Cultural Studies MA student Cemre Zekiroglu participated the International Conference Rebel Streets: Urban Space, Art, and Social Movements, held in Tours, France on 28-29 May, 2019. The title of her talk was “Street Musicians Struggling to Open for Themselves a Space in the City”.
“We cannot be a bright color of the city”:
Street Musicians Struggling to Open for Themselves a Space in the City
Demet Lüküslü and Cemre Zekiroglu
Abstract: This paper focuses on a group of young street musicians playing ethnic music in a student city, Eskisehir, Turkey. Based on our ethnographic research on a group of young street musicians conducted in the framework of our Horizon 2020 project PARTISPACE, we argue that street music is a form of participation in the city life. The street musicians’ choice to play ethnic music and not restricting this ethnic music to Kurdish music but to extend it to Turkish, Arabic and Persian as a way to demonstrate the coexistence of different cultures and ethnic groups and doing it particularly in the street, besides being an artistic choice, should be considered as a political and ideological stand as well. This paper discusses the points of tension and conflict between the street musicians and the “audience” as well as the “local authorities” but also the possibilities of dialogue and cohabitation and demonstrate how these street musicians open for themselves a space in the city. Street musicians demonstrate perfectly well how these young people struggle to open themselves a space in the city, even though as already stated they believe that they can only be gray component of the city and will never be perceived as the “bright” side.