Amidst the chaos of the protests and upheaval in Turkey, a rallying cry has risen in Taksim square to keep the calm: the piano playing of Davide Martello. The 31-year-old Sicilian-German musician has been playing for hours off and on the past few days bringing a sense of peace to the madness of tear gas and water cannons of recent weeks.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. His Playing Has Kept the Calm
Since he started playing on Wednesday, there have been no major incidents of violence or police crackdowns in Taksim Square.
Martello said in an interview:
There are no attacks, no stone’ s throwing, nothing, this is mind-blowing. Two days ago here were heavy riots and brutality. People thank me, because during the concerts they find peace.
2. He Played for 14 Hours Straight Thursday Night
— Anonymous (@AnonOpsMob) June 14, 2013
3. Even the Police Have Joined the Crowds To Listen
Police officers have been seen resting on their riot shields and listening to the pianist’s marathon performances.
The best hope is, that this brute force comes to an end, that the police will not attack the protesters anymore. That it’ll be peaceful again. I cannot really say something about the politics. People are just so glad that I am here. They see how they stand together with policemen and it stays peaceful.
4. He Was on a World Tour on Just Decided to Stop in Instanbul
Martello left his hometown of Konstanz, Germany with his piano stowed in a trailer and decided to go on tour, hoping to perform outdoor concerts in some of the world’s major cities. After making stops in Kosovo and Bulgaria, decided to stop in Istanbul to see the protests.
— Kety Shapazian (@KetyDC) June 14, 2013
5. He Built His Piano Himself
CNN reports that Martello build the piano himself and added custom lights and even a heating source so that he could play at night or in the cold.