The Best Of Bodrum
Three musicians playing their instruments at an event in Bodrum Castle.

Songs About Bodrum

Bodrum has been a source of inspiration for musicians for many years. They have composed songs about Bodrum, expressing their feelings of love, passion, and the captivating beauty they have discovered in this beautiful Aegean town. The music they have created has played a significant role in enhancing Bodrum’s reputation.

Although I believed that I was familiar with most of these songs, I was pleasantly surprised to find a larger number of songs about Bodrum than I had anticipated when surfing the web. After some digging, I have managed to narrow down this long list to a selection of eight melodies that particularly resonated with me. Like other articles on the Bodrum Blog, I have tried to highlight the connection between local culture and songs below. I hope you find these insights useful as you explore the lifestyle of the region.

Now, I am eager to hear your perspective. Which song or songs from the below list do you find most appealing? Please feel free to leave a comment at the end of this page and share your favourite song with us. Let’s celebrate the joy of music together!

#1: Bodrum Bodrum by MFO

Biraz deniz, biraz uyku
Butun istegim buydu

A little bit of sea, a little bit of sleep
That was all I wanted

This song is not only the most famous song about Bodrum, but it is also probably one of the best-known songs in Turkey. Since its release in 1976, it has become a symbol of the city, often called the Bodrum anthem. Today, as you walk through Bodrum’s narrow streets, you are still likely to hear this simple melody playing in a bar, cafe, or even someone’s home.

I first heard this song back in university, making me eager to visit the town described in the lyrics. However, being a student on a tight budget, my family’s summer house in Erdek was my only option for a vacation. I had to find a way to get there. So, I decided to hitchhike, and eventually, I made it. During my first visit to Bodrum, I worked as a waiter in a small bar on Bars Street. The song “Bodrum Bodrum” was so popular that we played it 5-6 times every night.

#2: Bodrum 72 by Gundogarken

Iki asik bile birbirini unutur
Bodrum’dan baska bir sey dusunulmez Bodrum’da

Even two lovers forget each other
Nothing else is thought of in Bodrum except Bodrum

This tune is my number one favourite among all songs about Bodrum. Even though I usually enjoy classical music and jazz, this Turkish pop song has a special place in my heart.

“Bodrum 72” brings back memories of my six years in Bodrum. It reminds me of the wonderful people I met and the beautiful places I visited during that time. I particularly love the Aegean sounds and rhythms created by the mandolin in this song, which is why it’s my top pick.

Similar to the first one, this is an old song released in 1988. Gundogarken is a trio consisting of an uncle and his two nephews. The name “Gundogarken” means “as the sun rises” in Turkish. The trio’s repertoire includes many simple yet calming pieces that’ll take you straight to the sandy beaches of the Mediterranean. Their music is known for its soothing melodies and relaxed vibe.

#3: Cokertme by Anonymous

Burasi da Aspat degil Halil’im aman Bitez yalisi
Cigerime ates saldi aman kursun yarasi

This is not Aspat, my dear Halil, this is the Bitez coast
Ah fellas, that bullet burns my heart out

“Cokertme” is a powerful Turkish folk song that originates from the Bodrum Peninsula. It tells the tragic story of Halil Efe, a brave warrior from Bodrum in the early 20th century. As one of the most fascinating songs about Bodrum, “Cokertme” is a beautiful example of the traditional folk music from the Aegean Region of Turkey.

Before moving on to the story behind this song, I believe it would be helpful to explain what an Efe is. Without this explanation, the lyrics might sound strange to most people.

A Guerilla Commander in the Songs about Bodrum

Zeybeks were militia and guerrilla groups that lived in the Aydin, Denizli, and Mugla provinces from the 16th to the 20th centuries. They were considered outlaws but were also seen as heroes by local villagers because they protected peasants from landlords and bandits. It was like a Robin Hood story, you know.

These irregular soldiers, the zeybeks, lived in groups. Each group had a leader known as an Efe. An Efe was a courageous and honourable warrior who was highly respected by the local communities.

Black and white photo of Zeybeks, who were irregular soldiers from 16th to 20th centuries, have been the subject of some of the songs about Bodrum.
Old photo of Zeybeks, irregular soldiers from 16th to 20th centuries. Source: Wikipedia

Although there are no more efes or zeybeks in modern-day Turkey, they still have a special place in Turkish history and culture. They made a lasting impact on Turkish people by joining the forces of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk during the war of independence. After the war, when the Turkish Republic was established, they willingly disbanded. Some of them joined the army, but most of them moved to cities, towns, and villages in the Aegean Region and lived a normal life since then.

Efe is a popular modern name for children born especially after the 1990s, which reflects the respect they still hold in contemporary Turkish society.

Back to Cokertme

This is a real story about an efe who got hunted and then killed by the district governor of the Ottoman Empire. Halil Efe and his men, like other zeybek groups, were against the harsh system that oppressed poor villagers with high and unjust taxes. Their resistance against the local government made them targets. Cokertme is one of the old folk songs about Bodrum that emerged in folk culture to criticize the unfair actions of the landlords.

Halil Efe’s zeybeks were surrounded by soldiers. Most of the men were killed, and only a few, including Halil Efe, managed to escape the attack. Halil Efe’s plan was to reach Kos Island by boat from Cokertme, but he was caught and killed during the attempt.

