23/08/2011

Istan-Dub: Reggae in the City

Top of my current list of things to achieve from September onwards, is to establish a frequent and (more importantly) well-frequented reggae night in a bar in Taksim called Seksek.
It must be a night with a difference, aiming to combine reggae crowd-pleasers with rootsy punk and lively ska, but will it draw enough of a crowd? Moreover, can I hope to unite two scenes already present in Taksim - reggae and punk rock without alienating either? Luckily there are some indications that this can be done, in the spirit of how well the two were fused in the late 70s and early 80s, and presently with Turkish groups such as ska-punk legends Athena. Also, the presence of reggae bars in Istanbul already, shows that people are ready to listen. However, it will need a good deal of preparation and good advertising (the collage on the left is my handy-work). Similar nights have also been done in the standard reggae bars quite recently, and took place on a typically busy Friday night, so i'm going to get in touch and see how it went.
There are at least two very good reggae clubs already firmly established in Taksim, Nayah and the African Club. I am going to keep in touch with them for tips and advice, and keep the door open for co-operation and co-ordination in the future.
Nayah
Nayah is one of only a handful of clubs in Istanbul specialising in reggae, dub, dancehall and ska music. The bar is located a five minute walk from Taksim square on a top-floor terrace in the heart of the club district. It was originally the brain-child of the African community of the city and has grown into a unique, fun and relaxed atmosphere where locals, students and expats, as well as many regulars, can dance until the waking hours. The best nights out are consistently to be had on Fridays and Saturdays but it is not uncommon for bands to play during the week
İstiklal Cad. Kurabiye Sk. No:19 (Mis Sokağın Sonunda, Sağda Köşe Bina Teras Kat), Beyoglu, Turkey
nayah@nayahistanbul.com
http://www.nayahistanbul.com
The African Club
The African club is located further down the main İstiklal Avenue, next to the British Embassy and located in what seems to be an extensive renovated apartment building on the second floor. Inside is smaller as such, but comfortable for the size of the crowd it draws in as a niche club. The music is more tailored towards the African
community so those with only an interest in pop reggae may find it dull. However, if Afrobeat is your style, then you will find it offers something like nowhere else in Istanbul, and stays open until around 6-7am on weekends.
Update: Istanbul Explorations blog has given me an excellent tip on how not to attract the wrong sort of buzz around the night with unseemly decorations...

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