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Martin Stokes

(b Sivrialan, Sivas, 1894; d Sivrialan, Sivas, March 21, 1973). Turkish folk musician who was blind. He was the product of a rural Turkish musical culture shaped by Alevi (heterodox Islamic) mysticism since at least the 15th century and focussed on the music of the bağlama or saz (long-necked plucked lute), played by ritual specialists known as aşık (‘lovers’; see Turkey §II 1.). Veysel was also shaped to a significant extent by the experience of nation-building in the early Turkish Republic, achieving distinction at the Republic’s decennial festival, Cumhuriyet Onuncu Yılı, in Ankara in 1933. His songs attracted the attention of the nationalist intelligentsia for their direct and unadorned expression of national sentiment and a humanistic mysticism; his work, largely improvised around fixed melodic and poetic schemes, was written down and extensively published. Songs such as Dostlar beni hatırlasın and Uzun ince bir yoldayım are widely known throughout Turkey. Along with many rural ...