In “The tearful Public Sphere: Turkey’s ‘Sun of Art,’ Zeki Müren”, Martin Stokes brings the idea of “the sentiment in the wrong place” (307) into light. According to Stokes, the modernists criticizes the sentiment and intimacy present in music, especially present by male singers, as problematic and in wrong place. “This is to say, intimacy and sentiment expressed by men, as opposed to women, and in public, as opposed to in private.” (307). However, Stokes later refuses this idea by saying that modernist misrecognizes “the sentimental.” (309). In order to prove his point, Stokes introduces Zeki Müren, a famous singer in Turkey, in the later paragraphs and examines the reasons of his successful career and his both outstanding and controversy personality and musical features. His openly homosexuality and androgynous clothes provoke a sense of “dramas.” (321). Stokes addresses that sentiment in music should not be criticized as a feature only in female domain because of its significance in provoking resonation from the audience and bring music with more social and secular context. In other words, there is no gender distinction in terms of the sentiment of music. Later on he uses Müren’s success in music as an example to support his claim and stresses the significant role of sentiment plays in his music. Müren smartly connects himself with the audience through the sentiment he expresses in his songs. “His awareness of and sensitivity to women’s religious practice, a complex and contradictory field during this period of aggressive secularization and Islamist reaction, allowed him to cultivate a female audience at matinee performances as no other nightclub singer had previously succeeded in doing.” (311). Stokes uses Müren’s example to represent all the singers who is struggling with the sentiment and dramas in their music as public media, like modernists, usually criticize with. “Sentimental culture bears the marks of, and struggles with, this contradiction, though in various and complex ways. The Turkish case, as we shall see, is peculiarly revealing.” (309). Along with other themes such as Abrabesk and marginal, the theme of the sentiment of music connects each parts of the essay together and allows Stokes to examine the relationship between Turkish singers and the society. As Martin analyses the social significance of Müren, he simultaneously proves the claim that sentiment and intimacy prevent by male singers are misplaced is wrong.
We can also find the similar idea in World Music a Very Short Introduction. In the chapter of diaspora, Bohlman examines the functions of diaspora music for outcast people.On one hand, some people view Müren and his music as marginal, just as diaspora music which always have the disconnection with the society they belong. On the other hand, like many diaspora music which brings different music genres together, Müren’s music has a dynamic aesthetic and connects to the secular society as close as possible. As Stokes demonstrates in the article, “Any effort to understand Zeki Müren as ‘marginal’, pure and simple, will thus not only lack historical and sociological acuity, but also fail to grasp an important aesthetic dynamic at work in his vocal style.” (316).
Taylor, Timothy. “World Music in Television Ads.” American Music. Vol. 18. U of Illinois, 2000. 162-192. Print.