I was in between my favorite dizis over winter break in 2018, looking through the list of dizis I hadn’t seen. I came across a series called Siyah Beyaz Ask. I was relatively new to dizis and unfamiliar with the actors in the series, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. It was also one of the ones I could find English translations for!
I clicked play and was hooked in the first minutes. Then the opening soundtrack for the series began and I was transported into another world. Click on the video below and see what I mean.
Siyah Beyaz Ask Opening Soundtrack
It didn’t take me long to realize that I wasn’t the only one captivated by the music of the series. Many of my social media friends were having discussions about the ethereal quality of the musical score too. Of course, the script and the storyline are excellent; but the music takes the series to a whole different level.
So in September of 2019 when a few of my friends and I planned a trip to Istanbul, we decided to contact Yildiray Gurgen, the composer of the music, on the off chance we could meet with him. Yıldıray is quite active on social media and responsive to fan questions and comments so we sent him a message. We were surprised when he said he’d be happy to meet with us while we were in Istanbul and to contact him upon arrival! While we were elated that he acknowledged us, we really had no expectation that he would have time to meet with us.
Nevertheless, being the pushy North Americans we are, we messaged and let him know we were in town. And what do you know?! He responded right away and told us to meet him at his studio in Besiktas. It took us a while to get through the Istanbul traffic but we finally made it and were greeted at the door by our casually dressed and smiling host. He graciously welcomed us to his art deco studio and made us feel at home right away.
Yıldıray speaks perfect Australian English, peppered with a dry sense of humor. And he’s definitely not shy! He was genuinely surprised that his music is appreciated by audiences all around the world, and seemed eager to share his story. And what a story it is!
In bringing his story to you, we felt rather than write about it, we would share his spoken words in a series of video clips over the coming weeks. As you will hear, Yıldıray Gürgen is articulate, insightful, very down to earth and quite intelligent.
His most recent project is the musical score for the successful new series Dogdugun Ev Kaderindir, (My Home is my Destiny) starring İbrahim Çelikkol and Demet Özdemir. Yıldıray’s repertoire of music is quite impressive spanning decades and including dozens of soundtracks. Among others, he’s written musical scores for the popular series Vatanim Sensin (Wounded Love) starring Halit Ergenç and Bergüzar Korel and the movie Sadece Sen (Just You) starring Ibrahim Celikkol, currently streaming on Netflix.
Siyah Beyaz Ask is the one we had all watched, so we asked Yıldıray to start there and talk us through how he came up with the concept.
You can hear Yıldıray talk about his approach in the video below.