Neşet Ertaş was a Turkish folk music singer, lyricist, composer, and virtuoso of the traditional stringed instrument called the bağlama.
He was born on January 25, 1938 in the Çiçekdağı district of Kırşehir, Turkey.
Early Life and Career
Ertaş was born into a family with a strong musical tradition. His father Muharrem Ertaş was also a bağlama player and poet who had composed hundreds of songs. At an early age Neşet Ertaş began learning to play the bağlama from his father and by his teenage years he had become skilled enough to perform at local events.
In 1957, at the age of 19, Ertaş recorded his first album for RCA Victor's Turkish division. Over the course of his long career he went on to record over 200 albums and composed numerous songs that became classics in Turkish folk music.
Unique Style and Contributions
One of Ertaş's most significant contributions to Turkish music was his unique style which incorporated different regional melodies as well as elements from Arabic, Persian and Byzantine music. He combined these traditions with elements from classical Ottoman court music creating a distinct sound that deeply influenced Turkish folk music in general. His use of complex rhythms and improvisational techniques on the bağlama made him one of its foremost practitioners.
Ertaș also wrote lyrics that captured everyday life in Anatolia. He sang about love, nature and society often employing metaphors derived from nature.
Recognition and Legacy
Ertaș won many awards throughout his career including the prestigious UNESCO International Music Prize in 1991. In 2008 he was designated a Living Human Treasure by UNESCO for his contribution to Turkish folk culture.
He passed away on September 25, 2012 at the age of 74 but his legacy continues. Ertaş's songs have been covered by many artists in Turkey and around the world, and his music remains a cherished part of Turkish cultural heritage. In recognition of this, the Turkish government established The Neşet Ertaş Museum in Kırşehir in 2020 to honor his life and work.
Neşet Ertaş was one of Turkey's most influential musicians who enriched Turkish folk music with his unique style and creative contributions. His genius as a bağlama player, composer, poet and singer will remain an inspiration for generations to come.