Zeki Muren (Rhumba) b/w Gecti Muhabbet Demi 45 (Grafson, 195?)

Now for something really special. Today you get two cuts off of a rare single by Turkish musical legend Zeki Muren. Zeki's first record was released in 1950 and from then on he was known as the "Sun" or Turkish music, recording over 100 albums and winning artist of the year for decades. He was a published and noted poet and acted in over 18 movies. When he died in 1996, all of Turkey went into mourning. In 2000, his house was turned into a museum. From it's opening until 2006, it has been visited by 200 million people. Listen to these two songs and you will hear why people flipped over him. He has a great pop sense and a wonderful voice. Listen a but more carefully and you will note that the enunciation is so clear, so deliberate that it takes on a dramatic and even flamboyant tone.

And flamboyant is the right word, for though he never came out it is widely thought that Zeki Muren was gay. Now, this is just a bit of gossip if not for the fact that Zeki's flamboyance was extremely socially significant in Turkey. From pretty boy to pretty man, Zeki played a role in Turkey similar to that of Liberace in America, that of the unacknowledged but nudge-nudge-wink-wink Gay man who though his public flamboyance created an umbrella of sorts for others to be themselves, while softening public attitudes toward homosexuality. If men such as Zeki Muren weren't civil rights crusaders they certainly were uber-individualist with even more uber balls. Realize that and such music becomes a little less of a curiosity and a bit more of social artifact. Better that it is musically so damn good.

you can spare the nudge-nudge-wink-wink, he was 100%gay, walked like a woman, and had a sex change in the early 80's. one of turkeys great modern musicians indeed.

what is strange is that in all the research i did on zeki, i found not one (in english at least) article, interview, or review that came out and stated that he was gay. all either danced around that point or said "suspected to be gay...." then again, considering the generation he was from, such things were not always talked about openly.....
i was not sure about this, so i asked a turkish guy that works with me, he said that there used to be countless rumors about that issue, apparantly the sex change was one of them, and he haven't had one. what makes your assuments right. besides i think zeki was a performance genious, some of his footage dressed as a women late in his career is on a verge with what seems to be intented dark/campish act. when you add this to the music he did, you get something that is much more disturbing than... ah.... turbonegro or any other queerness used as a shock value in the west.

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