Sevim-Sevinç Tevs sisters, Rüçhan Çamay, Ayten Alpman... The premiere female vocalists in Turkey from 1940s onwards... Turkish jazz is very fortunate to have Alpman still active as a performer. Born November 20, 1930 in Yeşilköy, İlham Gencer discovered her talent during her school days. With the establishment of İstanbul Radio in 1949 she joined İlham Gencer's ensemble. The first song she performed on radio was "You Are Always In My Heart". It was Arif Mardin who suggested that she focus on jazz songs. Alpman married İlham Gencer in 1953 and gave birth to two talented children. Alpman's first record was released in 1959. In 1960 she split with İlham Gencer and joined the İsmet Sıral Orchestra. In 1963, she travelled to Sweden where she met legendary jazz figures such as Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington and Quincy Jones. When she returned to Turkey three years later, the music scene was no longer the same. Now there were folk-jazz, folk-pop, other such variations of folk songs, and so-called "arrangement" pieces which were but adaptations of international hits. Disappointed, Alpman insisted on singing jazz for a while, yet Fecri Ebcioğlu convinced her to start singing in Turkish. She recorded several 45s with Sezen Cumhur Önal and in 1968 married Süheyl Denizci's pianist, Ümit Aksu. Her first major hit was "Sensiz Olamam" which she recorded with Ebcioğlu. In 1972 she recorded a piece by Mireille Mathieu, with lyrics adapted to Turkish by Fikret Şeneş. During the invasion of Cyprus in 1974, this song, entitled "Bir Başkadır Benim Memleketim" was frequently broadcast on TRT and soon thereafter became a symbol. In 1999 she released a CD of her greatest hits on Ada Müzik label. Still loyal to jazz, Alpman released a new album to bestow us once again with her exquisite vocals, now honeyed like ageing wine.

Hülya Tunçağ