Zülfü Livaneli

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Zülfü Livaneli
Ömer Zülfü Livanelioğlu

(1946-06-20) June 20, 1946 (age 72)
OccupationAuthor, poet, composer, politician, human rights activist
Notable work
'Bliss, My Brother's Story, Serenade for Nadia
Spouse(s)Ülker Livaneli
ChildrenAylin Livaneli
AwardsBarnes & Noble 'Discovery of a Great New Author Award', 2006 (Bliss) - Balkan Literary Award for 'Best Novel', 1997 (The Eunuch of Constantinople) - Yunus Nadi Literary Award for 'Best Novel', 2001 (Memory of Snow)] - Orhan Kemal Literary Award for 'Best Novel', 2009 (Last Island)
WebsiteLivaneli's Official Website

Ömer Zülfü Livanelioğlu (born June 20, 1946), better known as Zülfü Livaneli, is a Turkish musician, author, poet, and politician.

Livaneli is known for his novels that interweave diverse social and historical backgrounds, figures, and incidents, such as in Bliss which won the Barnes & Noble's Discovery of Great New Writers Award in 2006, and in his Serenade for Nadia, Leyla's House, and My Brother's Story, which were all translated into 37 languages and won numerous Turkish and International literary awards, and were highly praised by prominent literary critics around the world.[citation needed] His novels have been turned into theatrical films, stage plays, and operas.

Livaneli was imprisoned several times during the 1971 Turkish coup d'état because of his political views and had to leave Turkey in 1972 and went on exile. He lived in Stockholm, Paris, Athens, and New York where he met and collaborated with artists and intellectuals such as Elia Kazan, Arthur Miller, James Baldwin, and Peter Ustinov among others. Livaneli returned to Turkey in 1984.

His works and cultural and political activities and contributions to world peace were recognized by UNESCO in 1995 when he was appointed Goodwill Ambassador to UNESCO—a post he still holds today. He served a term in the Turkish Parliament as well as in the Council of Europe.

Livaneli is a writer as he is as a poet and a songwriter, cultural and political activist. Although he first became known for his contemporary music, Livaneli turned his focus to writing, in the last decades, when he realized that literature was closer to his heart. His first collection of short stories, A Child in Purgatory, published in 1978 was turned into a movie by Swedish and German TV. He is also a prominent social-democrat politician and was a member of the Turkish parliament for one term. Livaneli's novels have been turned into theatrical movies, stage plays, and operas.

Livaneli is known for his contemporary music. His 1997 Ankara concert was attended by no less than 500 thousand people.[citation needed] His collaborations with Mikis Theodorakis of Greece have been noted as a gesture of bringing together the two countries.[citation needed] 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 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 Öktem, 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.[citation needed] 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.

Family And Saz[edit]

Livaneli's real name is Ömer Zülfü Livanelioğlu. His father was a judge and later president of the Turkish Supreme Court. He has four brothers and a sister. His mother died at the age of 38, when he was 20, and his father later remarried. When Livaneli finished his school his father was going to buy him a bicycle. Then his father saw a kid with a bicycle getting hit by a truck so his father said "I'm going to get you a saz". Livaneli would hide his saz in his room because he didn't want his friends to know about it. After he got a saz, his father was looking for a teacher for Zülfü; they found a teacher and went to a house to see a man with a long beard play the smaller saz; the cura. Once he lived in Ankara he went to a saz store to get the cura and the man in the store said: "play it for me". Livaneli played it and the man said: "you do know how to play". Them man asked his name and when he answered "Ömer" the man shouted: "Get out my store, get out!" Livaneli said "Did I do something bad=¡? I just said my name". The man shouted. When Livaneli was outside the man said: "Look we don't like that name", Livaneli said: "Who's we", the man said "Alevism". Then the man brought him to the store and Livaneli said: "I have two names. My other name is Zülfü". The man said: "Use the Zülfü name". Livaneli said: "Okay". Livaneli said in one Turkish show in 2011: "If I had not bought the saz I wouldn't have known about Turkey." His wife's name is Ulker and his daughter's name is Aylin; she was born in Ankara, Turkey. (Birthday: August 28, 1966) Ulker is a translator.

