What to do, what to see in December in Istanbul?
This December in Istanbul announces a propitious period for many events with concerts with local artists as well as artists from all over the world, the XXF Very Very French festival so long-awaited especially by the young francophone community that lives on the spot, and a program of matches for football enthusiasts wishing to experience the incredible atmosphere of the Turkish stadiums. Of course, the Euroleague of basketball is not outdone with several matches planned for the end of 2019.
Between the showcases and the beautifully decorated streets to celebrate the end of the year, and the happy atmosphere of the new year, you will be spoiled for choice through the events that are on the program. Here is the summary of the cultural agenda in December 2019 in Istanbul. For the New Year’s Eve party, we will propose to our readers a special article, “December 31”, to wind up this year joyfully.
December 1 – Grup Abdal: The Turkish music group will take up the classics of Turkish folk songs in their way. The group will be at the Kadikoy Community Center.
December 1 – Edis: The young Turkish composer and pop singer will be at the Volkswagen Arena.
December 2 – Sertab’in Müzikali: Sertab Erener offers the audience a feast, both visual and auditory, with costumes and choreographies specially prepared for each song. You are invited to celebrate 25 years of Sertab’s art with a unique 120-minute show at the Zorlu PSM.
December 2 – Evgeny Grinko: The Russian composer and pianist who has enjoyed great success in the world of music with his song “Valse” will be in concert at Bostanci Showland.
December 3 – Royal Chamber Orchestra of Wallonia: The Belgian chamber orchestra founded in 1958 will be on stage at the Iş Kuleleri Salonu, led by conductor Frank Braley and accompanied by pianist and symphonic composer Muhiddin Dürrüoglu alongside French trumpeter Romain Leleu.
December 4, 6 & 7 – Hakan Altun: Turkish Arab composer and singer will be on stage at the Jolly Joker Vadistanbul.
December 5 – Cameristi Della Scala: The repertoire of the Cameristi Della Scala Orchestra includes conductors-most important works from the 18th century to the present day and gives a special place to the original Italian instrumental music of the 19th century, often characterized by solos of great virtuosity. They’ll be at CRR Concert Hall.
December 5 – Aspova: Turkish hip-hop singer will be at IF Performance Hall Besiktaş.
December 5 – Vendredi sur Mer: The young Swiss singer who has become a rising figure in the French pop scene with her delicate rap will be on stage at the 100% Studio du Zorlu PSM.
December 5 – Blanco White: Blanco White started as a solo project by London’s Josh Edwards in 2014. After studying guitar in Cadiz in Spain and later the Andean instrument charango in Sucre in Bolivia, Edwards’ goal was to bring together Andalusian and Latin American elements. The artist will perform at Babylon.
December 5 & 8 – Patron: the famous Turkish rapper will be in concert in Istanbul at the Dorock XL Kadıköy and the Beirut Performance.
December 6 & 7 – The Aristocrats: The progressive rock band mixing dirty rock, folk and jazz will be at the 100% Studio du Zorlu PSM.
6 December – Sıla: Very popular and controversial for her positions about domestic violence against women, Turkish pop singer Sıla will perform at the Volkswagen Arena.
December 6 – Hania Rani: The pianist and composer who shares her life between Germany and Poland will perform at the Salon IKSV.
December 6 – Nuri Harun: The Turkish singer with a female voice and a wide repertoire of music of all genres from the 1970s to the 1990s will perform at the Anahit Sahne.
December 6 & 12 – Eda Baba: The new Turkish rock diva with traditional influences will perform at Kadiköy Sahne on December 6 and will be on stage at IF Performance Hall Besiktaş on December 12.
December 7 – Six Pack: This band, highly appreciated by audiences on the Asian shores of Istanbul, will perform jazz and pop songs from the 80s and 90s, mostly English and Turkish at the Tamirane Akasya.
December 7 – Ilyas Yalçıntaş: Turkish pop singer will be on stage at the Sanat Performance.
December 9 – Pagagnini: For the first time in Istanbul, the Spanish quarter will perform at the CRR Concert Hall for a stunning show!
December 11 – Miraz: The Kurdish music group that traces the region of Mesopotamia through its music will be on stage at Şişli Cemil Candaş Kent Kültür.
