MAGAZINE

Turkey remembers folk singer Neşet Ertaş

Seven years after his death, Turkish Neşet Ertaş remains etched in the hearts of his fans.

Several events have been organized across the country to commemorate his death anniversary on Sept. 25.

He died in 2012 in the western province of Izmir at the age of 74 after battling cancer.

Fans of the singer and lyricists are paying tribute to him at his mausoleum in the central Anatolian province of Kırşehir.

Ertaş was born to father Muharrem Ertaş a folk poet and mother Döne Koç in Kırtıllar, a village in in 1938.

He was first introduced to an instrument at the age of six when he started playing the violin and then the bağlama, a traditional Turkish guitar.

The artist accompanied his father -- playing at wedding ceremonies in central Anatolian villages and therefore was not able to finish primary school.

At a very young age, Ertaş started performing on stage in popular destinations of Istanbul and Ankara. His career got a giant push when he applied at state-owned Turkish Radio (TRT) station in Ankara to perform Turkish folk music.

In 1957, Ertaş went to Istanbul, where his first record -- titled "Neden Garip Garip Ötersin Bülbül" -- was produced.

Fondly remembered as the "Bozkırın Tezenesi" (Voice of Prairie), ''Türkülerin Babasi" (Father of Songs), "Anadolu Efsanesi" (Legend of Anatolia), and Abdal Müzisyen (Abdal Musician), Ertaş is seen as the last great proponent of a genre called 'Abdallık' -- a name referred to groups dealing with music native to his hometown.

After working for two years in Istanbul, he moved to Ankara, where he met his wife Leyla. They married despite his father's opposition. The couple has three children.

Ertaş went trough difficult times when his fingers became paralyzed in 1978, leaving him penniless as he was not able to perform and pay for treatment.

The musician regained his health when he got treated in Germany where his brother lived and started performing at weddings and local events of the Turkish community in Germany.

Ertaş took up a teaching position in Germany for two years but returned to Turkey after 23 years, welcomed by crowds.

UNESCO recognized Ertaş as a living human treasure. The folk singer refused the state artist title, which was offered by then-President Süleyman Demirel.

Ertaş was awarded an honorary doctorate by Istanbul Technical University's Turkish Music State Conservatory in 2011.

Erol Parlak, professor at Ankara Music and Arts University, published two volumes -- titled "Garip Bülbül -- on Ertaş' biography and songs.

His famous songs are: "Yalan Dünya", "Vay Vay Dünya", "Kırşehir'in Gülleri", "Neredesin Sen", "Gönül Dağı", "Mühür Gözlüm", "Zülüf Dökülmüş Yüze", "Yaraladı Bu Aşk Beni", "Yolcu", "Iki Büyük Nimetim Var", "Hapishanelere Güneş Doğmuyor", "Evvelim Sen Oldun, Ahirim Sensin", "Seher Vakti", "Aşkın Beni Deli Eyledi", "Deli Boran", "Dertli Yoldaş", and "Dinek Dağı".

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