Kerem Sevinç: a Singer Who Revived the Zazaki Dialect Through His Unique Music
On cold winter days spent in Russia I accidentally found a song in the Internet which completely took my breath away. I was impressed by its music, words and deepness.
The song I heard, was cold “Eşkera” and was written by the composer Kerem Sevinç.
Unfortunately I don’t know my native language – Zazaki (one of the dialects of Kurdish), while my mother’s father was speaking it. My mother’s family had moved to Adana before her birth. My mother, as well as me, didn’t speak Zazaki. Father was born in Siverek (Diyarbakir) and knew the language well. His family was speaking Zazaki, but Mother had to speak to them in Turkish. So, we grew up and never learned that language.
In primary and high school I was spending summer holidays at grandma’s who wasn’t speaking any language other than Zazaki. While I was spending time with her I learned my native language a little, however, when the classes started and I returned to Mersin – a place where everybody speaks Turkish – I forgot everything I had learned.
I just remembered the songs in Zazaki which I had heard in Siverek as a child. They were melodic and beautiful. Even though I didn’t know the language I easily remembered the words of Kerem Sevinç’s song. “Bao” was my favorite song. Even my Russian friends liked it.
On 18th February, 2017 I got to his live concert. I finally could hear live performance of the songs which I used to listen in my headphones in the Moscow subway. Kerem’s voice, the sounds of the guitar and the violin, the atmosphere and the staging were wonderful.
Great voice, good music and unique modern style. It seems like each song is a gift for the audience. I became acquainted with Kerem Sevinç thanks to his album “Dejh” and since than wanted to know him better and better. The closer I got acquainted with his songs, the stronger my admiration and sympathy for him were.
Kerem Sevinç was born in Diyarbekir. The artist studied at the Faculty of Geography at Dildji University (State University in Diyarbekir) and at the same time he was actively engaged in music. He created the first musical group together with his friends. It was during those years when he realized that he should sing in his native language. Having passed the exams on the TRT channel, he was working there as a sound engineer for a while. In 2002, Kerem became the first artist to pass exams for admission to the State Conservatory at Dildji University. In 2004, he began studying the techniques of musical recording technology at the Galatasaray Academy of Music. In order to be improved in music, in 2006, Sevinç continued his studies at the Modern Academy of Music. After that, Sevinç decided to build a musical career on his own, recording compositions in his own home studio. After some time, the artist who was striving to write songs in his native language, set about achieving his goal and recorded an entire album.
When the artist decided to become a musician, he had to refuse from many things. He was among those twenty people who had a chance to get their PhD in the field of Space science, however he refused from that opportunity and preferred studying at the conservatory. He was designated as a teacher in his school, but he had to leave to position in order to make musical career.
In an interview to journalists Kerem Sevinç expressed concern that his native language was disappearing. However, he mentioned that the sake of his ancestors was giving him strength and inspiration to sing in his native language. His debut album “Lome” was released in 2010, while the second one – in 2016. The album “Dejh” includes eight songs, which are written personally by Kerem Sevinç. All the songs included in the album are written in Zazaki. All the friends of mine who had listened to the album agreed that it was a unique contribution to the preservation of the language.
The social networks are interested by Kerem Sevinç’s personality. I have become a fan of his music not only thanks to that musician’s performance but his modest personality and his sincere position. A geography teacher with 15 years of experience now leads an educational institution and receives a Master's degree in Kurdology. He goes to work, to meetings with friends, even to concerts in Diyarbekır by bicycle. The album “Dej” also includes translations of all his songs in Turkish and English. Here are words from my favorite song “Bao”:
Who calls you just as a guest?
You’re very beautiful and lovely
You are a windflower of Erzîngan and Pîran mountains
Bao Bao Bao Bao Bao Bao
I’m looking around.
But my lovely one doesn’t seem.
I don't know what she is telling about
And why she is angry at me
Who says to you that you cannot be?
But you are crying in every time
Let me know, why you’re angry at me
Bao Bao Bao Bao Bao Bao