09-24: Zeki Müren Saklı Kayıtlar 2 1960-1984 - Tallis Scholars Requiem : Victoria | Lobo | Cardoso - Henry Townsend Tired of Bein' Mistreated 1962

1605 – Manuel Mendes (Portuguese composer, teacher of Duarte Lôbo & Manuel Cardoso)
1646 – Duarte Lôbo [Eduardus Lupus] (Portuguese composer)
1753 – Georg Gebel der Jüngere (German composer & keyboardist)
1813 – André Grétry (French composer, known for his opéras comiques)
1855 – Alexandre Stiévenard (French clarinettist, teacher & composer)
1875 – William Walker (American shape-note singing master & tunebook compiler, The Southern Harmony

1881 – Luigi Ferdinando Casamorata (Italian music critic & composer)
1892 – Patrick Gilmore (Irish-born American composer, military bandmaster & cornettist)
1910 – Rudolf Dellinger (Bohemian German composer, music director & clarinettist)
1934 – Edwin Lemare (English organist & composer, active in the United States)
1949 – Pierre de Bréville (French composer, music critic & teacher)
1960 – Mátyás Seiber (Hungarian-born British composer & teacher)
1968 – Harry Robert Wilson (American choral director, arranger & composer)
1978 – Ruth Etting (American pop singer, actress & dancer)
1983 – Dame Isobel Baillie (Scottish soprano of oratorio & art song)
1991 – Peter Bellamy (English folk singer, concertinist & guitarist)
1993 – Ian Stuart Donaldson (English Neo-Nazi punk singer & songwriter, Skrewdriver)
1994 – Dalton Reed (American soul singer)
1996 – Zeki Müren (Turkish singer, composer & actor)
2003 – Rosalie Allen (American country singer, guitarist & disc jockey)
2006 – Henry "Mule" Townsend (American blues singer, guitarist & pianist)

Well, here we go again... closely associated folks pooping on the same day, years apart. This time it's Duarte Lôbo, composer from a splendid school of Portuguese polyphonic music that arose around 1600 (as per the article at top left, from the 2nd edition of Willi Apel's Harvard Dictionary of Music, 1969), passing away 41 years to the day after his old teacher, Manuel Mendes. And in remembering Lôbo (love how his name was Latinized as "Eduardus Lupus"... I suppose if he'd been active in England we'd also know him as "Eddie Wolf"...), we also get, as you'll see, another chance to remember Victoria... no, not Queen Victoria, you silly prat... Tomás Luis de Victoria, that other composer for whom this year is such a big death anniversary. (It's Gustav Mahler's death centennial, and Victoria's death quadricentennial... read more below.)

And remember how we remembered Henry Townsend's "retiring" wife Vernell just 3 days ago? Well, today we remember Henry Townsend's retiring wife Vernell's husband Henry! And somebody even bothered to snap a photo of him at some point in his life! Thank heaven for small wonders... (Read more below.)

Others worth mentioning. Ruth Etting was a "Ziegfeld star" and a very popular singer in the 1920s & 30s. "Shine On Harvest Moon" was one of her signature tunes, along with others such as "Button Up Your Overcoat." I love it when I put parts of my research into the collage itself... it's a real time-saver!

Irish-born bandmaster & composer Patrick Gilmore served on the Union side as a musician during the United States Civil War. He's remembered most, actually, for adding new lyrics to an already-existing piece of music: an Irish anti-war folk song called "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye." With Gilmore's new words, the song became known as "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," one of the most memorable songs to arise out of the Civil War period. I always thought that song sounded a bit like an Irish jig, and now I now why.

Peter Bellamy was a beloved English folk musician who shocked his colleagues and loved ones when he committed suicide in 1991. I'm not sure anyone has ever figured out exactly why he decided to do it.

But now let's talk about singer and actor Zeki Müren. I learned about Zeki through my Turkish friend, the lovely Pinar. Pinar means "spring" in Türkçe, as in "water source," and Pinar is certainly my source of knowledge about all things Turkish! As Pinar might say, "Zeki Müren süper oldu. Çok güzel bir sesi vardı. O Türkiye'nin her yerinde sevilen birisiydi. Ve o gay olduğunu. Gay gay gay. Süper gay!"

Yes, süper gay. Zeki Müren doesn't really have an equivalent in any other culture, but if you were to cross Elvis Presley with Liberace, and add more talent than either had, you'd be approaching what Zeki Müren was. He was a great singer of classical Turkish music, with flawless diction and a remarkable ear for the intonational subtleties and great expressive range of this music. He also helped keep this music alive by modernizing its sound for listeners of the younger generation.

One of the remarkable things about Müren was how his personal appearance changed over the course of his career, which began in the early 1950s. Over four decades, he gradually became more and more feminine-looking. In the collage above, you see how he looked in the 50s, and below that his transitional phase of the 60s, as photo-shopped into an image of the Turkish 20-lira note. By the 1980s, Zeki had gained quite a bit of weight, and was wearing his hair in a bouffant, making him look very matronly - as one blogger has put it, like the mother you might see on a television sit-com:
It's perhaps difficult to understand how such an androgynous figure could gain such acceptance and approval in a fairly conservative country like Turkey. I believe that, simply put, his enormous talent caused people to cut him some slack. Zeki Müren's flamboyant style also paved the way for later Turkish performers to push the envelope even further when it came to gender-identity issues and being more openly gay. (Müren led a largely reclusive life and never officially "came out" publicly.) Take for example the very popular singer and celebrity Bülent Ersoy, who began his career as a very cute young man:
but later underwent sexual reassignment surgery, although he chose to retain his masculine first name. Compared to current-day Bülent, even latter-day Zeki looks positively butch:
This year marks the 80th anniversary of Zeki Müren's birth, and the 15th anniversary of his death. He died while onstage during a concert he was giving in the city of İzmir, after being presented with a gift: the same microphone he'd used at his first-ever public concert, 45 years earlier. He was so surprised by this, and overcome with emotion, that he had a heart attack and died right there on the spot. The entire country of Turkey went into mourning.... (Read more below.)



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