babylon Soundgarden Festival, Istanbul

Finally, The Parov Stelar Band from Austria got everyone dancing (even the ‘I’m too cool for this’-looking Turkish men). Parov Stelar started as a DJ but gained more popularity after adding live instruments to his sets. Now touring as a full band, with amazing vocalists and rhythm and horn sections mixed with electronic beats, they create an upbeat nu-jazz, electro-swing mood.

One of Istanbul’s best live concert venues for world music – Babylon organized yet another stellar festival (disregarding endless lines at the food and beverage stations, and horrible porta-potties which is inevitable in any festival around the world) to kick-start an eventful summer.

Just like the previous years, Istanbul will once again become an outdoor event venue throughout the summer, with festivals and concerts of all kind, from European indie acts like Nouvelle Vague and Zaz to Damien Rice, Kimbra and stars like Madonna and Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name just a few of the prominent live acts ready to step foot on Turkish soil this summer.

Stay tuned for our next write-up that will list all things exciting in Istanbul for the next couple of months.