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The song “Cokertme” refers to the area where Yalikavak Marina is now located. It is often mistaken for the village with the same name situated 53 kilometers east of Bodrum. Aspat, on the other hand, is the name of the beach and the hill right behind it, near Akyarlar.

If you are fortunate enough to attend a local traditional event, like a wedding, expect to hear this song played first. It is a popular song for the Zeybek dance, a unique and mesmerizing folk dance of the region.

This song has been rearranged and sung numerous times by the giants of Turkish music such as Cem Karaca, Ahmet Kaya, Ersen ve Kardaslar, Suavi, Tolga Candar, and many others. It is one of the few songs about Bodrum that appeals to a wide audience in Turkey, regardless of their music preferences.

#4: Bodrum’un Sulari by Sila

Icimdeki atesle Bodrum’un sularina
Sarilip sarilip agladim sonmedim, sonmedim yeminle

With the fire inside me, I hugged the waters of Bodrum and cried
Yet, I did not extinguish, I swear I did not extinguish

“Bodrum’un Suları” translates to “Waters of Bodrum” in Turkish. Sila is a Turkish singer and songwriter who performs in pop, jazz, and rock genres. She personally writes her song lyrics and collaborates with Efe Bahadir on composing them. Do you remember our earlier discussion about the name Efe?

Sila is a trained musician who studied jazz at university. Her songwriting style heavily incorporates various metaphors and symbols, which made translating the lyrics challenging. Simply listen to her strong voice and enjoy!

#5: Bodrum’da by Humeyra

Aklima dusuverdin huzunlu sessiz
Bilmem neden elini elimde istedim
Yillar sonra seni Bodrum’da ozledim

You fell into my mind, melancholic and silent
I don’t know why, but I wanted your hand in mine
I missed you in Bodrum after all these years

Classic songs are timeless treasures! Here’s a romantic melody from Humeyra, a famous singer of the 70s in Turkey. Even at the age of 76, she continues to shine as a film star, appearing in TV series. With such a long career, it wouldn’t be surprising if she has more songs about Bodrum in her repertoire!

The song is called “At Bodrum”. As Humeyra strolls through the streets of Bodrum, memories of an old love flood her mind, remembering the places in Bodrum where they once shared moments together.

#6: Begonvil by Sezen Aksu

Begonvil boy vermistir simdi,
Yasemen basmistir Bodrum’u
Kokusu geldi ruzgarin
Bir kelebek optu boynumu

The bougainvillea has blossomed now
The jasmine has filled Bodrum
The scent has arrived with the wind
A butterfly kissed my neck

Sezen Aksu has been a significant figure in Turkish pop music for years. She is one of the most respected and popular musicians in Turkey. Her fan base is vast, not only due to her music and lyrics but also because she has mentored and introduced numerous young musicians to the music scene of the country.

“Begonvil” translates to bougainvillea in Turkish and is a common sight in Bodrum’s landscapes. Although this plant is widespread across the Mediterranean, it has become a symbol of the city’s beauty and charm.

#7: Bodrum Mavisi by Cuneyt Akgun

Hic Bodrum yagmurunda islandin mi?
Nergis kokulariyla uyandin mi?
Masamda kalmis birkac mandalin
Hic boyle sevdalandin mi?

Did you ever get wet in the rain of Bodrum?
Did you wake up with the scent of daffodils?
A few mandarins left on my table,
Have you ever fallen in love like this?

This is another song about Bodrum with joyful Aegean melodies. “Bodrum Mavisi” means “Bodrum Blue”, highlighting the various shades of blue of the Aegean Sea. It is a love story set in the magical atmosphere of the town.

Bodrum Mavisi is the newest song in this list, released in 2021. Cuneyt Akgun, the singer and songwriter, extensively incorporates elements of traditional Turkish music into his songs.

#8: Mimoza by Ayna

Gumuslukte seni bulana kadarmis
Ah yasadigim aci dolu yillar
Yeniden dogmus gibiyim
Artik hep boyle sonuna kadar

It was until I found you in Gumusluk
Oh, the years filled with pain that I lived through
I feel like I’ve been reborn
Now, it’s always like this until the end

The last song on my Top 8 list is “Mimoza,” named after the mimosa flower in Turkish. This romantic song is about the tale of two lovers who found each other at the breathtaking Gumusluk coast. Mimosas bloom abundantly all over the Bodrum peninsula. They are inseparable part of the local landscape. In the context of the lyrics, Mimoza is also the nickname of the lady who inspired this song.

Ayna, a well-known rock band from Turkey, has been creating music since 1996. With a strong fan base and a solid presence in the industry, Ayna continues to capture the hearts of their audience with their tunes.

More Songs About Bodrum

I am happy to share with you that THEBESTOFBODRUM has a brand-new YouTube channel. I have already created a playlist with the above mentioned 8 songs about Bodrum, and I will continue to update it with more songs in the future. I also plan to publish my own videos and feature content about Bodrum, as well as travel videos from other creators.

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The Best of Bodrum

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My name is Akinsal, and I created The Best of Bodrum, a travel blog to help you to get most out of your time in Bodrum and the Aegean Region.

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