Ahmet Kaya biography
Ahmet Kaya (1957-2000) was a Turkish poet, singer, musician, and songwriter.
Kaya was born in Malatya on 28th October to a Kurdish father and a Turkish mother. When he was six his father, discovering Ahmet’s interest in music, brought a large bağlama for him as a birthday present When he was nine he performed at a Labour Day’s evening entertainment organised by the workers in the factory where his father worked… While at school Kaya had a part-time job at a cassette and record shop that belonged to a family acquaintance. This allowed him to get to know various kinds of music.
The family left Malatya and migrated to Istanbul, hoping for a new job and a better future for the children; though his father was retired, his penson was not enough. Ahmet had many unskilled jobs, including tazi driver street peddling; he apprenticed at various work places, but never abandoned his bağlama. He wanted to study music, but it hardly seemed possible. In an attempt to keep his hope alive, he decided to finish high school using an opportunity given by the state whereby he could sit the exams but was not required to attend courses.
His first album, Ağlama bebeğim, was released in 1985. His popularity continued to rise into the 1990s, and in 1994 he released the album Şarkılarım dağlara, which sold a record 2.8 million copies.
During his career he recorded about twenty albums and was known for his protest music and positions on social justice. Recurring themes in his songs are love of one's mother, sacrifice, and hope.
Kaya went to France in June 1999, escaping various charges arising from his political views. Among them were the accusations that he had performed in front of a poster for the Kurdistan Workers Party at a 1993 concert in Germany, and that he had made statements in support of Abdullah Öcalan. In March 2000 he was sentenced in absentia to three years and nine months in prison on the charge of spreading separatist propaganda.
He died of a heart attack in Paris on 16th November 2000 at the age of forty-three, and is buried in Père Lachaise cemetery.