The First Album And How He Became Famous[edit]

Livaneli was trying to go to Europe because he went to jail two times. For his first album, he didn't use his current name, Zülfü Livaneli. Instead, he used the name "Ozanoglu". Yet he did not get to the point where he wanted to be, therefore, he started using his current name, Zülfü Livaneli, on his new album, Chants Révolutionnaires Turcs (Turkish Revolutionary songs) in 1971 or 1973. When he was in Europe, his brother Ferhat informed him about how his songs were being sung by everyone in Turkey while they were protesting the government. Livaneli was in shock as he did not even know how the people in Turkey knew him, when he asked this, Ferhat's answer was "They know you." . Livaneli made an album called "Nazim Türküsü" the album was turning the well renowned poet Nazim Hikmet's poems to music and it became and stayed at the top hit on albums album for 48 weeks. In 1986, the Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis met Livaneli, they then proceeded to make an album called Güneş Topla Benim İçin (Gather The Sun For Me). After when the album was released in Turkey it was one of the peek of the Turkish music. At that time Livaneli met Ahmet Kaya which is another valuable folk singer, their political views about peace were similar. They were both strong and uniting figures. 1980s were the years Livaneli reached his first peak. London Orchestra performed with Livaneli in 1998, and in 1999, UNESCO assisted Livaneli on the release of that album. Now Livaneli has millions of fans In Turkey and outside of Turkey.

The Ankara Concert 1997[edit]

Livaneli had a concert in Ankara with 500.000+ people attending it. His musical performance included:

  • Merhaba (Greeting Music)
  • Sevda Degil (It's Not Love)
  • Umudu Kesme Yurdumdan (Do Not Stop Hoping From My Homeland)"
  • Gunes Topla Benim Icin (Gather Some Sun For Me)
  • Yigidim Aslanim (My Brave Lion)
  • Kan Cicekleri (Blood Flowers)
  • Karli Kayin Ormani (The Forest Of Snowy Beech)
  • Leylim Ley (Folk Song Leylim Ley)
  • Ozgurluk (Freedom)
  • Bilmem Su Felegin (I Do Not Know This Destiny
  • Ankara nin Tasina Bak (Look At The Rock Of Ankara)

Political life[edit]

Apart from his remarkable career as an author and poet, Livaneli was highly influential in Turkish politics over the last thirty years. In the 2002 Turkish elections, Livaneli was elected to the Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi (Grand National Assembly of Turkey) as a Deputy for Istanbul for the Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP). Livaneli resigned from the CHP in early 2005, however, in protest at "CHP's non-democratic and authoritarian system of politics",[1][2]

During his political career in Ankara, Livaneli presented a legislative proposal for amending Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code. The amendment proposed that the concept of "Turkishness" should be replaced with that of the "Turkish nation" which would put an emphasis on the concept of "nation" which, as formulated by the Republic, unites under its umbrella people of different origins. With this amendment, there would no more be a stress on the notion of Turkish race.

Besides this, in 2006 he presented a proposal to the National Assembly demanding that a commission be established in order to investigate the reasons for increasing violence and fanaticism among the youth; his proposal was accepted.

Following his resignation from the party membership, Livaneli continued in his position in the Grand National Assembly as an independent until the end of that term. He did not take part in the 2007 Turkish elections and appears politically inactive. He has since concentrated on his art and books.

Livaneli was a daily contributor as a columnist in the newspapers Sabah, Vatan, and Milliyet.

