Over the past few days, Istanbul has been the target of tear gas and police water cannons. On Wednesday night, protesters in Gezi Park, in Taksim Square, were girded for conflict. They did not prepare for a piano performance instead. Davide Martello, a German musician in the new age, Paul Winter mold, came together with a three-man team, hauling a grand piano in a trailer. Upon unloading the instrument and putting it inside the entry to the park, he sat down and began to play.
Many people around the area actually stopped to listen to him play. The restless crowd soon became calm and organised around the soothing sound of the piano. Within minutes of Davide’s performance, photos as well as videos went online and across the globe. Eventually, it spread to blogs, online news sites and even Facebook pages. By the time it was Thursday night, the word had already gotten out and according to estimates from those there, approximately 1,500 people gathered in the park to witness the unknown 31-year-old pianist play again.
During a break in his performance, Davide mentioned that he was on a self-directed world tour. He also has hopes of playing in major cities across the globe. On Wednesday morning, he was actually in Sofia, Bulgaria and he decided to stop by Istanbul to witness the protests. The protests first began as an effort to save Gezi Park from destruction, then it slowly morphed into a broader expression of dissatisfaction with the authoritarian tactics of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. “The idea is to inspire politicians through music,” stated Davide who wore a a fedora hat and was dressed in red in honor of the Turkish flag.
The Taksim Square has always been a a destination used for the purpose of gatherings and performances, but for Davide who played for 14 hours straight, starting Thursday evening, there was an unusual and mesmerizing effect instead. “Police in the background and this grand piano in the middle. This guy is writing history here,” said Zeynep Turkmen, a 24-year old protester who has been staying in the park for more than a week already. Even the police officers, who were there to protect the nearby monument bearing the statue of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the secular Turkish Republic, joined the audience to listen to Davide’s performance. For the full story, you can check it out here.