İste Benim Zeki Muren! (Here I am, Zeki Muren) A Rare Look To The Life of Iconic Singer
This year on January, I had the chance to visit the exhibition “İşte Benim Zekim Müren” (Here I am, Zeki Muren) which was held in the Yapı Kredi Cultural Center. I luckily had my camera with me, so I took a couple of photos some of which I share in this post. I was already amazed by this legendary singer’s voice, kindness and neat diction (as well as the rest of the country, he was called the sun of art) but this profound visualization of his life deepened my adoration for him.
I remember that Halil Karaduman, who was the world’s leading “kanuni”, mentioned him as one of the smartest people he ever met in an interview I made with him. He said, “İsmi gibi zeki bir insandı,” i.e., he was smart as the meaning of his name suggests. (Zeki means smart in English). If you are interested you can read the whole interview here.
The exhibition was entitled after one of his biggest hits from the 1980s, “İşte Benim Zekim Müren” (That’s Me, Zeki Müren) Lyrics itself tell a lot about the marked he left in the hearts of millions:
The one who spreads emotions/feelings to songs
the one who faces/survives skein
the one who enters in suffering heart
That is me, Zeki Müren
His voice instantly grabs your attention as you walk into the exhibition hall. Muren seems to keep everything since his early childhood. The walls of the exhibition hall are full of hundreds of pictures of Zeki Müren bearing the traces of his life from childhood to the stage years, from world travel days to his day-to-day life. Letters he wrote and received, notes that he took, his telephone books, agendas, diaries, drawings, paintings, personal belongings, poems, his compositions, film posters were featured in the exhibition. Past continues to live in the present as you walk through these belongings to the accompaniment of unforgettable songs of him playing in the background
There was also a special section featuring costumes and accessories worn by the singer. The artist himself designed most of these shiny and garish costumes. He was the first man ever to wear a miniskirt on a stage, ground breaking for that period of time.
Born in 1931, Müren’s extraordinary life was ended at the age of 64 on September 24, 1996 while he was on air during a live TV show. He was a pioneer in Turkish classical music and a national treasure that was loved very much. The fact that the exhibition was flooded with visitors shows that he is also missed very much.
For those who want to dig in a little bit more and get a more comprehensive look, I recommend the Bant Mag’s interview made with Derya Bengi, exhibition’s curator and Murat Meriç, expert on Turkish Pop Music.