|Year of release||1989|
Unknown, unloved, part 2.
If I hadn’t met Zühal I probably never would have gotten to know Sezen Aksu’s music. Even more, I would probably never even have heard of her. And that would have been a shame.
Sezen Aksu is a Turkish singer. Diva is sometimes used to describe her, but it doesn’t fit her. She is, according to me anyway, the most important artist of Turkey, especially in the musical domain where she resides. She is unique in regard to her effortlessly fusing traditional Turkish music with modern styles, like pop and hip-hop, without making it sound fake of forced. It sounds completely organic.
Sezen Aksu has a critical eye. During a concert I witnessed in Rotterdam, during the Gezi park demonstrations in Istanbul, her loyalties became clear. A (small) part of her more conservative audience promptly left the auditorium. The national Turkish television network TRT has banned (and continues to ban) Sezen Aksu for years now, because of her beliefs. She also sings songs in Armenian en Kurshish languages. Apart from the issue whether or not an artist should mix music with politics, it is a sign of courage that she does. Sezen Aksu is also a great gay icon within the Turkish LGBT community, for which she speaks out.
Role within Turkish (pop)music
During the 1970’s Sezen Aksu was the first Turkish woman to write and publicly perform her own songs. During the 1980’s she was, together with her then partner Onno Tunç, largely responsible for (the rise of) popmusic in Turkey and in the 1990’s she became the leading figure within the Turkish music scene.
Who or what is Sezen Aksu? The Turkish Edith Piaf? Madonna of the Bosporus? She is neither, for she is completely unique and that’s what makes her music so special and universal. The feeling she can portray through her songs comes shining through. Besides that shes is responsible for a vast number of songs and careers (including Tarkan).
Until now she has released more than 20 albums. I have seen Sezen Aksu 5 times in concert and every one of those concerts was a beautiful, moving evening.
Why this album in particular?
I met Zühal for the first time at my workplace in Amsterdam. I was stricken immediately. Later on we became friends and talked every day and began sharing music. She got me the cassette tapes of the albums Söylüyor and Gülümse. Both albums are very dear to me, but Söylüyor is the special one. The music is melancholy, the lyrics are beautiful (Zühâl translated some of the lyrics into Dutch for me) and the musicality is phenomenal. A great number of songs is so (universally) beautiful, that I recommend this album wholeheartedly to everyone who wants to hear something different. Listen to Bırak Beni, Gidiyorum, Yıllar Sonra and İstanbul Hatırası and drift away with Sezen Aksu!
Albums also recommended: Git, Gülümse en Adı Bende Saklı.
Sezen Aksu – Youth picture: turknostalji.com
Sezen Aksu – Söylüyor: discogs.com