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8 November 2014  |  0 comment  |  Zeynep Bakir

Lord of the Gramophones

They call him the master of masters, “Father Gramophone”.

  • Lord of the Gramophones
  • Lord of the Gramophones
  • Lord of the Gramophones
  • Lord of the Gramophones

“When reel tapes and cassette players were released in the sixties, gramophones either abandoned to their fate in attics, or used to ignite stoves,” says Mehmet Öztekin, one of the few gramophone masters of Turkey.

They call him the master of masters, “Father Gramophone”. After you enter the Grand Bazaar from the Nuriosmaniye gate, walking towards the Silversmiths Bazaar, you’ll hear a scratchy voice, perhaps Müzeyyen Senar, perhaps Dede Efendi. This is their shop. 

There are sixty gramophones on average, and countless gramophone records inside. This is a profession he inherited from his father, who inherited from his father as well… Mehmet Öztekin says that he is the slave of his love of gramophones. He repairs gramophones, and produces new ones. If the incoming customers want to buy a gramophone as a decorative element, he just gives them one of the few Chinese made gramophone, or chases them of politely. He’s so in love with the things that he says, “I don’t sell my precious gramophones if they’re not in love with their scratch”… The oldest gramophone in his possession was made in 1904. Bu he prizes his Turkish gramophone made in 1914 during wartime more.

He’s a philosopher you can chat about musical history prior to 1960 and gramophones… One of the living values of Istanbul. But a tiny warning: He’s not fond of the “Instagram” youth who take photos and leave. Thus he took a precaution by saying, “No visitors accepted for more than ten minutes.” 

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