Hilmi Çetin (25 September 197015 August 2001) was a Turkish
musician as well as songwriter and singer in the blues and psychedelic music
genres, who gained renown in his native country for the skill and
sensitivity of his guitar performances and, in the wake of his suicide at
the age of 30, before the release of his highly-praised album, Satılık [For
Sale], has achieved a near-iconic posthumous status as a talent lost on the
brink of great achievement.
Born in the Black Sea port of Samsun, Turkey's 15th largest city and capital
of Samsun Province, Yavuz Çetin spent his early school years traveling
through the country's various regions, as his father, journalist Erdal
Çetin, responded to the demands inherent in the profession. In 1984, at the
age of 14, the adolescent music enthusiast was already taking blues and rock
guitar lessons from guitarist Hasan Cihat Örter and, the following year,
started learning to master the acoustic guitar and, subsequently, the
electric guitar. Before graduating from Istanbul's Haydarpaşa High School,
he and classmate Ercan Saatçi who, in later years, became a noted musician
as well as sports journalist, entered HEY magazine's music competition and
their song, 'I Will Cry', became the winning entry.
In 1988, continuing his quest in Istanbul for higher education and advanced
musical training, Çetin began studies at Marmara University's Music
Department while earning an income as a musical performer in clubs such as
Beyaz Ev [White House] in the port town of Bodrum, where he played in
198990. In 1991, upon turning 21, he formed, with young musical colleagues
Batu Mutlugil, Kerim Çaplı and Sunay Özgür, the musical group, Blue Blues
Band. Having married in 1992, Yavuz Çetin and wife Didem filed for divorce
four years later. In that year, 1996, and for the remaining four years of
his life, he was also a guitarist at the numerous concerts played by the
noted band Mazhar-Fuat-Özkan.
He collaborated, as well, on various albums with artists such as Teoman,
Kıraç, Sibel Tüzün, Soner Arıca, Göksel, Deniz Arcak and Acil Servis. In
Göksel's hit song 'Sabır', he became the first Turkish guitar player to use
a talk box. Of particular note is his solo on Deniz Arcak's 'Bırakın Beni'
from the Kıpır Kıpır album which, in an illustration of his mastery of the
rock and blues guitar tradition, was recorded on the first take after only a
couple of rehearsals. It also became the last studio session recording in
which he participated.
Two albums, İlk ve Son... and Satılık
In 1997, Yavuz Çetin issued his first album İlk ve Son... [First and
last...], produced by his longtime compatriot Ercan Saatçi, but the album
was unable to capture the spirit of that moment's public musical mood. He
also earned an income from writing numerous advertising jingles, such as a
well-remembered Coca-Cola spot, and his tune 'Dünya' ['the World'], which
was chosen as part of the soundtrack for the 1999 film, 'Propaganda', with a
score composed and arranged by master guitarist Erkan Oğur.
Six weeks before his 31st birthday, after expending months of intense effort
writing all of the tracks for his second album, Satılık, and having
completed the album's final recording session, Yavuz Çetin committed suicide
by leaping from Istanbul's Boğaziçi Bridge which connects Europe and Asia
across the Bosphorus strait. Posthumous acclaim followed the subsequent
release of the album which a number of music reviewers described as a work
of genius. With the passage of years, both Satılık and the previously
overlooked İlk ve Son... have gained a near-cult status as Yavuz Çetin's
music and words continue to be heard in the region keeping his legend alive
for the listening public.