December 11-28 – Cem Adrian: The outstanding singer, composer, and performer will be at the Jolly Joker Vadistanbul on December 11 and at the Moda Kağıthane on December 21. Known for his ability to sing bass to soprano because his vocal cords are three times longer than those of a normal person, Cem Adrian will offer a unique performance to his audience this December.
December 12 – Camel Power Club / Napkey: After a tour of Mexico and Europe; Camel Power Club makes a smashing debut in 2014 with a 1st Ep called Sputnik, condensed with many influences: funk, nu-disco, power pop, electro, and many others. The evening will continue with the Parisian pop-electro duo Napkey, a mind-blowing musical and scenic performance. The performance will take place on the stage of the 100% Studio of Zorlu PSM!
December 12 – Kokoko: This collective born in Kinshasa capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo is from a creative collision of different artists that fused at a block party. They’re best known for creating a contemporary aesthetic all their own by re-wiring and up-cycling materials such as metal, cans, engine parts and plastic containers found in Kinshasa’s streets into vital sculptural resonant dance music. Their distorted fast rhythms and spontaneous lo-fi electric sounds provide the chaotic soundtrack for the city’s harsh yet abundantly creative realities. Don’t miss them at Babylon.
December 13 – Yeni Türkü: The music band that has been around for decades and produces a wide variety of songs, from rebetiko to pop, türkü (traditional Turkish song), and folk. The band will perform on stage at the IF Performance Hall Besiktaş.
December 13 – Yildiz Tilbe: The Turkish pop star is one of Turkey’s best-selling musical artists, known for her Oriental-inspired songs of the 1990s. She will be on stage at the Bostanci Showland.
December 13 & 15 – Amorphis: Finnish heavy metal band with a modern and melancholic style will be on stage at 100% Studio of Zorlu PSM!
December 13 – Serkan Kaya: Arab and pop singer will be on stage at the Jolly Joker Vadistanbul.
December 13 – Can Bonomo: the original Sephardic rocker and former Turkish representative at Eurovision will perform a concert at the Dorock XL Kadiköy.
December 14 – Ajda Pekkan: A true icon of Turkish pop for more than 30 years, the artist will perform on stage at the Bostanci Showland for a stunning concert, as usual.
December 14 – Berkay: The Turkish pop singer who has been seducing his audience for several years with his lively ballads will be at the Jolly Joker Vadistanbul.
December 14 – Hayko Cepkin: Armenian-born alternative Turkish metal singer with an original look will be in concert at the Dorock XL Kadiköy.
December 14 – Kalben: Turkish indie-rock star will perform at Salon IKSV.
December 14 – Zakkum: Turkish rock band will perform at the Beirut Performance.
December 15 & 17 – Borusan Quartet: First string quartet in Turkey, Borusan Quartet will perform a concert of Shubert in a classical opera and theatre inaugurated in 1927, the Süreyya Opera House.
December 18 – Son Feci Bisiklet: The 4-member Turkish alternative music group will be in concert at the Dorock XL Kadiköy. This band, whose musical sounds are inspired by the famous Turkish bands Manga, Sakin, Grup 84, Zakkum, Gripin, and Tnk, was a resounding success after its first concert in Manhattan in Ankara, the capital’s must-see scene.
December 19 – Gaye Su Akyol: Turkish indie-pop singer mixing Turkish and Western influences will be on the Babylon stage.
December 19 – Kahraman Deniz: The rock singer, one of Turkey’s best-selling and most popular artists, will be in concert at the Dorock XL Kadiköy.
December 20 – Karsu: The pop diva with an exceptional voice will perform on the Bostancı Showland stage for her fans’ greatest pleasure.
December 20 – Merve Özbey: The pop artist who made the Turks dance in the summer of 2018 with his hit “Curacak” will be in concert at the Jolly Joker Vadistanbul.
December 20 & 21 – Nekropsi: The band, whose sounds mix alternative music and progressive rock, will perform at Salon IKSV.
December 21 – Vicente Amigo: The Spanish composer and guitarist considered one of the greatest of the contemporary flamenco guitar will be on stage at CRR Concert Hall. He has played with El Pélé, José Mercé, Camarón de la Isla, Rosario, Carmen Linares, Khaled, and Niña Pastori.
December 21 – Fazil Say: The Turkish virtuoso pianist who used to fill entire stadiums will be at the Volkswagen Arena in his concert entitled “Water and Hope”.
