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.