Zara (Turkish singer)

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Birth name Neşe Yılmaz
Born (1976-01-15) January 15, 1976 (age 39)
Istanbul, Turkey
Genres Turkish folk music
Occupation(s) Singer, actress
Instruments Vocal
Years active 1996–present
Labels ZR Müzik

Zara (born Neşe Yılmaz, current real name: Neşe Zara Yılmaz, January 15, İstanbul,1976) is a popular Turkish folk singer and actress.[1][2]


She was born in Üsküdar district of Istanbul in January 15, 1976. She graduated from the Sosyal Meskenler Primary School in Esatpaşa quarter. In 1991 and 1993, Zara was first among female Turkish folk musical soloists in a nation-wide high school level competition of music and folk dance organized by the newspaper Milliyet. She completed her higher education in the Department of Vocal Music of Istanbul Technical University State Conservatory.

In 1996, she passed the "qualified vocal artist" examination organized by TRT (Turkish Radio and Television Corporation) and started work as a contract Turkish folk singer. She acted and sang the role of Amber in the Yunus Emre Musical staged at Atatürk Cultural Center in 1997. In 1998, she published her album, Avuntu (Consolation), the product of 15 months' work. In the same year, she played a lead role with Tarık Akan in her first feature film, Eylül Fırtınası (September Storm), directed by Atıf Yılmaz.

Soon after, in 2000, Zara brought out her second album, Boyut (Dimension) featuring songs from old Turkish films. Video for the music on her album was distributed on VCD.

She acted in the film Deli Yürek: Bumerang Cehennemi, in 2001. In 2002, she introduced to the market Misafir (Guest), her third album, and in 2003, Özlenenler (Someone who is missed) consisting of 27 songs on two disks. It was on her album Özlenenler that Zara surprised music lovers by singing the more technically demanding Turkish classical music for the first time.

Zara was a principal actress in a series for the first time in 2003 in Gelin (Daughter in law), which consisted of 28 episodes and was broadcast at Kanal D. In 2004, her music video of AFIT[expand acronym], co-created with the Ministry of Public Works, was broadcast in the “Conscious Society to Natural Disasters” project. Shot in 1992, it was held back by earthquake[further explanation needed].

Zara has received awards from organizations such as Kral TV and MGD[disambiguation needed]. She was also awarded the Gold Butterfly prize as “The Best Singer at Turkish Folk Music” four times, from 2000 to 2003.

Zara continued her career with the album Zamanı Geldi (It is about time), which also had two CDs. The first CD of album comprised 17 Turkish folk songs and the second 12 arrangements from to 70’s. In October of the same year, Zara published a Turkish mystic music album with the symphony of “Bülbül-i Şeyda”.

Zara was the program announcer of Zamanı Geldi at Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) as well and met audiences 41 times[clarification needed]. At this program she hosted many artists, such as İbrahim Tatlıses, Selda Bağcan, Yavuz Bingöl, Edip Akbayram, Belkıs Akkale, İzzet Altınmeşe, Sabahat Akkiraz, Alişan, Funda Arar, Zerrin Özer, Fatih Erkoç, Muzaffer Akgün.

In Ramadan of 2006 she announced a pre-dawn programme called “Tanrı Misafiri” ("An unexpected guest is a God-sent guest") at ATV. This program was broadcast live from her guest house.


Year Album
1998 Avuntu
2000 Boyut
2002 Misafir
2003 Özlenenler
2005 Zamanı Geldi
2005 Bülbül-i Şeyda
2008 Bahar
2011 Hazine


Year Film Notes
1999 Eylül Fırtınası Television movie
2001 Deli Yürek: Bumerang Cehennemi Movie
2003 Gelin Television movie
2008 İpsiz Recep Movie

TV Programmes[edit]

Year TV Programme Channel
2005 Zamanı Geldi TRT
2006 Tanrı Misafiri Atv
2009 Salı Sefası tv8
2010 Salı Sefası tv8
2011 Salı Sefası tv8


  1. ^ "Kürt kızı Zara'nın inanılmaz yükselişi", Hürriyet, May 11, 2001.
  2. ^ Zara Kendini Dine Verdi!..., Haber Vitrini, December 31, 2003.