Zulfu Livaneli Visits Bilkent

Wednesday was a day of nostalgia as Zulfu Livaneli, acclaimed musician, songwriter, activist and novelist was at Bilkent to speak at a conference organized by Bilkent Kultur ve Iletisim Toplulugu.

Program host

Although he is more widely known for his songs, Livaneli has become one of the foremost novelists of contemporary Turkish literature since retiring from his musical career. One of his more recent novels, "Mutluluk" (Bliss) was a bestseller. The movie version, which premiered last year - featuring a marvelous cast of Ozgu Namal, Murat Han and Talat Bulut - became a blockbuster in Turkish cinemas, and gained international prominence.

Another of his works, the thrilling story of "Meryem," which subtly transforms into an epic portrayal of feudal Turkish rural society and honor killings, is indeed a captivating one, but on Wednesday, the crowd was more enthralled by Livaneli himself. Since leaving the world of music, he has rarely ventured on to the stage for a live performance. Many Bilkenters who were mere adolescents when he retired, learnt his music from his records. Therefore, seeing and listening to Livaneli while he was just a few inches away was a priceless experience.

Vista shot

It was not long before the event had started to feel less like an author-reader chat, and more like a graduate seminar on Livaneli, with some very well thought out questions that left him sweating to offer up satisfactorily answers. He did a good job, and seemed to enjoy it just as much as all of the attendees.