Saturday, 6 September 2014

Babutsa stars in club transfers as new season of London Turkish nights kick off

London's top Turkish singers Ali Sönmez (R) & Soner Tursor before their group Babutsa split


After the summer recess, London’s leading Turkish nightspots will be back open for business this weekend. Two of the capital’s biggest pop stars will be starting the new nightlife season at different venues. Ali Sönmez, formally of hit group Babutsa, has left Cyprus Meze Bar and from tonight will be performing exclusively for Cyprus Garden. Meanwhile his former Babutsa partner Soner Tursoy has moved in the other direction, making his debut appearance at Cyprus Meze Bar last night.

Along with securing the services of Soner Tursoy, Cyprus Meze Bar (CMB) has also persuaded Kadir Ateş to swap venues. The versatile Ateş is arguably the UK’s best all-round Turkish entertainer with his camp singing and dancing, and a large London fan base to boot. By luring two of Cyprus Garden’s top performers to join their weekend line-up, CMB is clearly determined to reclaim its place as the number one Turkish London nightspot.
New line-up at Cyprus Meze Bar
Since changing management late last year, the Leyton venue has undergone a major transformation. CMB’s internal décor now boasts gorgeous hand-painted frescoes of traditional scenes from Cyprus. The shop front has also had a facelift, with new modern neon signage and the much-maligned toilets have been replaced.

Kemal Altunç of Cyprus Meze Bar
Talking exclusively to T-VINE, Kemal Altunç said: “We’re looking forward to the new season. We’ve added a new English Golden Oldies night with Billy & Kelly every Thursday, variety Turkish nights on Fridays that will include Fasıl and Cypriot nights on rotation. We also have a fantastic Saturday line-up with Soner and Kadir joining our existing team of musicians and artists.”

On the rumours around the transfer of the two Babutsa stars, Altunç told us: “Change is good for everyone – our customers want to see different faces, hear different singers at the venue.”

Altunç added, “The people who have most benefitted from these club transfers though are the two Babutsa guys, as they’ve both seen an increase in their earnings. Good for them – they are worth every penny!”

Across East London, Cyprus Garden in Chingford is putting the finishing touches to its venue before it grand re-opening tonight and the expanded 260-capacity is already fully-booked. T-VINE saw the new line-up in action during rehearsals on Thursday night and the venue is clearly buzzing with energy. Their Saturday line-up offers a wide range of Turkish musical sounds, from Pop to Fantazi and stars Perii Aziz, also formerly of Babutsa, Ali Sönmez, Eray, Kerem with his Gümbür Gümbür Show (another transfer, switching away from CMB for this season), supported by house band Ercüment and Huseyin.

Cyprus Garden directors Ediz Hastunc (centre) & Engin Yorganci with their team of performers
Cyprus Corner in Enfield and Ezgi Türkü Bar in Tottenham will launch their new season in a few weeks time. Sadly, South London still lacks a comparable Turkish nightspot, so for those seeking a more central London location, visit the granddaddy of Turkish nights: Efes 2. The restaurant-cum-live-music venue has quality entertainment every day of the week, with top Turkish singer Semra İleten continuing to headline their weekend programme. 

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