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Kargo is one of the milestones in Turkish rock history. With a group of talented songwriters, producer, musicians, and a media-friendly charismatic singer, Kargo became one of the first economically successful rock bands of the '90s. Founding members Selim Ozturk (guitar) and Mehmet Senol Sisli aka MSS (bass) formed Kargo in 1993 with singer Deniz Aytekin. Their debut album, all but forgotten by fans and members of the band alike, was released that same year. With more of a '90s pop sound, that album had a bunch of nicely written, over-produced, over-polished songs with badly sung tracks. The ballad "Yillar Sonra" was chosen to be the single, but it failed to receive any attention and the band laid it to rest.
The next year, Serkan Çelikoz (keyboards), Burak Karatas (drums), and Koray Candemir (vocals) joined the band. It took the bandmember two years to put together another album. It was worth the wait, though, as 1996's Yarina Ne Kaldi hit the streets and was an instant winner. The leading single, "Yuzlesme," carried by the catchy chorus "a-hey-hey-hey" was a smash hit. The crunchy style of singer Candemir, combined with harder tones on guitars, drums, and simple but effective basslines, provided the key elements of the hugely successful album. Second single "Son Defa," followed by "Adimi Cagir," secured the band's place on national radio and television.
The follow-up to Yarina Ne Kaldi was released in 1997. Led by the single "Sairin Elinde," Sevmek Zor improved on the formula the band got right the previous time. With intriguing lyrics, each song representing a different feeling in a relationship, Kargo once again proved that they weren't just hitmakers but rather a promising rock act. Facing troubles with their record company, the band hit the studio pretty soon after Sevmek Zor's release, and came out with a darker, harder, and edgier-sounding effort in 1998, Yalnizlik Mevsimi, which was later recognized almost universally as Kargo's best effort ever. Opening with "Azizlerin Yalnizligi" and returning to that same theme throughout the record gave it the feel of a concept album. Even the singles "Arabic Fahise," "Kalamis Parki," and "Bogazici" were lyrically dark and musically complex.
After this fascinatingly ambitious CD, the fifth installment in Kargo's oeuvre saw the daylight in 2000. Sen Bir Meleksin was more of an adult oriented album, which ultimately enlarged their fan base by attracting middle-aged listeners. The style of the album may have been an issue for hardcore fans, but the addition of two songs from their debut in new versions was still a promising sign for diehards. After a tour sponsored by Efes Dark, the band also wrote a song for the brand and released the single "Herkesin Gectigi Yoldan Gecme," after which the group took a break. Koray Candemir released a solo album, acted in a film, and became a media personality, Sisli published his poems, and Selim Ozturk and Serkan Celikoz became producers for upcoming pop/rock artists.
After a three-year of hiatus, Kargo made their long-awaited comeback (without Sisli). Ates Ve Su was released in 2004. Although most fans were still satisfied, the album couldn't match the success of its predecessors. 2005's covers album, Yildizlarin Altinda, was yet again not as popular, but the title single and its video did well. The long period of silence following the release of that album came to an end in 2008. Candemir and Celikoz announced that they were parting ways with Kargo to form a new project, citing the differences in musical ideas as the reason for their departure. On the other hand, Ozturk, Sisli, and Karatas reunited for a new Kargo album with the new singer Reha Hendem, previously known from Yakup and local band Soul Stuff. ~ Vefik Karaege