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Zeki Müren (born in Bursa, Turkey on December 6, 1931, and died in Izmir on September 24, 1996) was a prominent Turkish singer, composer and actor. Famous for his voice and for combining Turkish classical style with contemporary song.
Müren grew up in the city of Bursa in western Turkey. From 1950 to 1953 he studied decorative arts at the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts while beginning his musical career. Müren recorded his first album in 1951, with which he made himself known. In 1995, he achieved his first gold record.
In his forty-five years of career, Müren composed more than a hundred songs and made more than two hundred recordings, so he is remembered as the “Sun” of Turkish traditional music and is called “Pasha”. For many years he reigned as “Artist of the Year”. Many of the recordings of Müren were published in Greece, where he enjoyed popularity, as well as in the United States, Germany, Iran, and many other countries during the 60s and 70s.
Müren was also a talented poet, publishing “Bıldırcın Yağmuru” in 1951. He also appeared in Turkish cinema, starring in eighteen films. Although he did not consider himself a painter, he painted as a hobby.
Müren wore effeminate dresses, wearing large rings, ornate and heavy makeup, especially in the last years of his life. In many ways, he played a pioneering role in favoring a greater acceptance of homosexuality in Turkish society. He, with his distinct style, remains a highly respected artist throughout his career, and in a way, paved the way for Turkish artists more openly gay or transsexual. In the opinion of some, his style was inspired by that of Liberace.
He died of a heart attack while performing in the city of Izmir on September 24, 1996. His death caused a great commotion and thousands of Turks attended his funeral. The Zeki Müren Art Museum, established in Bodrum, where Müren lived, was visited by more than 200,000 people since its opening on June 8, 2000 until December 2006.
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