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Tear gas abates, music fills Turkey's Gezi Park

By Ben Brumfield, CNN
June 13, 2013 -- Updated 1040 GMT (1840 HKT)
Protesters listen to a piano performance at Taksim Square on Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey.
Protesters listen to a piano performance at Taksim Square on Tuesday in Istanbul, Turkey.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Protesters have transformed Istanbul's Gezi Park into a cultural enclave
  • A pianist from Germany drove down with a self-made grand piano
  • He composed a song for the protesters and christened it "Lightsoldiers"
  • There has been at least one wedding in the park

(CNN) -- Istanbul's Gezi Park has seen days of sheer madness, but they have been punctuated with moments of beauty and joy.

The melancholic sounds from a grand piano echoed through the park in a moment of welcome serenity Wednesday. One that traveled all the way from Germany to Turkey, so its owner could play a song dedicated to the protesters.

Soon afterward, a video of the performance went viral on Facebook.

Demonstrators gathered around in the darkness as Davide Martello clinked out his original composition "Lightsoldiers."

Masks and scarves used earlier to weaken the sting of teargas dangled from their necks. Hard hats used to abate the thud of flying gas canisters and stones dotted heads in the audience.

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A cultural microcosm

The slice of life amid the mayhem was not a rare moment.

In between their protest chants and water cannon dousings, demonstrators have spent the last two weeks camping out in one of the inner city's last green spaces -- the charming park they are attempting to save from bull dozers.

The have transformed it into a cultural microcosm.

Protesters have set up stations offering free food. Hordes of demonstrators have stood on pastel yoga mats in the sunlight, stretching their limbs to the sky. Others have sprawled out on the ground in clusters, musing over books on loan from an impromptu library.

At least one couple has tied the knot.

The violent eruptions of stone-throwing protesters clashing with police have led nearby galleries to shutter and have nixed scheduled concerts, local newspaper Hurriyet reported.

As a result, many artists have strolled into the park to participate in the demonstrations. Popular TV actors have joined them, Hurriyet said.

'Good night Istanbul'

Martello, who built his piano himself and outfitted it with lighting and heating to allow him to play in the dark and the cold, dragged it down in a trailer from his hometown of Konstanz, Germany. On his way, he stopped in Bulgaria and Kosovo to give outdoor concerts there.

Aside from "Lightsoldiers," he also tapped out a rendition of Paul McCartney's "Let it be."

"And when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me. Shine until tomorrow, let it be," he sang.

He left a message on Facebook for the protesters.

"Good night Istanbul, tomorrow I will playing again on the square for freedom and our rights."

Tear gas permitting.

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