Biographie Muzaffer Gürenç

I was born on July 3, 1964, in an Alevi village near Turhal, Turkey. When I was twelve I moved to West Germany where I graduated from a trade school in 1980, having been trained in specialized building construction. In 1985, I married my wife Yeter, with whom I now have two grown sons. Since 1994, I’ve been a successful independent contractor in the outdoor-construction sector, but my passion has always been music.
I trace my musical roots to Anatolia, where I grew up listening to the folk music of the village. It was in Germany, however, that I learned to play the bağlama (lute) when I was sixteen, taking classes at workers’ associations and cultural centers from Osman Aydemir. I also took private voice lessons from Gabriel Ibe-Beer.
My first concerts were at events and festivals organized by various Turkish associations and multicultural inititatives in Germany. I also taught bağlama classes for over ten years at various establishments, like the Workers’ Welfare Association, Youth Service Offices and at several Turkish and Alevi cultural centers in in North-Rhine Westphalia.
In 1990, I produced my first album, Marklar Carklar. I performed at the Alevi festival Ağıttan Umuda (From Sorrow to Hope) which was conducted by Zafer Gündoğdu in 2006. Other musical appearances include television shows on Yol TV, Euro Türk and the radioshow “From the Bosporus to Gibraltar” on the Westdeutsche Rundfunk’s Funkhaus Europa. In 2009, I was honored to have the famous Turkish folk musician, Musa Eroğlu, sing a sixteenth-century verse from the poet Dedemoğlu, “Ben Dedemden Himmet Aldım,” which I set to music and was later used on Eroğlu’s album Dedem Korkut.
I am very happy to work with my manager Monika Öztürk, who, for years now, never spared her support for me. She is an expert in the field of intercultural dialogue and organized so far several very successful projects in this field.
My latest album is Hasretim, which was arranged, performed, and recorded in both Turkey and Germany. Making the album was an extended process and could only be completed with the help of producer Hakan Akay, jazz vocalist Esra Dalfidan of Amsterdam, and vocalist Devrim Gürenç from Istanbul. The result is a modern interpretation of Turkish folk music played with Oriental and European instruments. Traditional Turkish folk songs are fused with jazz and world music melodies. Not only can you dance traditional folk dances (halay) to this music, but salsa as well. The songs also include selections that I have set to music from famous poets, such as the sixteenth and nineteenth century poets Fuzuli (as translated by Aziz Nesin) and Aşıki, and modern poets Neyzen Tevfik and Ali Haydar Avcı of Aachen.
Finally, I am a founding member of Mosaik e.V. (The Center for Promoting Intercultural Dialogue in Düsseldorf and its surroundings). Together with the active members of Mosaik e.V. and their president Monika Öztürk, who is at the same time my manager, I help organize and perform in a series of intercultural concerts, that are presented in German to bring non-Turkish listeners closer to Turkish folk music and culture.

Concert References:

09.06.2007 – “Charity Concert for Leyla” with international musicians within the framework of the Project Series “Ehrensache” (Act of Honor) organized by the City of Düsseldorf - Women’s Bureau
09.12.2007 – "Bağlama & Baklava" with Erol Parlak from Istanbul, et al. with the sponsorship of Thomas Kufen, Comissioner for Integration in North-Rhine Westphalia
04.06.2008 – “Turkey meets oriental neighbors” with Delil Dilanar, Kamal Mazlumi & Gerhard Klingenstein
13.04.2008 – “Turkey meets Russia” with the Balalaika Orchestra “Druschba” for a charity concert for the initiative “Kinder von Tschernobyl e.V.” (Association for the Children of Chernobyl) with the sponsorship of Jürgen Büssow , President of the provincial government of the city of Düsseldorf
09.11.2008 – “Turkey meets Greece” with Georgios Vasilikos, et al.
24.02.2009 – “Mystic and Resistance,” mystical texts fused with Christian, Islamic and Alevi dance and music, with the sponsorship of Karin Kortmann, member of the Bundestag
13.12.2009 – “First Turkish Cultural Day” at ZAKK (Center for Alternative Culture and and Communication, Duesseldorf).


Translation by Murat Gürenç (Erkrath/Germany) and Stefan Martens (Istanbul/Turkey).