Şebnem Ferah Bookmark and Share


12 April 1972

Şebnem  was born in Yalova to Turkish immigrant parents from Skopje of the Republic of Macedonia. Being a very musical family (her father played Rumelian folk songs with bağlama, mandolin and piano) it wasn’t long Şebnem started playing herself. She got her first guitar when she was in the first year in boarding at Bursa Namık Sözeri High School. She got acoustic lessons. During her second year, she hired a studio with her friends and formed the group Pegasus. The group had their first stage experience during a rock festival in Bursa, in 1987. After a while, Pegasus disbanded. In 1988 with her four friends, Şebnem formed Volvox, which was named after the microorganism named volvox they encountered in a biology lesson. Oddly her first public outing wasn’t as a popartist but as the voice of ‘Ariel’ for the Disney movie ‘The Little Mermaid’ in 1989. After graduating from high school, she attended Middle East Technical University, studying economics, and moved to Ankara with her sister. During this time, she met Özlem Tekin, who has now also become another recognized pop-rock musician in Turkey, and Özlem joined Volvox. The band experienced some difficulties getting together however with the band members scattered over Ankara and Istanbul. In her second year at university Şebnem dropped out and moved to Istanbul. In Istanbul, she attended classes on English language and literature at the Istanbul University. For two years she performed in various bars with Volvox, until 1994, when Volvox disbanded.

An important change in Şebnem's musical career occurred when one of Volvox's records was featured on Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, the Turkish state television. She was noticed by Sezen Aksu and Onno Tunç, both important figures in Turkish music, and subsequently became a vocalist for Sezen Aksu. In 1996 she released her first solo album ‘Kadın’ and had a first hit with the single ‘Vazgeçtim Dünyadan’ (I gave up the world). A first gig at the university attracted 6000 people. Her personal life had a set back however when her sister Aycan Ferah suddenly died in 1998. Out of grief Ferrah wasn’t able to work till 1999 when she released ‘Artık Kısa Cümleler Kuruyorum’(There is nothing left to say) completely dedicated to her sister’s death. The album was created with the help of young rock guitarist Deniz Yilmaz. But that same year ill fate again struck when her father was killed in an earthquake. Again the experience was put to music on the ‘Perdeler’ (Curtains) album in 2001. The title track was a cooperation with Finnish metal symphony act Apocalyptica.

In 2004 she recorded a duet with rockband Mor ve Ötesi for their album ‘Dünya yalan söylüyor’. It is here that she met producer Tarkan Gözübüyük from metal group Pentagram. He joined Şebnem for her 2005 album ‘Can k ırıkları’ guiding her to a more heavier sound. In 2006, in honour of ten years in the bussiness fans surpised her with a plaque backstage after a show at the Bostanci Show Center. A year later she organises a special project called the ‘Istanbul Symphonic Project’ where she performs a compilation of her work. The show is later released on DVD. Meanwhile her song ‘Daha fazlasını iste’ is used in a Pepsi add. In 2008 she was awarded Best Female artist and proved that title with a headlining live performance at the festival Masstival. At the start of 2009 TRT send her a proposal to represent Turkey at the Eurovision (she refused, leaving the spot open for Belgian singer Hadise). In 2009 she contributed the song ‘Ünzile’ to a campaign for the ÇYDD (Çağdaş Yaşamı Destekleme Derneği) helping educational programs for children. At the end of the year a new album was released again produced by Gözübüyük. The album ‘Benim adım orman’ soared to number one. Meanwhile rumours that Şebnem is going to represent Turkey at the 2010 Eurovision are getting stronger.

On the web:

- Şebnem's website: http://www.sebnemferah.info
- and another website: http://www.seboist.com/

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts:

Subsonica (Italy)

What do we think:

PR: Şebnem, together with many other female singers from Turkey, continues on the path paved by Sezen Aksu. But Şebnem takes it another step further. She has created a new mixture of (hard)rock and typical Turkish folk and pop music (think of Within Temptation Turkish style). Her influence on Turkish pop music is therefor significant. And I can only imagine the role model she must be for young Turkish girls... There is more to her music than just some heavy guitars, she can actually write very good pop songs, often with a melancholic or even sombre atmosphere. And she knows how to deliver the songs on stage. According to the reports and reviews her performances are very eventful (check youtube if you want to see some live clips). Her double album 'Perdeler' is my favourite album of her, very consistant.

DB: Since the nineties Turkey has become very good in delivering rock music with balls ánd an oriental vibe. And on the forefront there are as much man as woman.
bnem can be considered one of the flagbearers of the new Turkish rockscene. Great stuff if you're not scared of some heavy guitars and industrial beats here and there. Especially when Gözübüyük started intervening with the production her sound took a turn to the heavier.

Albums :

- Kadın - 1996

♪♪♪ - Artık k ısa c ümleler kuruyorum - 1999

♪♪♪♪ - Perdeler - 2001

♪♪♪♪ - Kelimeler yetse - 2003

- Can k ırıkları - 2005

- 10 mart 2007 İstanbul konseri - 2007

♪♪♪ - Benim adım orman - 2009

♪♪♪ - Od - 2013

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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