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Turkish diva Sezen Aksu delights Carnegie Hall with concer
Hurriyet Daily News, 07.04.2010

Turkey's famous 'Little Sparrow,' pop singer and composer Sezen Aksu, continued her concert series in the U.S. on Tuesday night at New York's Carnegie Hall. With an orchestra conducted by composer Fahir Atakoğlu, Aksu drew sustained applause from the crowd. Aksu, who finished her series Wednesday, was on tour in the U.S. for the first time since 2000

One of Turkey's biggest pop music exports, Sezen Aksu, filled New York's Carnegie Hall on Tuesday night for a night of nostalgia with almost 3,000 fans.

Performing along with composer and pianist Fahir Atakoğlu, Aksu was on stage for roughly two-and-a-half hours at the hall's Isaac Stern Auditorium.

Aksu began the concert with Atakoğlu's song "Lal" (Rose). She also performed late musician Onno Tunç's "Geri Dön" (Come Back) and "Sen Ağlama" (Don't You Cry), which are among her most famous songs, accompanied by the audience. During the concert, Aksu commemorated Tunç, who died in a plane accident in 1996 and shared her memories of him.

Among her other songs were "Alaturka," "Şinanay," "Hadi Bakalım Kolay Gelsin" (Come On Now), "Belly Rakkas" (Dancer), "El Gibi" (Like a Foreigner), "Istanbul Istanbul Olalı" (Since Istanbul Became Istanbul) and "Kalbim Ege'de Kaldı" (I Left My Heart in the Aegean).

Aksu's vocalist, Nurcan Eren, whom she invited to the stage, provided a magnificent rendition of "Sarışınım" (My Blond) and received a standing ovation from the audience.

Throughout the night, Aksu maintained a warm rapport between herself and her fans, telling them how deeply she appreciated their deep and heartfelt friendship. "I am very happy that I have this experience."

Touched on democratic initiative as well

Speaking about Turkey's democratic initiative, Aksu discussed the country's Roma citizens, saying, "We don't have any indication that any human is superior to any other." With the words eliciting great applause from the audience, she said music and songs always bring people together in peace.

"I thank you all. I hope you will remember me as a nice person after I leave here," she said.

During the concert, Aksu also praised Atakoğlu, who played his own songs. His song, "Sarı Zeybek" (The Yellow Zeybek), was well received by the crowd and drew loud applause.

At the end of the concert, Aksu returned to the stage for an encore and performed two more songs, including "Arkadaş" (Friend), for which she received a long standing ovation.

Among the spectators at the concert were Turkey's permanent representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Ertuğrul Apakan, and his wife, Lale Apakan, New York Consul General Mehmet Samsar and his wife, Feruze Samsar, as well as actress Meltem Cumbul.

The Sezen Aksu Concert Series was organized by GNL Entertainment and magazine TurkofAmerica, which is published in the U.S. in English, and sponsored by the Washington-based Turkish Cultural Foundation.

The series began at Strathmore Concert Hall in North Bethesda, Maryland, on Sunday and drew great interest from Turks living in Maryland, New York and New Jersey, Virginia, Washington D.C., Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and even Florida, according to organizers.

The present series marks the first time Aksu has embarked on a U.S. tour, having not played in the country since the "Moon and Stars Project" in 2000.