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31 May 1955

Nilüfer Yumlu was born in Cihangir district, Istanbul. At 15, she attended a singing competition named 'Altin Ses Sarki Yarismasi' organized by the 'Hafta Sonu' newspaper. She won the competition and the single ‘Kalbim bir pusula’/‘Dünya dönüyor’ became her first hit. Her debut album had to wait for four years however. Originally called ‘Nilüfer'74’ the album featured a mix of Turkish songs and French chanson. With as centre piece a translation of the 1973 Eurovision winning song ‘Tu te reconnaitras’, in Turkish ‘Göreceksin kendini’. In 1975, accepting offers for making records from German producers she made the 45 rpms 'Miss Nilüfer', and 'Ali'. In the same year she made the 45 'Oh ya', with 'Of aman aman' in 1976 and 'Kim arar seni' in 1977. In this period she received the nickname 'Queen of the 45's'.

After three more albums she was approached by the band Nazar to accompany them to the Eurovision in 1978. Turkey returned to the festival after a two year absence due to a devastating result in 1975 when the country debuted with singer Semiha Yanki. Nilüfer and Nazar performed the song ‘Sevince’ but ended almost at last place (sharing 18th place out of 20 with Finland).

In the eighties and nineties Nilüfer picks up her own career again with a string of albums and hits. In 1986 she joined the International Mediterranean Song Contest organized in Antalya Aspendos and singing Kayahan's composition 'Geceler. She won the first prize. All the while she stayed friends with Onno Tunç of Nazar who made a career as a composer and an arranger after the Eurovision. In 1994, he introduced her to singer and composer Kayahan Açar. With him, Onno and Adnan Ergil she started recording. The songs which were written and composed by Kayahan and sung by Nilüfer are some of most well-known Turkish pop songs. Two years later Onno dies which comes as a blow to the Turkish popscene. (Sezen Aksu dedicated her album 'Düş bahçeleri' to his memory.)

The 1997 album ‘Nilüfer'le’ becomes a huge hit with songs like ‘Mavilim’ and ‘Çok uzaklarda’ (a cover from a song by Loreena McKennit). The video of the song is pushed through the Turkish clipstation Kral TV. Since 1997 she is the National Ambassador of Turkey with UNICEF. In 1998 she was awarded with the honorary title of State Artist of Turkey. In February of 1998 a collection of her 70's hits is released under the title'Yeniden yetmişe'. In 2004 a set of rarities some of which only former singles and some were shelved as demo's. They were brushed off and transferred to disks from vinyl or tapes. A year later she released 'Karar verdim' on which her own lyrics and compositions were prominent. The album was awarded with a golden record by MÜYAP. It took four years to come up with a succesive album in 2009 called 'Hayal'. This was followed by a new single in 2010 called 'Zalimin Karari'. In 2011 the album '12 Duets' was a coöp with several rock musicians. All songs were arranged by the bands themselves except “Sensiz Olmaz”, which was arranged by Attila Özdemiroğlu. During the tour she was diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer forcing her to stop all activity. After a long treatment she returned in summer 2012 for an ecstatic audience. She also started working on a new album.

On the web:

- Nilüfer's official website: http://www.niluferonline.org

If you like this, you probably like.. / european counterparts:

Helena Vondrakova (Czech republic)

Sheila (France)

What do we think:

PR: Just take a look at Turkish music show on tv and you will see lots of female singers with beautiful gowns, great hairdo's and lots of jewelery. The Turkish music scene certainly does not have a lack of diva's. And that is partly due to Nilüfer's influence. Darling of the Turkish charts since the early seventies, she invented a timless yet girlish image for herself, thus creating a huige fanbase of older and younger Turks. She is probably the Turkish equivalent of Melanie Safka in the US, Petula Clark in the UK and Sheila in France. The woman does know how to sing and to bring a beasutiful ballad. It is no wonder why she's been around the scene for so many years now.

DB: If you're looking for adventurous Turkish pop or artists with an edge, Niüfer is not your girl to start. Don't expect wild lifestyles or musical experiment. She is sweet and in fact very goodie-too shoes. That does not mean their isn't any music to be enjoyed. She has a wonderful voice and made some very nice music. It's always nice to hear her which is her plus as also her negative side. Nice clean pop.

Recommended albums :

♪♪ - Nilüfer'74 - 1974

♪♪♪♪ - Nilüferle - 1997

♪♪♪ - Yeniden yetmişe - 1998

♪♪♪ - Büyük a şkım - 2001

♪♪♪ - Olur mu olur mu/Gözünaydın - 2003

Karar verdim - 2005

Hayal - 2009

12 Dueti - 2011

Further listening:

Selam söyle - 1976 ; Müzik - 1978; 15 Şarkı - 1979 ; Nilüfer '79 - 1979 ; Nilüfer '80 - 1980 ; Sensiz olmaz - 1982 ; Nilüfer '84 - 1984; Bir selam yeter - 1985; Geceler - 1987; Esmer g ünler - 1988; Sen m ühimsin - 1990; Yine yeni yeniden - 1992; Ne masal ne rüya - 1994; Sürprizler - 2004

♪♪♪♪♪ = outstanding album, an absolute must-have
♪♪♪♪ = great album, highly recomended
♪♪♪ = nice album
♪♪ = be careful, requires listening before buying
♪ = best to be avoided


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