ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkish traditional music singer Muzeyyen Senar, known as the “diva” of the modern republic and whose career spanned half a century, died on Sunday. She was 96.
Senar died in hospital in the Aegean city of Izmir after contracting pneumonia, the official Anatolia news agency reported. She was born in 1918 in the final years of the Ottoman Empire and her talent as a singer of traditional Turkish classical music was recognised rapidly. She made her stage debut in 1933 and made early records. It is said her voice was admired by modern Turkey’s secular founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk who even attended her concerts. Senar kept up her career into the 1980s, becoming a link for many Turks between the modern age and a bygone era. She recorded 30 albums.
She became known with affection by Turks as the “Cumhuriyetin Divasi” — the “Diva of the Republic”.
She suffered severe health problems after a stroke in 2006.
“Muzeyyen Senar was not comparable with anyone else. She was the pride of Turkey.”