December 22 – Fuat Ergin: The artist is part of this new wave of Turkish rappers who have been contributing to the expansion of Turkish hip-hop for some time. He also collaborated with 16 other artists on the daring musical project “Susamam”– which means “I can’t be silent” – whose purpose was to denounce controversial issues that have affected and still affect Turkish society economically, politically and socially. Fuat Ergin will be on stage at the Beirut Performance.
December 23 – Janoska Ensemble: Four classical music artists and a distinctive sound from the Danube region, the Janoskas have been a family of musicians for more than 250 years. They will play at the CCR Concert Hall.
December 25 – Multitap: The group composed of simple but touching rhythms and melodies with an electronics background will perform at the Dorock XL Kadiköy.
December 26 – Jakuzi: Founded by the duo Kutay Soyocak and Taner Yücel, they offer music with synth-pop, new-wave, darkwave and post-punk influences. Jakuzi will perform on the stage of Babylon.
December 27 – Redd: The Turkish rock band founded by tenor opera singer Doğan Duru and guitarist Berke Hatipoğlu will perform at the Beirut Performance.
December 28 – Adamlar: This dynamic indie-rock band from the Turkish alternative music scene is back on stage at the IF Performance Hall Besiktaş.
December 28 – Roberta Gambarini: The Italian jazz singer nominated for the Grammy Awards in the “Best jazz vocal album” category in 2006 will be on stage at CRR Concert Hall. The artist is known for having sung alongside artists in world tours such as Toots Thielemans, Christian Mcbride, Herbie Hancock.
December 28 – Hakan Altun: The famous Turkish Arab singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist will give a concert at the Jolly Joker Vadistanbul.
FESTIVALS & EXHIBITIONS
November 28 to December 7 – XXF Very Very Very French Festival:
The Very Very French Festival is organized every year by the French Institute of Turkey in Istanbul to introduce new talent and share a moment with internationally renowned artists. On the program of this 6th edition in collaboration with Babylon:
In November you will be able to meet the French musicians Nouvelle Vague as well as the Algerian musician Sofian Saidi and the band Mazalda whose electronic sounds merge with raï, funk, and disco.
During December, you will meet DJ Feder on the stage of Babylon on December 13. French DJ Hadrien Federiconi made his name in the world of music in 2014 with his remix of the song “Can’t get away” by Sixto Rodriguez.
The famous Parisian duo Acid Arab will also be present on stage. Acid Arab is a mixture of all kinds of oriental music with electronic sounds, acid house, and techno. To be found on December 20th!
7 December – Anadolu Rock Fest:
Anadolu Rock Fest will host the duo Necati and Saykolar, Yol Arkadaşları and Destan. They will be on the biggest stage on the Asian shore, the Beirut Performance, from 23:00.
December 10-15 – Fame Müzikali – Fame, the musical show:
The legend of the musical show Fame sponsored by Yapi Kredi bank will be for the first time in Turkey. Fame is a musical based on Alan Parker’s 1980 musical film of the same name. The musical film left its mark on the film world and inspired the following generations. These 8 performances of 2:30 will be held between 10 and 15 December on the stage of the Zorlu PSM. The show will be directed and choreographed by Nick Winston and his team, singer Keith Jack, and singer Jorgie Porter. An amazing event not to be missed!
December 20 & 21 – Winter Solstice:
The Winter Solstice will turn the longest winter night into a long electro musical adventure. On December 20, the dance floor will be ambianced by the young musician Thylacine; an immersive experience where music mixes with the sounds of his travels. The evening will continue with ex-model Chelina Manuhutu who usually frequents Ibiza and Amsterdam. The night of December 21st will be animated by DJ Paul Woolford, also known as Special Request, who performs and focuses on the darkest sounds of techno, breakbeat, dnb, and jungle. The evening will end with DJ Anastasia Kristensen with rather heavy and abrasive techno. These two nights will take place on the stage at 100% Studio of Zorlu PSM. Local DJs will also be present in the early evening.
Until March 29 – Andy Warhol and Pop Art:
Andy Warhol, one of the most influential artists of the 20th century and one of the most important artists of the American Pop Art movement, will meet his art lovers at the UniqExpo. Organized by Begüm Alkoçlar, the exhibition will present his 90 most famous works, including “Marilyn Monroe”, “Campbell Soup” and “Flowers”. Pop Art pioneers Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and Robert Indiana’s 40 works will also be exhibited for the first time in Istanbul. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in workshops and to exchange with the young artists of the artistic incubation center, McArt.ist, which will also offer workshops for children and interactive experiences. An exhibition to be discovered until 29 March 2020.
