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About Şebnem Ferah
When it comes to pointing out a leading female figure in the Turkish modern rock scene, without a doubt it's Sebnem Ferah. Above all she has a great voice, heartfelt lyrics, energetic live shows, a devoted fan base, and she can also play the guitar.
Ferah was born in Yalova in 1972. Growing up in a family fully acquainted with music and a house full of musical instruments, Ferah was into music at an early age. She picked up her first guitar in her first year of high school, where she formed a band called Pegasus and played some local gigs. Later, in 1988, she formed the all-girl rock band Volvox. Sharing the same stage with the leading heavy bands of the time, Volvox made it through 1994 living in Bursa, Ankara, and Istanbul. In 1992, later-to-become a famous face of Turkish rock scene Ozlem Tekin joined the band as the keyboard player, and although the band prepared and recorded some demos, they never could release an album. So with disappointment they disbanded in 1994.
Although short-lived, Volvox gave Ferah what she needed: attention from professionals. Turkish diva Sezen Aksu and her writing/recording partner Onno Tunc saw Volvox on television. In the blink of an eye, Ferah sang backing vocals for Sezen Aksu. In 1996, Ferah released her first album Kadin, which contained some of her best songs, "Vazgectim Dunyadan," "Yagmurlar," "Bu Ask Fazla Sana," and "Firtina" to name a few. They featured a rather polished and clean production, possibly the effect of producer Iskender Paydas; these came off much differently from how she would later perform the songs live. Kadin was a huge hit and lots of club and arena gigs followed its release.
Three years later, Ferah came into the scene with her second album, Artik Kisa Cumleler Kuruyorum. She was working with the same production team -- Paydas and members of Mezarkabul (previously known as Pentagram) -- but this time she had mostly broken free of artificial synths. Being a decent rock album, it was more introverted, as she lost her sister prior to its release. With less catchy songs, Ferah was also beginning to create a fan base who would sing and feel all her lyrics rather than a following who would only memorize the hits and ignore the rest.
2001 saw Ferah come up with a more acoustic third album, Perdeler, as Turkey was still trying to heal the wounds of the devastating Golcuk earthquake -- in which Ferah also lost his father. Apart from the lead single "Sigara," Perdeler fell short of creating hits. She also collaborated with Finnish cello rockers Apocalyptica on the title track.
Her next step was the fourth album Kelimeler Yetse..., which was released in 2003. The album was a low point in her career although it included "Ben Sarkimi Soylerken" and "Mayin Tarlasi." Two years later, her fifth studio album, Can Kiriklari, came out. Produced by Tarkan Gozubuyuk -- bass player for Mezarkabul -- the album showcased her heavier side and was yet her most distortion-friendly outing. A tour fueled up with pyro shows followed. A live double-CD/DVD, 10 Mart 2007 Istanbul Konseri, was released in 2007. Her band consisted of longtime members Buket Doran (bass), Metin Turkcan (guitar), Aykan Ilkan (drums), and Ozan Tugen (keyboards). She was also backed up by a symphony orchestra, Istanbul Symphonic Project. ~ Vefik Karaege