We have only one WORLD yet! If we destroy it, where else will we go?
Winter 2002: 8th issue - **2nd Anniversary**
BARIS MANÇO: "One who does not possess a good
understanding of his past,
can not comprehend his present and,
thus, can not build his future."

Author, Composer, Singer, Producer and TV Personality

by Savas MANÇO

A Man of the Turkish People who successfully put his name to many firsts and records

Baris Manço was born in the maternity ward of Zeynep Kâmil Hospital in the Üsküdar district of Istanbul, during the night that linked the 1st to the 2nd of January in 1943. No doubt, his parents wanted to express the longing of all humanity that had been living through an infernal and devastating war for almost 5 years, and in a cry of hope they named their little baby "Baris!"  Baris means 'peace' in Turkish and this occasion marked the first time ever a baby was given this name in the country. Their son certainly did not disappoint the family: by the time he had rejoined his Creator in Heavens, he had left behind a series of important work that was prepared and crafted with the aspiration that it may serve as a guide for 'humanity to live in peace.' 

Baris Manço, after successfully completing his secondary education at the Galatasaray Lycée (enrolment number: 1018, nickname: Small Bear) in Istanbul, he graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Liège, Belgium, in 1969. As a manifestation of his interest in languages of the world, he was fluent in Turkish, French, English and Japanese, and could comfortably carry a conversation in German, Arabic, Dutch, Spanish and Italian.

The wealth of knowledge and culture that Baris Manço retained from his family, his nation, his education, his lifetime experiences and, especially, from the gifts with which nature had blessed him at birth, provided him with the ability to forge direct, warm and mutually enriching communications with countless people from all walks of life in more than sixty countries.  

The first time Baris Manço performed on stage was at a small town wedding party in 1958. He quickly attracted attention with his band Harmoniler (Harmonies) that he had formed with his classmates during the festivals held at Galatasaray Lycee's Tevfik Fikret conference hall [named in dedication to a great man of Letters who also had been one of the school's former directors]. During a long career of 41 years that ensued, Baris Manço shared his particular music with many musicians, some of whom were international performers who admired the music created by him and his bands Mogollar and Kaygisizlar .  From the time he finished his military service as a Lieutenant in the artillery division of the Turkish Army until his passing on January 31, 1999, his musical career was identified with that of his band, Kurtalan Ekspres; the latter was named after a modest train that leaves Istanbul's Haydarpasa Train Station every evening for a 3-day journey across Anatolia, from Northwest to Southeast, that fulfils a not-so-modest task of connecting the largest city of Turkey, once the capital of the Eastern Roman and Ottoman Empires, to the ancient Mesopotamian town of Kurtalan.

"Peace at Home - Peace in the World"

Baris Manço composed more than 200 songs including both the music and lyrics. He has not given to me the task of appraising his work but it certainly is popular since many of his songs were translated into Greek, Romanian, Bulgarian, Arabic, Persian, Kurdish, Japanese, Hebrew, French, English and Dutch, and were a part of the repertories of artists singing in those languages.  

Proverbs and sayings (Atasözü in Turkish, literally 'words of ancestors') flourished in the songs of Baris Manço, which were written in simple forms using an 'almost childish' language. Thus, the work seems very easy to understand though, paradoxically, gives rise to quite deep thoughts and emotions. In fact, Baris Manço patiently embroidered not only his songs but also his 2 television programs during the last 11 years of his life, 'From 7 to 77's' and 'Full Gallop', around the double axis that constitutes the Principle of Kemalism: "Peace at Home - Peace in the World." On one hand, he addressed the Turkish people as a whole with themes touching upon the Republic of Turkey, national unity, solidarity and brotherhood among people and World peace; on the other hand, the messages were clearly designated to the individual, the Citizen of Earth, provoking him to think about subjects such as honesty and excellence at work, equality, justice, modesty, respect for the nature and for others, love for his offspring, importance of family, importance of education, knowledge and understanding of the past. Baris used to say: "One who does not possess a good understanding of his past, can not comprehend his present and, thus, can not build his future", trust in himself and others, internal peace and personal freedom. Here is an example of his attempt to keep his messages simple and consistent: one of his songs is named, with a pinch of humour, 'Let me see you read: B-e-a-r!'. The 4th page of the Turkish daily Milliyet's Sunday edition, which he directed between 1992 and 1994, was also entitled 'Let me see you read!'.

Curiously, the first foreign publication that printed a picture of Baris Manço, heralding him as 'Turkey's rock idol' was the National Geographic Magazine, on page 380 of its March 1973 issue. During the years that followed, Manço appeared in hundreds of international newspapers, magazines and broadcasts over five continents, including Italian sports daily (and thus not musically-oriented) 'Corriere dello Sport' which sells more than a million copies a day. As a result, on his long list of Copyrights and royalty receipts one can come across the names of countries as distant and diverse as Venezuela, Congo or Malaysia.