Until January 11 – Düzenli Delilik – Regular Insanity:
Düzenli Delilik is an international exhibition on reality and absurdity, bringing together several contemporary artists from different fields and disciplines. The gallery uses the concept of truth and knowledge conveyed by the various media in today’s world to raise questions that go beyond the usual conclusions.
Following the concept of Informal Knowledge (Michael Polanyi), Regular Insanity criticizes the insufficiency of objectivist and rationalist knowledge and reveals the importance of holistic worldviews. Today, after all, absolute knowledge has vanished, truth is only valid in temporary cultural groups, and social agreements. Despite common mediatic populism, overwhelming post-truth propaganda and widely spread superficial eclecticism, artists have never given up to critically question given achievable reality construction. Regular Insanity reflects on this by presenting artists that question knowledge-based concepts of identity and history, as well as of nationalism and geopolitics. The exhibition is to be found in Akbank Sanat.
Curator: Marcus Graf
Artists: Ana Adamovic, Anna Fausshauer, Basim Magdy, Buğra Erol, Fischli and Weiss, Joseph Beuys, Kerem Ozan Bayraktar, Komet, Lars Breuer, Nasan Tur, Özlem Günyol – Mustafa Kunt, Marcus Popp (Oval), Robert Barta, Rudolf Reiber, Serhat Kiraz, Thomas Baldischwyler, Yeşim Uzunöz
From December 11 to February 9 – Paris – Beirut: “the way to happiness”:
Photographer Dilan Bozyel will exhibit her photographs following the publication of her book of the same name. She will share her photos at the French Institute of Turkey in Istanbul from 12 December to 9 February 2020. The photographer takes pictures of cities where she would like to live her life. The cities of Paris and Beirut are especially the cities where she would be happy to live. Through her book and exhibition, Dilan Bozyel wishes to share her attraction through the mystical atmosphere of the Orient and the Western aesthetics of Beirut and his enchantment for the architecture of Paris. A visual journey not to be missed!
December 21 – Uzunetap Longest Night / Run or Die:
Organized by Uzunetap, the longest race, Longest Night/ Run or Die, will start on the evening of Saturday, 21 December 2019 (22:00), in Çekmeköy, in the Taşdelen Forest. Two races – running or cycling – will take place simultaneously. The race consists of 4 different categories: an 8km race, a 20km race, a 45km ultra-marathon, and a 30km bike race.
For more information, click here.
The stadium atmosphere in Turkey is often explosive while remaining friendly. This year, the Turkish league saw the arrival of many quality players and especially many French players. Here are the matches of the Turkish football championship to come in Istanbul this December 2019:
- December 2: Beşiktaş VS Kayserispor at the Vodafone Park
- December 6: Fenerbahçe VS Gentlegi at the Şükrü Saracoglu stadium
- December 7: Galatasaray VS Alanyaspor at Turk Telecom stadium
- December 14: Galatasaray VS Anakaragücü at Turk Telecom stadium
- December 15: Besiktas VS Yeni Malatyaspor at Vodafone Park
- December 22: Fenerbahce VS Besiktas at Şükrü Saraçoğlu stadium
- December 27: Beşiktaş VS Gençlerbirliği at Vodafone Park
- December 28: Galatasaray VS Antalyaspor at Turk Telecom stadium
The Euroleague of basketball continues to gather this year the 18 best basketball clubs-FIBA Europe zone ball with a nice position in the standings for the Turkish team of Anadolu Efes Istanbul who placed 2nd just after the FC Barcelona Lassa and qualified for the playoffs.
- December 6: Fenerbahçe VS Alba Berlin at Ülker Sports Arena
- December 12: Fenerbahçe VS Anadolu Efes at Ülker Sports Arena
- December 20: Anadolu Efes VS CSKA Moscow at Abdi Ipekçi Sports Hall
- December 26: Anadolu Efes VS Maccabi Fox Tel Aviv at Abdi Ipekçi Sports Hall
- December 27: Fenerbahçe VS Valencia Basket Club at Ülker Sports Arena