Folklore researcher, folk music performer. He was born in Şanlıurfa on September 4th,
1945. His full name is Mehmet Avni Özbek. He used İnan Değer, Âşık Avni as a
pseudonym in his works. He completed his primary and secondary education in
Şanlıurfa. He graduated from the Department of Turkish Language and Literature,
at the Faculty of Literature in Istanbul
University (1971). He did
his doctorate study in the same university in the Department of Social Sciences
Türkülerinin Dil ve Anlatım Özellikleri” (“T.N. Features of Languages and of Narration of Urfa Folk Songs”). In
1966, he passed the exam of TRT and worked in İstanbul Radio as a trainee
performer of Turkish folk music and then in 1969 as a vocal artist. He became the department chief of
Turkish Folk Music and Folk Dance in İstanbul Radio (1977-80), department chief
of Turkish Folk Music and Folk Dance in the Department of Music, TRT (1982-86).
He gave Turkish Folk Music lectures in the Department of Turkish Language and
Literature, Turkish Folklore in Hacettepe
University in 1983-95. He
was a member of Scientific Committee at Atatürk Culture, Language and History
Higher Institute and the head of the Department of Music and Performing Arts.
Since 1986, he had worked as conductor of Ankara Devlet Halk Müziği Korosu
(T.N. State Turkish Folk Choir), of the Ministry of Culture.
In 1977-86, he worked in the Committee of Repertoire and
Supervision of Turkish Folk in TRT and he produced and hosted various programs; Yurdun Sesi (1977-80), Elimizden Obamızdan (1982-84), Kervan (1984-86), Türküler Ne Der (1977), Aşıklık
Geleneği (1978), Türk Halk Çalgıları
(1979), Bilince Sevdiklerimiz (1982).
There are approximately three hundred and fifty folk songs composed by him
among TRT’s repertoire.
When he worked at TRT, in radio programs , “Aşıklık Geleneği”, “Türk Halk Çalgıları”, “Türküler Ne Der”,
“Türkülerin Dünü Bugünü”, “Bilince Sevdiklerimiz” and in the television program
“Yurdun Sesi” he produced, he used musical instruments, which were never used in a radio
program up to then, such as Tar (T.N.
lute), reed, shrill pipe, bagpipe in an orchestra, and he proved the value of
Turkish Folk Music in terms of repertoire and musical instruments and he
emphasized that Turkish Folk Music were rich and open to globalization. In
television programs called “Elimizden Obamızdan” and “Kervan” he gave examples
of Folk dances and music of Kazak, Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Turkmen and he tried to
show how Turkic world was large and how there was a cultural unity among them.
He gave concerts in the country and abroad such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Egypt, and Azerbaijan and
introduced Turkish folk music to the world. In 1980 he was invited to Japan by
MIN-ON, the biggest cultural institution in Japan, and he gave concerts with
the interoperations directed by Prof. Koizumi in ten cities of Japan and he
introduced the rich and original values of Turkish folk music, particularly Urfa’s music and hoyrat (T.N. a
kind of Turkish poem) there. Some of the concerts were collected in LP
(long-playing record). He helped the promotion of Turks and their culture and
helped them to be loved. In 1987, His solo performs and the choirs he conducted
in Babel Festival excited audiences. Arabian and Turkmen newspapers spoke
highly of him and his choir.
His articles were published in magazines of Folklor ve
Edebiyat, Edessa, İş Bankası Kültür ve Sanat,
Şanlıurfa and Dergâh. Beginning
from 1975, he lectured in folk congresses. In 1984, he won the Turkish Folks
Research Society, the İhsan Hınçer Service Award for his services to Turkish
folks, in 1985 he won Writers Union of Turkey Service Award for his services to
Turkish folk music, he won the TRT Music Award as the arranger and performer of
the Beyaz Gül work in 1988, in the Anatolian Folkore Foundation’s Service Award
for his services to Turkish folklore in 1991. In 2011, He was considered worthy
for the Aydın Doğan Award organized by Aydın Doğan Foundation to improve the
quality of life and culture of Turkish people.
COMPOSITION: Kurban Olam
Gözlerinin Üstüne, Aman Senem, Gözleri Fettan Güzel, Bu Vatan Kimin / Vatan
Türküsü, Uçun Kuşlar Uçun / Gurbet Türküsü, Elbet Yüzüm Gülecek, Dağlara
Komşuyum, Eyübün Sabrı, Ağlama Çocuk.
BOOKS: Folklor ve Türkülerimiz (1975), Türk
Halk Müziğinin Esasları (1985), Türk Halk Ezgileri 1-2-3 (With Yaşar
Doruk and Nail Tan, 1987), Türk Halk
Müziği Çalgı Bilgisi (With Muammer Sun, Ertuğrul Bayraktar, Burhan Önder,
Erdal Tuğcular, 1992), Folklor ve Türkülerimiz (2002). And he has some