Müzeyyen Senar

Müzeyyen Senar
Native name Müzeyyen Dombayoğlu
Birth name Zeliha Eren
Born (1918-07-16)16 July 1918
Gököz, Keles, Bursa, Ottoman Empire
Origin Turkish
Died 8 February 2015(2015-02-08) (aged 96)
İzmir, Turkey
Genres Turkish classical music
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter
Years active 1933–2008

Müzeyyen Senar (Turkish pronunciation: [myzejˌjen seˈnar]) (16 July 1918 – 8 February 2015) was a Turkish classical music performer, known as the "Diva of the Republic".[1][2]

Early years

Müzeyyen Dombayoğlu was born in 1918 in the village of Gököz in the Keles district of Bursa Province, in the then Ottoman Empire. She had two elder brothers İsmet and Hilmi. Her mother Zehra used to sing Senar to sleep.[1] At the age of five, she developed a stutter after returning from a wedding ceremony, perhaps the result of fear, as she recalled. Her speech disorder lasted until adulthood, though, as is usually the case with performers, it did not affect her singing voice.[1] At six years old, knowing most of the popular folk songs by heart, she sang at family gatherings and wedding ceremonies, to which her mother took her. In her early childhood, she ran away from her father's home in Bursa to Istanbul, where her mother lived. Her father had left his wife after a marriage of 25 years.[2]

According to several claims by Turkish media, she was adopted by the Dombayoğlu family.[3][4] She was originally born in a Georgian[5] village called Hilmiye in İnegöl to ethnic Georgian parents. Her birth name was Zeliha Eren and her parents were Fatma and Reşit, who migrated from Batumi to İnegöl.[6]


Senar began her musical career in 1931, entering the Anadolu Musiki Cemiyeti ("Anatolia Musical Association") in Üsküdar, where she was educated by kemenche virtuoso Kemal Niyazi Seyhun and oud player Hayriye.[1][2] After starting to perform at Radio Istanbul of TRT, she became well known. In 1933 she debuted on stage in a summer talent show at one of the most important music halls in Istanbul. She continued her performances at other renowned music halls. Also in 1933, aged 15, she sang her first song on 78 rpm record released by (His Master's Voice). More recordings followed later on Odeon Records and other labels. Her singing was also much admired by the founder of the Turkish Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938). On several occasions she gave special concerts in his audience.[2]

Following an offer of Mesut Cemil in 1938, she went to Ankara to perform at the newly established state-owned local radio station. In 1941 she returned to Istanbul to give concerts at various well-known night clubs. In 1947, Senar gave her first concert abroad in Paris, France at Le Lido.[1] With her voice and style, she opened a new era of Turkish classical music. She retired from active singing in 1983, appearing in her final show in a popular music hall in Bebek, Istanbul.[2]

In the 1940s Senar played the leading role in the movie Kerem ile Aslı. In the 1960s she was featured in the movies Ana Yüreği and Sevgili Hocam. Her 1976 film, Analar Ölmez is autobiographical.[2] She dubbed Egyptian singer Umm Kulthum's songs in imported Arabic movies with songs specially composed for Turkish release.[1][2]

Later years and death

On 26 September 2006 it was reported that she suffered a cerebral infarction at her home in İzmir, which paralyzed her left side.[7] In February 2008 it was reported that she had lost her voice.[8] As of 2013, she was living with her daughter, Feraye Işıl, in Bodrum.[9][10] Senar died on 8 February 2015, aged 96. She had been hospitalized with pneumonia at Ege University Hospital in Izmir.[11] On 10 February, she was laid to rest in Zincirlikuyu Cemetery, following the religious service held at Bebek Mosque in Istanbul.[12]


In 1998, she was awarded the State Artist Award, but she declined to accept it. [13] With the initiative of her student, renowned Turkish classical music singer, Bülent Ersoy, an exhibition of photographs of her entitled "Cumhuriyetin Divası: Müzeyyen Senar" ("Müzeyyen Senar, the Diva of the Republic") was held in Ankara on 29 October 2009, the Republic Day of Turkey.[2][13]


Year Album Series
2008 Odeon Yılları 2
İkinci Dubleden Sonra Archived Sounds "Efsane Sesler" (Legendary Songs)
2007 Atatürk'ün Sevdiği Şarkılar
2006 Ne Yaptım Archived Sounds "Efsane Sesler" (Legendary Songs)
Ben Seni Unutmak İçin Sevmedim Archived Sounds "Efsane Sesler" (Legendary Songs)
Müzeyyen Senar Odeon Yılları
2004 Bir Bahar Akşamı Archived Sounds "Efsane Sesler" (Legendary Songs)
2001 En Son Okuduklarım
1998 Müzeyyen Senar ile Bir Ömre Bedel
1995 Akşam Oldu Hüzünlendim Ben Yine
1991 Nostalji
1990 Çilingir Sofrası 1990
Günay Sanat Geceleri
1989 Çilingir Sofrası 1989
1988 Ayrıldı Gönül Archived Sounds "Efsane Sesler" (Legendary Songs)
Yine Bir Sızı Var İçimde Archived Sounds "Efsane Sesler" (Legendary Songs)
1986 Bilmem ki Sefa
1983 Gelse O Şuh Meclise 2
1979 Güller Arasında Archived Sounds "Efsane Sesler" (Legendary Songs)
Şarap Gibi
1978 Çilingir Sofrası 1978
1976 Gelse O Şuh Meclise
1970 Son Veda
Son Aşkımı Canlandıran Archived Sounds "Efsane Sesler" (Legendary Songs)
Söyleyin Güneşe Archived Sounds "Efsane Sesler" (Legendary Songs)
Müzeyyen Senar'la Faslı Muhabbet
Gül Yüzlülerin Şevkine Gel
Müzeyyen Senar
Müzeyyen Senar (1995)


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Yagici, Mine (April 2006). "Diva of Turkish art music Müzeyyen Senar continues to conquer hearts with her unforgettable songs". Skylife (on-board magazine of Turkish Airlines. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Dorsay, Atila (21 May 2006). "Şarkıda güfteyi anlatan kadın". Sabah (in Turkish). Retrieved 21 November 2011.
  3. "Cumhuriyetin divası toprağa verildi". Doğru Haber Radyo ve Televizyon Yayın İletişim ve Reklam A.Ş. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  4. "Türk Sanat Müziği devi Müzeyyen Senar vefat etti". 10 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  5. Sevan Nisanyan. "Index Anatolicus" (Map). Türkiye yerleşim birimleriyle evanteri (in Turkish). Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  6. "Bu Iddiaya Çok Şaşıracaksınız". gencgazete.net. 8 February 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  7. Demirci, Elif (25 September 2006). "Müzeyyen Senar felç oldu". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  8. "Müzeyyen Senar sesini kaybetti!". Sabah (in Turkish). 24 February 2008. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  9. "Müzeyyan Senar'dan üzen haber". Sabah (in Turkish). 31 July 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  10. "Müzeyyen Senar korkuttu!". Habertürk (in Turkish). Retrieved 11 May 2013.
  11. "Dev sanatçı Müzeyyen Senar hayatını kaybetti". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 8 February 2015.
  12. "Müzeyyen Senar'a veda". Cumhuriyet (in Turkish). 11 February 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2015.
  13. 1 2 "Çankaya'da buruk tören". Hürriyet (in Turkish). Retrieved 11 May 2013.

Further reading

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