After years of listening to mainly Iranian and Lebanese funk we’re now able to tell those little differences that make it non-Euro or American funk. So it’s amazing to hear those differences with a rich, superbly grounded vocal that for so long has been the one thing the really left Middle Eastern and Levant funk out of the running for top tracks of all time. Of Afro-Turkish descent, Esmeray was born in Istanbul . Afro-Turks had settler origins and many say their ancestors spoke Greek, having been part of a general migration between Crete and Turkey. They were not originally slaves, like most Afro-Montenegrans, but voyagers and traders, and feature heavily in the a list of famous Turkish artists and sportsmen in history.
Esmeray dropped out of school to join a community theatre. She did cinema and theatre for a while and ended up marrying composer Şemi Diriker, who was known as “Erol Tanır”. Esmeray died in 2002 at just 53. To hear her sing more traditional Turkish music scroll to the bottom video which is the song for which she is most know in Turkey (it is considered one of the top 50 songs of all time that shaped Turkish Music). As far as we know, these lyrics and the music were written by her husband. He wrote for other female singers too but none of thosewe’ve heard so far have the feeling of this one“Unutama Beni”. What a couple!