Zülfü Livaneli on Human Rights Day – Director, Composer and Novelist

On 10 December 2012 by Carolien Geurtsen


Livaneli has composed some three hundred songs, a rhapsody –recorded by London Symphony Orchestra –, and a ballet.
His collaborations with Mikis Theodorakis of Greece have been noted as a gesture of bringing together the two countries.
Livaneli has been a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1996.

A girls got to do what a girls got to do – daily blogging is one of them – and while at the same time Baby Einstein is playing Christmas songs and I have to run to the City Council in half an hour, I decided to get this post of my chest.
The first doubt being because its take-off is mainly so, if not all, a  Wikipedia quote, and that is because the missing link and connecting post are probably only arriving in 2013. This is too bad, and too far away, but mainly my own mistake.
Before I start talking in riddles again I just take off and maybe will compensate the length of the quote with the length of my own doing.

About Zülfü Livanely and me

He is for me the personification of politic engagement, and as singer / songwriter I know him already for a long time, over twenty years I guess. During my stay in Turkey he and his work were like a red thread through my life, next to many others like Baris Manco en Sezen Aksu who came in and went out of my attention and CD player time and again.
But it was only this summer in Istanbul that I got his Album Efsane Konserler and since then I managed to forget to play it for just about one week, for the rest it is on, either on Spotify or in my oldfashioned CD Player.  And yes, it is, like the most Turkish music I know, rather melancholic and therefore sometimes I compensate with either Anouk, Anny Lennox, Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen or Adele. But you can see maybe, like I do, that even there are mutual matches in types of their music and their characters. Strong individuals with strong opinions and strong voices.
Livaneli ‘s is not that strong as most of the others mentioned above, but his passion and even so devotion and engagement make up for that, in my eyes. But that might be because the language also makes sense to me, that i don’t know. For a non-Turkish speaker or understander (no proper English but you know what I mean) it might be too boring too soon. But his music and texts are always hitting home in my heart full blast and have this effect like balm, balm for my soul. I would love to hear from a music conneseur, and yes, maybe preferably one who does not understand the meaning of the words, what he or she can say about this effect, this melancholy. Is it in minor mostly? I have no clue about the technical aspects. Is it really in the music or in me?
Yes, the issues often are about longing, and missing, and waiting, but that is in the words.
I think it is in the music as well and know for instance that some people get irritated when I play it for more than lets say, half an hour.
Headphones are ready and waiting, but I have to go now.

This post is for all my friends from Turkey and abroad in other places, now spread all over the world. For all the good times we had and the hard times we had and the challenges still there.

Turkey - Cappadocie Underground City
With love.
Size seviyorum!




Ömer Zülfü Livanelioğlu (born 1946) is a popular Turkish folk musician (singer and composer), a novelist, newspaper columnist and a film director who has been highly popular for decades. He is also a prominent left-wing and social-democrat politician and was a member of the Turkish parliament for one term.

He is most known for his fusion of Turkish folk music with contemporary music, in much the same way as Bob Dylan and his contemporaries in the United States. His 1997 Ankara concert was attended by no less than 500 thousand people.
His collaborations with Mikis Theodorakis of Greece have been noted as a gesture of bringing together the two countries.
Livaneli has been a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1996.

Livaneli has composed some three hundred songs, a rhapsody –recorded by London Symphony Orchestra–, and a ballet.
His compositions have reached cult status nationwide and have been performed by internationally renowned artists such as Joan Baez, Maria Farantouri, María del Mar Bonet, Udo Lindenberg, Haris Alexiou, Jocelyn B. Smith and Kate Westbrook.
He has also written five plays and thirty film soundtracks. Among these soundtracks are the soundtrack for “Yol” (The Path), directed by Yilmaz Güney and winner of the Golden Palm in Cannes Film Festival, “The Herd”, directed by Yılmaz Güney and Zeki Ökten, and “Shirin’s Wedding” by German director Helma Sanders-Brahms.
His recordings have been published in the USA, Sweden, Germany, Holland and France, and he has given dozens of concerts throughout the world. He has produced albums and performed with Mikis Theodorakis and Maria Farantouri, and he has also collaborated with Manos Hatzidakis, Giora Feidman, Inti-Illimani and Ángel Parra.
In 2010, he sang ‘Mothers of The Disappeared’ with Bono at U2’s concert in Istanbul, Turkey, which was U2’s first-ever concert in Istanbul. Livaneli has been distinguished with the awards Best Album of the Year (Greece), the Edison Award (Holland), and Best Album of the Year (Music Critics Guild of Germany), and the “Premio Luigi Tenco” Best Songwriter Award, San Remo, Italy, in 1999, among others.More

I just picked one of his songs from the beautiful double album Efsane Konserler

Saat Dört yoksun on YouTube  and on Spotify 


Four a clock and you are not here
four o’clock, you are not here
it’s five, not here
six, seven o’clock, the next day,
the days after
and who knows when…

reading a book
in there I find you
listening to a song,
I hear you
sitting down to eat
opposite me you sit

while working I see you in front of me

the most beautiful sea
is the one you haven’t been
the most beautiful child
did not grow up yet
our best days
are the ones we have not lived yet
and the most beautiful word
I want to tell you
is the one i haven’t said yet

what is she doing now?
now, right this moment, right now, now, now
Evde mi, sokakta mı? /is she at home, is she somewhere outside, in the streets?
is she working, lying or standing?
she might have raised her arms, my rose
how naked makes this movement of her white thick wrist
what is she doing right now
now, at this very moment, right mow
maybe she is caressing a kitten, laying on her knee
maybe she is walking, about to step
always on my darkest day
they come to me, my darling’s
sweethearts feet
and what does she think now? is it about me?
otherwise, how can i know
why the beans
are not getting cooked somehow
or why most of the people are like that
what is she thinking now?
at this moment, right now, now

Saat dört, yoksun
Saat beş, yok.
Altı, yedi, ertesi gün, daha ertesi ve belki kimbilir…

Grace to Kybele/Sybil for helping to translatKarlı Kayın Ormanı

Related: My heart aches for Turkey | In Friendship we do real |  More English posts |Efsani Konserler on Spotify | Official Livaneli website | video clips  | Livaneli on Wiki The Director, Composer and Novelist

Two hours later and back from the City Council, I realize again that it is Human Rights Day, for what it is worth and whatever its effects may be, in Turkey as well as in the Netherlands and all over the world there is plenty eksik / missing with that, so in my opinion  there is no better day than today to post this column.
Happy as a Kite this girl.















Leuk om te horen wat jij er van vind. Alvast bedankt!

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