By Roland Eyerich ……..
On Friday, June 9th, for the third time, the hip Soul and Rock`n`Roll band with Horns “SOUL STUFF” from Istanbul performed at “The Soulist” (Alsancak) as special guest.
It was an energetic show with an exploding frontman, Alper Cengiz, on stage. Coming from the traditional ”Hayal Kahvesi” from the young Heart of the city Istanbul “Beyoğlu”. For over 25 years they played there until this traditional club closed in May of this year. Perhaps they have now found a new home?
The six-man band formed a special sound for unforgettable Soul, Funk and Rock`n´Roll classics.
The arrangements for the songs worked out very well. The Rock’n’roll band and the horn section harmonized excellently. You are listening to a band in which all band members legitimately enjoy what they do and the audience at this performance was spellbound. Often the band had long applause. The band played 2 sets of about 2½ hours.
SOUL STUFF started with the “SOUL STUFF – Intro: “We`re so happy, that so many people are here tonight – We are Soul Stuff. Are you ready for Soul Stuff” was the announcement for the audience from Alper and the audience was ready right from the beginning and onwards. The starting number was a Blues Brothers and Eddie Floyd medley with Soul Man and Knock on Wood. What followed was a musical extravaganza about Soul and Rock’n’Roll classics. Roy Orbison, Elvis, Sam Cooke, The Temptations and Ben E. King. “Stand By Me” from Ben E. King is always a highlight here at the Blues Night concerts, but with this great band it was something special this night. The evening continued with the Four Tops, Nina Simone, Ray Charles and Kool and the Gang. For the song “Get down on it” the ladies were required, and it was amazing. “You with me – so many Ladies in the house – Ladies, Ladies” was Alper’s invitation for the Ladies. Alper and the Ladies sang the song together and then it was the end of the 1st set.
The second set started with the Freddy Song “Can`t take my eyes off you”, followed by Bob Marley and of course Elvis. There were many highlights in this concert, but the closing highlight at the end of the concert was Turkish songs from Cem Karaca, M.F.Ö., Erol Evigin, Ajda Pekkan and Bris Manco. The audience was overwhelmed, having had a successful evening in the small music hall of Alsancak.
Alper Cengiz (vocal + Guitar)
Alper Cengiz was born in 1971 in Ankara and started his music career during his childhood while listening and watching music and music videos of his idols Elvis Presley, Michael Jackson, James Brown and Chuck Berry and learning to sing all of the songs. This music is still his companion now. At the age of 16, he started playing the guitar and finally after High School time at the age of 20 he realized his dream in the first Band he played with – ARGOS in 1991 (Rock’n’Roll and Soul) and in 1993 “The Blues Express“ (Classic Rock) followed. Alper wanted to perform the music of his Idols so in 1995 he formed his own band – SOULSTUFF.
The band was formed in 1995 by Alper Cengiz in Ankara and developed into one of the most successful bands in this genre of Rock’n’Roll and Soul in Turkey. They managed to build a big fan base. As a few highlights, apart from TV appearances, only the supporting acts of URIAH HEEP (2004), THE BLUES BROTHERS BAND (September 2006) and one of the idols of Alper Cengiz – CHUCK BERRY (January 2007) are mentioned.
A special highlight for Frontman Alper Cengiz was participation in the final “Elvis Greatest World” from BBC in Frankfurt (Germany) and then London (UK).
Emrah Baban (Guitar)
Emrah Baban was born 1977 in Ankara and is a base musician, he started playing guitar at the age of 14. His main influences are blues, rock, soul and funk. He is a session musician playing in various album recordings in Ankara and İstanbul. He also gives private guitar lessons. Since 2007 Emrah Baban has been a member of SOUL STUFF.
Reha Hendem (Bass)
Reha Hendem is a Bass player, singer, guitar player, song writer and composer. He was born in1975 in İstanbul and grew up in İzmir. After he played in local bands in İzmir, he then moved to İstanbul and has played in Soul Stuff since 2002. He also plays in his band Sugarfree, and many other bands like Yakup, Kargo, Özlem and Tekin,Beduk and with different musicians in the last 15 years. He has his own project named Reha Hendem and sings and plays his own songs and covers as well. He also works in his brother’s recording and music producing studio called Ses Sanayii in Istanbul.
Burak Ersöz (Drums)
Burak Ersöz was born in Ankara in 1977 and started playing drums at the age of 16. During his school years, he took part in a “Milliyet High School Music Competition” organized by one of the largest newspapers in Turkey, Milliyet, with the Özel Yükseliş Lisesi School Orchestra in Ankara, and took the lead in three categories. Burak began his professional music life in 1995. He became a member of the Blues and Rock’n’Roll Band called “Boogie People”, which appeared in the “Manhattan”, one of the most important music locations in Ankara. He then worked with various bands such as Fender Blenders, Watzzup, Black, Özge Fışkın, Zerrin Özer, Leman Sam, Özlem Tekin, Hande Yener, and Ayhan Sicimoğlu until 2001 when he joined SOUL STUFF, his main band. He is also active in other music projects. In 2007 he started to work as an International Relations Artist and Marketing Manager at Istanbul Agop Cymbals Company. At the same time he is active in the production and test phase of the new cymbal models involved.
Mehmet Ünal (Trumpet)
Mehmet Unal was born in 1981 in Ankara and is an Istanbul Based Composer and Sound Designer and Trumpet artist. He studied “Sound and Music Technology“ at the Bahçeşehir University Istanbul, “Electronic Music“ at Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Üniversityi Devlet Conservatory, Istanbul and finally “conducting and composing“ at the Hacettepe University, Ankara. Mehmet started playing trumpet when he was 13 years old and later he played in a hotel for the Pepsi Company which was a special night for him. Since 2003 he has been a member of SOUL STUFF.
Mehmet comes from a strong music background and is always fascinated by the beauty of technical objects, and developing his own instruments and algorithms in music is an integral part of his creative process. His installations, performances have been presented in Istanbul, New Mexico, Geneva, Paris, Prague, Cyprus and also on the Creators and Fubiz Media projects as social media platforms.
Emre Demicri (Trombone)
Emre was born in 1979 in Ankara. He studied “trombone“ at Hacettepe University Conservatory in Ankara from 1995 to 2005. From then on he has been working at the same University as a teacher. Emre played many times in a symphonic orchestra and opera in Turkey. Since 2004 he has been a member of the band SOUL STUFF.
Şükrü Kazaz (Drums)
Şükrü is another member of the band who supports them at concerts. His main band is FAKE (Brit Pop – Indie – Rock) from Istanbul which played on the 2nd of June at The SOULIST.
I have a weekly international music programme which is in the German language for Blues and Rock music listeners on Bayrak International Radio which is aired on a Sunday at 9pm. Click here to go to this channel or tune in to FM 87.8 and FM105 for live streaming.
The show is in German but my intention is to bring, through music, other foreign people to my show. I already have English, Turkish, Dutch and of course German listeners.