Baris Manço, during his artistic career of 41 years, not only took stage thousands of times in all the large and small cities of his home country but also in Japan, Malaysia, Australia, Congo, Argentina, the United States, Russia, Turkish-speaking Turkic Republics and Regions of the former Soviet Union, Arab countries, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Germany, Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and France; and was invited to various radio and television shows in these countries. 

Smile from one world citizen

The television career of Baris Manço began when in October, 1988,  TRT1, the first channel of the national television in Turkey, accepted the conception of an entertainment program with a strong cultural and educational content, primarily addressing children but, as its name suggested, being mindful of a wider audience 'from 7 to 77' while sprinkling Manço's music between segments. The objective proposed and realised by this program was to show that the Citizens of Earth are always capable of smiling even when they find themselves in an environment tainted with devastation and misery. In other words, the program wanted to present an alternative to the so-called 'realistic press' by remaining faithful to truth. By the time the 378th and final episode had aired on December 6, 1998 this program had reached hundreds of millions of viewers domestically and also internationally thanks to the broadcasts via the Turkish satellite system TURKSAT. In order to produce the episodes during the 10 years and 3 months that the show lasted, Baris Manço travelled from the Equator to the Poles, visiting more than a hundred countries and regions over 5 continents, covering more than 600 thousand kilometres in search of the 'smile from one world citizen' and brought that smile to another elsewhere.


The second TV program of Baris Manço was called '4X 21: Dolu Dizgin' which may be translated into English as '4 X 21: Full Gallop'. This high quality music/talk show, which was brought to the TV screens by TRT1 on 52 Thursdays (on 4th day at 21 - 9pm -  between October, 1992 and the end of 1993, remains in the annals of Turkish television perhaps as the most memorable production for the variety and diversity of its guests. 'Dolu Dizgin' had the distinction of being the first in Turkey to invite artists from the Turkic-speaking Republics and Regions of the former Soviet Union. During the end-of-year episode that was broadcast on December 31, 1992, it also became the only show that was able to bring together more than 500 children and 4 leaders of state on its stage with live participation from 5 cities that constitute the corners and the center of the  Anatolian Peninsula, as well as from Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Cyprus.

Many achievements in Baris Manço's 41-year career were officially recognised through more than 300 trophies and prizes, and were rewarded with the following titles and decorations:

  • Republic of Bulgaria: Golden Orpheus of art and music, Varna  (1980)
  • Turkish American Society: honorary member, New York, USA  (1989)
  • Republic of Turkey: Ambassador of Art, Ankara (1991)
  • Hacettepe University: Honorary Doctor of the Arts, Ankara, Turkey (1991)
  • Soka Gakkai University: International Medal of "Culture and Peace", Tokyo, Japan  (1991), for having put his music in  the service of the World peace
  • Kingdom of Belgium: Knight of the order of Léopold II, Brussels (1992)
  • Republic of France: Knight of the Arts and Letters, Paris  (1992)
  • Pamukkale University: Honorary Doctor of the Arts, Denizli, Turkey (1995)
  • Min-On Artistic Foundation: Supreme Medal of Honour, Tokyo, Japan  (1995)
  • City of Liège: Honorary Citizen, Liège, Belgium (1997 )
  • Republic of Turkmenistan: Honorary Turkmen Compatriote, Askabad (1998)
  • University of Askabad: Honorary Professor, Turkmenistan  (1998)    


When Baris left us shortly before midnight on January 31, 1999 he was the husband of Lâle (Tulip) and the father of 2 boys: Dogukan (Blood of East) and Batikan (Blood of West).

You can find more information regarding Baris Manço, his career and his music at http://www.barismanco.de 

A final note: the gifts by which the Creator had blessed him; the first name that his parents gave him; his life of 56 years spent close to nature and, I believe, lived "almost childishly"; his terrific career of 41 years and his conscientious work created with a lot of love and patience but also with method and courage; the intensity and the sincerity of the pain felt by those who had known him, both domestically and abroad, the day of his passing; and, the boundless growth of the snowball of love that the "Citizens of Earth" expressed to him already makes me believe once more that my brother was "chosen" and he carried out brilliantly the task which he had received. I ask the good God to receive him with open arms.

If there really exists a Baris Manço phenomenon its slogan should consist of the initial letters of his name coupled with the abbreviations of his 2 television programs: 'from 7 to 77' and 'Dolu Dizgin (Full Gallop)':è BM777DD

In a world full of wars - there is no peace without war, indeed; but, we should not forget that love is the path to peace - sincere wishes for Peace and Love to you all;

Savas MANÇO,

His elder brother

(Savas means "war" in Turkish: having been born at the beginning of the Great War, I had the right to this first name!)


Liège, Belgium  April 26,  2001

This issue dedicated to such distinguished poet & composer as (alphabetical order):

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