Esin Afsar - Biography
· Esin Afsar was born in September 1942 in Bari, Italy where her father was in a diplomatic mission. She was fond of music when she was very young.
· After her college years, she was graduated from the piano department of the conservatory. During the years in conservatory, her teachers have noticed her voice and talent, so she had chanting lessons from Madame Bohn, and Madame Hidalgo. Then she was appointed to the state theatre as pianist, meanwhile Muhsin Egtugrul, the General Director of the theatre, noticed her talent in acting and passing an examination, she became the state actress of the theatre. After several years in theatre, in 1967 she played in the musical “Fantastics”. Then she opposed all the proposals to become a singer, but after a year, in 1968 she found herself in the middle of the music world.
· In 1969, Esin Afsar received the Dario Morano award with Jacques Brel in Paris. In the same year she also performed in several TV programs for Tele Dimanche and Midi Magazine. Accepting the invitation of princess Grace Kelly for the 10th TV festival, she gave a concert in Monte Carlo together with Gilbert Becaud, and Josephine Baker. In the same year she performed at the international music festival in Brashov, Romania and received the “Critics Reward”. She also won the “Best Composition Reward” arranged by the daily Tanin.
· In 1970, she was chosen “The Best Singer” in Turkey and she also received the third grand prize at the international music festival “Golden Orfe” in Bulgaria. Meanwhile Esin Afsar was invited to Cuba, Poland, and England but due to some illness she could not accept those invitations, but later on she was invited to Naples, Italy and Hungary, where she went and gave several concerts. In Bulgaria, Sofia she also performed in a TV program. For she was invited to foreign countries many times, she was called “the diplomatic singer”. Esin Afsar became the pioneer of the modern folk music in Turkey.
· In September 1972, she was invited to U.S.S.R, which was a successful month long trip. In October, she was invited to Japan and she performed in a TV program called “Music in the World” N.H.K. Then she went to South Korea and she had a great success in Seul TV.
· In 1973, she gave a concert in the Jerusalem Theatre of Israel; in the same year she gave concerts in England, Italy, Belgium, Tunis, which were organized by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
· In 1974, she gave concerts in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia.
· In 1975, she was invited to the “Festival of the Mediterranean Folk Songs” and received the fourth prize with a composition of Selmi Andak.
· In between 1980-83, she gave concerts in Istanbul and acted in the one-woman musical show called “Kelaynaklar” written by Bilgesu Erenus. In the same period she translated the play titled “Red Shoes”, which was played in the state theatres and TV.
· In between 1985-89, she gave various concerts and participated in festivals in France, some of which are listed below:
· In 1987, she gave a concert in Zurich, which was organized by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. In the following year she gave concerts in the well-known theatre of “La Faux Nez” in Lausanne, Switzerland. Her first Long Play titled “ Songs and Poems from Turkey of Yesterday and Today” was produced by the Horizon Record Company of Paris and offered for sale in 1986.
· In 1989, she composed a list of songs based on the poems of Yunus Emre (well known Turkish mystical poet of 13th century). These compositions were collected on a tape and made available for the market by the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Some of these compositions were used as the sound track on the films titled by “Yunus Emre” and “Mevlana”. She also acted as narrator on the latter film. Also, in 1989, she formed her own orchestra (including piano, flute, saxophone, guitar, drum, and local instrument called kemenche) and gave concerts in antique theatres in Aya Irini and Ephesus.
· In May 1990, she was invited to the festival of “Audincourt” in France. Then she organized against racism with participation of artists from Poland, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Algiers, and Tunis.
· In 1991, she compiled the English version of her Yunus Emre CD. This was translated by Prof. Talat Halman and sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Culture. UNESCO, declared the year 1991 as the world humanity and Yunus Emre year. Consequently, the Turkish Ministry of Culture sponsored her trips to North America, Europe, and Fareast with her orchestra. In July 6th of the same year, she gave a concert within the Istanbul Festival at the Ataturk Cultural Center.
· In 1992, her Mevlana-Yunus Emre CD was produced by the Hungarian, Hongaraton Record Company, which was also sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
· In June 1993, she sang for the honor of the event, in which Ankara and Sofia are declared brother cities. In the same year, she gave national concerts including the Ortakoy Center Open-air Concert, which was repeated for four consecutive years.
· In 1994, her “Esin Alaturka” CD in which she sang modernized old Turkish songs, was released by Yapi Kredi Bank cultural affairs program.
· In 1995, her “Ataturk” CD was released by Yapi Kredi Bank cultural affairs program. She donated 2000 CD’s to the Modern Life Supporting Organization.
· In-between 1998-99 her Jazz interpretation of Asik Veysel CD again was sponsored and released by the Yapi Kredi Bank cultural affairs program.
· In the year 2000, her music for children “Pembe Ucurtma” CD, which was sponsored by the Turkish Ministry of Cultural Affairs, was released.
· In August 2001, she performed for the ENKA foundation cultural program at ENKA auditorium.
· In January 2002, she performed at the University of South Florida, Tampa, for the honor of Turkish-American Friendship, organized by the Turkish Student Association and the Turkish American Cultural Association of Florida. During this period she received concert offers from Dallas, Miami, and Los Angeles, which she could not accept due to lack of time.
Affiliations & Organizations:
· Turkish-Greek Friendship Organization Vice-President
· Modern Life Supporting Organization Chair member
· Followers of Ataturk Organization (Ataturk is the Founder of Modern Turkish Republic)
· Nazim Hikmet Charity (Nazim Hikmet is a worldwide famous Turkish poet)