Songs Performed By Livaneli[edit]

  • Dede Sultan
  • Ulaş
  • Yavaşça
  • Şarkışla
  • Alay Alay Gelen
  • Unutma Bizi
  • Nurhak
  • Bize de Banaz'da
  • Yana Yana
  • Ayvaz Ağıdı
  • Gel Günlerim
  • Selam Olsun (1975)
  • Boğaz Gaydası 1-2
  • Binboğalar Efsanesi 1-3
  • Bozatlı Hızır
  • Leylim Ley
  • Horosan’dan Bu Yana 1-2
  • Geldi Geçti Ömrüm Benim
  • Turna Semahı
  • Iki Cura
  • Eşkıya Dünyaya Hükümdar Olmaz
  • Gökten Uçan Telli Turnam
  • Kalenin Önü
  • Her Ağacın Kurdu
  • Bozgun Öter Telimiz
  • Merhaba
  • Görünür
  • Dert Beni
  • Kozanoğlu
  • Düşman
  • Mapusane
  • Şeyh Bedrettin Destanı
  • Memetçik Memet
  • Arhavili İsmail
  • Kız Çocuğu
  • Üç Saz
  • Karlı Kayın Ormanı
  • Hoşgeldin Bebek
  • Hoşçakal Kardeşim Deniz
  • Nazım Türküsü
  • Bulut mu Olsam
  • Sılaya Doğru
  • Çırak Aranıyor
  • Büyük İnsanlık
  • Atlının Türküsü
  • Kurtuluş Düşü
  • Taht Bir Yana Şah Bir Yana
  • Kirvem
  • Gökkuşağı Gönder Bana
  • Son Şarkı
  • Ege
  • Bir Yelkenlim Olsaydı
  • Ozan
  • Haberleri Açma Baba
  • İlkbahar
  • Güneş Yine Doğacak
  • Sen Ve Ben
  • Mavi Sonsuzluk
  • Sevdalı Başım
  • Nerdesin
  • Akdeniz
  • Duvar
  • Aşkın Elinden
  • Güldünya
  • Memleket Kokulu Yarim
  • Adı Aşk
  • Bir Karanlık, Bir Aydınlık
  • Sevda Değil
  • Saat Dört Yoksun
  • Neylersin
  • Duvarlar
  • Hudey Hudey
  • Kardeşin Duymaz
  • Nefesim Nefesine
  • Memik Oğlan
  • Sevdalım Hayat
  • Yiğidim Aslanım
  • Atlı
  • Gözlerin
  • Kan Çiçekleri
  • Böyledir Bizim Sevdamız
  • Sus Söyleme
  • Güneş Topla Benim Için
  • Belalım
  • Gün Olur
  • Özgürlük
  • Bilmem Şu Feleğin
  • Bu Dağlarda Sesim Durur
  • Anlı Yemen Şanlı Yemen
  • Sevmeye Kıyamadım
  • Gökte Uçan Huma Kuşu
  • Çift Candarma (Baket Barı)
  • Kal Benim İçin
  • Ceylan
  • Mektup
  • Ada
  • Mayin
  • Kerem
  • Imaste Dio
  • Tozlu Yollar
  • Almanya Beyleri
  • Kimliği Bilinmeyenler
  • Kırda Vurulanların Türküsü
  • Üryan Geldim
  • ANI
  • Asya Afrika
  • Bizim
  • Yalnizlik
  • Omuz Omuza
  • Selam Olsun 1986
  • Yakup Ile Yusuf
  • Hakim Bey
  • Yandik Yandik
  • Vapur
  • Umudu Kesme Yurdundan
  • Yalniz Insan

And More Songs.


Livaneli directed four feature films: Iron Earth, Copper Sky, Mist, Shahmaran and Veda. His film Iron Earth, Copper Sky was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.[3] Veda that based on the life of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk is the last film written and directed by Zülfü Livaneli.

One of the most acclaimed Turkish films of the decade – and one of the first narrative films to tackle the highly charged subject of honor killings – Bliss was originally adopted from Livaneli's best-seller novel. The film, reviewed by New York Times as a consistently gripping, visually intoxicating film and standing as a landmark of contemporary Turkish cinema.


