Turkish National Final 1988: Kayahan in focus

Turkey sent MFÖ for the second time in 1988 to the Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. Beforehand, a Turkish National Final was held and Kayahan (Turkey 1990) was one of the participants. Would he have been a better option that year?

The 1998 Turkish national final was held on the 13th of February. Most of the participants were famous artists in Turkey. Among them we saw Sevingül Bahadır, of Klips ve Onlar (1986) and Arzu Ece (1989 and 1995). One of the composers, Atilla Özdemiroğlu, left the contest for a reason we don’t know. Out of 16 contestants, MFO won the national final with Sufi.

Kayahan’s Sokak Kedisi didn’t get a good result in the 1988 Turkish National Final, but it became a huge hit in Turkey.

Sokak Kedisi – opinions from fans

In order to find out what Eurovision fans today think of this song from the 1988 Turkish national final, we asked our Eurovision Fan Panel. It includes team members as well as fans from all over the world.

🇳🇱 Frank S. – First of all this is a very interesting thing to listen to: national final songs that I simply don’t know. And then I get the surprise of listening to Kayahan, One of my favourite contestants of the 1990 Eurovision final. I cannot say that this 1988 national final song really interested me and I had to listen twice to actually make something of it. Not sure what all other contestants were like, but this is not my cup of tea, despite the fact that I do like some of the rhythm changes of the song, and his happy face! I am not sure if this song would have received any points in the strong edition of 1988! But hey, we can always guess, can’t we?

🇹🇷 Erman Ö. – Kayahan Acar is a famous singer at Turkey. He participated in the Turkish national finals more times before shooting to fame. His songs usually have melancholic and powerful lyrics. Sokak Kedisi however does not have powerful music and lyric. The song is melancholic though. Everybody knows Kayahan’s songs, but nobody knows this song.

🇬🇧 Ashleigh K. – Unfortunately I can’t really say that I like any of these entries. At a push I think I would have voted for Kayahan rather than MFÖ, and that’s mainly because the lead singer has a bit more charisma. But to me they both sound very similar in style.

🇵🇹 Linete A. – I love the orchestra in those days. Wish that would still be there for some songs. I prefer the group that represented Turkey that year because the melody is catchier and the instrumental part much better. This other group in the national final is also mixture of pop rock and folk and is more monotonous. The 1988 Turkish Eurovision wasn’t bad for those days and well represented by the trio – MFÖ.

🇲🇹 Christopher D. – After hearing this song, I wanted to see whether the winning song was better. In my opinion, the winning song Sufi was really mediocre and it’s placing in the contest shows that it was not a good song. Kayahan was much more ethnic in sound and had good catchy chorus parts, things that Sufi lacked. Nonetheless, this post made me realise how much I miss Turkey’s participation in Eurovision. They added some extra flavour to the competition with ethnic but catchy songs year after year.

🇨🇴 🇫🇮 Alvaro S. – I like the sound of the guitar through the song. The performance has a bohemian feeling which is likeable. Having said that, the song becomes monotonous after a while which made it difficult for me to feel engaged with the feeling of the song, while the actual representatives that year looked more entertaining during their performance.

🇹🇷 Güneç G. – Actually Sokak Kedisi (street cat) is one of the milestones of Turkish Pop Music. It was also performed by the Turkish Diva Nilüfer (one of Group Nazar, who represented Turkey in 1978) and became a big hit. In the early 90’s, as a young girl, this song meant so much to me. It’s about a man longing for his partner and feels all alone like a poor cat on the street after she’s gone. I love the orchestral arrangement, the power and the emotion of the song. And I love Kayahan’s passion to his guitar 🙂

🇩🇰 Charlotte J. – Did Turkey make the right choice in 1988 sending MFÖ to Eurovision once again, this time with the song Sufi? Without knowing the other songs in the national final, I would have to answer yes. Kayahan’s song simply is not my taste. If that stands for the best of the others, there’s no doubt, in my mind that Turkey made the right choice. I am sorry, but I really don’t like Sokak Kedisi, but I actually like Sufi.

🇬🇧  Michael O. – You have to hand it to Turkey in the eighties, they couldn’t care less about bowing to any pressure as to what was popular in Western Europe. Before more Eastern European countries joined up, Turkey was on a path of its own, and this would either have scored no points, or an unexpected 12 from a country we didn’t see coming, though most likely Germany. Sokak Kedisi is as offbeat as all the Turkish entries from the eighties.

Enjoy Kayahan’s performance from the 1988 Turkish National Final in the embedded video. Below the video, you can read more about him.

Kayahan – a mini biography

Kayahan Açar was born on the 29th of March 1949 in Ankara. He started his musical career in 1971 with his first single Yosun Gözlüm. He tried for Eurovision in 1978, 1981, 1984 1987 and 1988. Eventually in 1990 he represented Turkey with Gözlerinin Hapsindeyim and became 17th with 21 points.

He has attended many musical festivals in and out of Turkey, and rose to fame in the early 90’s with his numerous hits and albums. Nilüfer the Turkish diva (Turkey 1978 Grup Nazar) performed many of his compositions in her albums and concerts and together they have accomplished a great musical partnership.

Kayahan married 3 times and has 2 daughters. After a 25 year battle with cancer, he sadly passed away at the age of 66 on the 3rd of April 2015. He has a great place in Turkish music lovers’ hearts.

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