Zülfü Livaneli is a popular Turkish folk musician (singer and composer), a novelist, newspaper columnist and a film director who has been highly popular for decades.
He is most known for his fusion of Turkish folk music with contemporary music, in much the same way as Bob Dylan and his contemporaries in the United States. His 1997 Ankara concert was attended by no less than 500 thousand people. His collaborations with Mikis Theodorakis of Greece have been noted as a gesture of bringing together the two countries. Livaneli has been a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador since 1996.
Livaneli has composed some three hundred songs, a rhapsody – recorded by London Symphony Orchestra –, and a ballet. His compositions have reached cult status nationwide and have been performed by internationally renowned artists such as Joan Baez, Maria Farantouri, María del Mar Bonet, Udo Lindenberg, Haris Alexiou, Jocelyn B. Smith and Kate Westbrook. He has also written five plays and thirty film soundtracks. Among these soundtracks are the soundtrack for Yol (The Path), directed by Yilmaz Güney and winner of the Golden Palm in Cannes Film Festival, The Herd, directed by Yılmaz Güney and Zeki Ökten, and Shirin's Wedding by German director Helma Sanders-Brahms.
His recordings have been published in the USA, Sweden, Germany, Holland and France, and he has given dozens of concerts throughout the world. He has produced albums and performed with Mikis Theodorakis and Maria Farantouri, and he has also collaborated with Manos Hatzidakis, Giora Feidman, Inti-Illimani and Ángel Parra. In 2010, he sang Mothers of The Disappeared with Bono at U2's concert in Istanbul, Turkey, which was U2's first-ever concert in Istanbul. Livaneli has been distinguished with the awards Best Album of the Year (Greece), the Edison Award (Holland), and Best Album of the Year (Music Critics Guild of Germany), and the Premio Luigi Tenco Best Songwriter Award, San Remo, Italy, in 1999, among others.