  • Arafat'ta Bir Çocuk (A Child In Purgatory) (1978)
  • Orta Zekalılar Cenneti (The Heaven Of The Mediocre) (1991)
  • Diktatör ve Palyaço (The Dictator And The Clown) (1992)
  • Sosyalizm Öldü mü? (Is Socialism Dead?) (1994)
  • Engereğin Gözündeki Kamaşma (The Eunuch Of Constantinople) (1996)
  • Bir Kedi, Bir Adam, Bir Ölüm (Memory Of Snow) (2001)
  • Mutluluk (Bliss) (2002)
  • Gorbaçov'la Devrim Üstüne Konuşmalar (Conversations With Gorbachov On Revolution) (2003)
  • Leyla'nın Evi (Leyla's House) (2006)
  • Son Ada (The Last Island) (2008)
  • Sevdalim Hayat (Sevdalim Hayat) (2009)
  • Sanat Uzun, Hayat Kısa (Art is Long, Life is Short) (2010)
  • Serenad (Serenade) (2011)
  • Edebiyat Mutluluktur (Literature is Bliss) (2012)
  • Kardeşimin Hikayesi (My Brother's Story) (2013)
  • Son Ada'nın Çocukları (Last Island's Kids) (2014)
  • Konstantiniyye Oteli (Constantinople hotel) (2015)

"Gözüyle Kartal Aclayan Yazar Yaşar Kemal (The Author who hunt eagle with eyes) 2016

Partial discography[edit]

  • Chants Révolutionnaires Turcs (Turkish Revolutionary songs ) - 1973
  • Yasak Plak - 1971-1974
  • Eşkıya Dünyaya Hükümdar Olmaz(Thug World Ruler No way ) - 1976
  • Merhaba (Hello!) - 1977
  • Nazım Türküsü (Nazim's Song) - 1978
  • The Bus (OST) - 1978
  • Alamanya Beyleri - 1979
  • Atlının Türküsü (The Horsemen Song) - 1979
  • Günlerimiz (Our Days) – 1980
  • İnce Memet Türküsü (Thin Memet Song) – 1980
  • Anadoluyum Ben( I Am A Anatolian) - 1981
  • Maria Farandouri Söylüyor Zülfü Livaneli (Maria Farandouri Singing Livaneli) – 1982[4]
  • Yol (The Way) (Soundtrack) – 1983
  • Eine Auswahl (A selection ) – 1983
  • Ada (Island) – 1983-1984
  • İstanbul Konseri (Istanbul Concert) – 1984
  • Güneş Topla Benim İçin (Gather The Sun For Me) – 1986
  • Livaneli / 10 Yılın Ezgisi (10 Melodies of the Year)– 1986
  • Zor Yıllar (Difficult Year) – 1987
  • Hoşgeldin Bebek (Welcome Baby) – 1987
  • Gökyüzü Herkesindir (Sky Belongs to Everybody) – 1988
  • Soundtracks – 1988
  • Crossroads (New Age) – 1991
  • Saat 4 Yoksun (Hour 4 Not Here) – 1992
  • Sevgiyle (With Love) -1994
  • Neylersin – 1994
  • Yangın Yeri (The Place In Fire) – 1996
  • Janus (Symphonic Poems) – 1996
  • Livaneli & Theodorakis : Together – 1997
  • Nefesim Nefesine (I breathe the breath) – 1998
  • New Age Rhapsody, London Symphony Orchestra Plays Livaneli - 1998-1999
  • Unutulmayanlar (Unforgettable) – 1999
  • İlk Türküler (First Songs) – 2001
  • Hayata Dair (About Life) - 2005
  • Suyun Belleği (The Memory of Water) - 2005
  • Efsane Konserler (Best Concerts) – 2006
  • 35. Yıl Konseri (35. Year Concert – 2008
  • Gökkuşağı Gönder Bana (Send Me a Rainbow) – 2013

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Two Turk MPs resign from their parties, highlighting tensions[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Zülfü Livaneli CHP'den istifa etti ‹See Tfd›(in Turkish)
  3. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Iron Earth, Copper Sky". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-07-23.
  4. ^ Rosie Ayliffe Turkey p.1048 1843530716 2003 - From the early 1980s, this was a landmark collaboration between historical enemies: Greek star Maria Farandouri singing Livaneli compositions in both Greek and Turkish. Beautiful ..."

External links[edit]