By Dilara Hamit
ANKARA (AA) - Seven years after his death, Turkish folk singer Neset Ertas remains etched in the hearts of his fans.
Several events have been organized across the country to commemorate his death anniversary on Sept. 25.
He died in 2012 in the western province of Izmir at the age of 74 after battling cancer.
Fans of the singer and lyricists are paying tribute to him at his mausoleum in the central Anatolian province of Kirsehir.
Ertas was born to father Muharrem Ertas a folk poet and mother Done Koc in Kirtillar, a village in Kirsehir in 1938.
He was first introduced to an instrument at the age of six when he started playing the violin and then the baglama, a traditional Turkish guitar.
The artist accompanied his father -- playing at wedding ceremonies in central Anatolian villages and therefore was not able to finish primary school.
At a very young age, Ertas started performing on stage in popular destinations of Istanbul and Ankara. His career got a giant push when he applied at state-owned Turkish Radio (TRT) station in Ankara to perform Turkish folk music.
In 1957, Ertas went to Istanbul, where his first record -- titled "Neden Garip Garip Otersin Bulbul" -- was produced.
Fondly remembered as the "Bozkirin Tezenesi" (Voice of Prairie), ''Turkulerin Babasi" (Father of Songs), "Anadolu Efsanesi" (Legend of Anatolia), and Abdal Muzisyen (Abdal Musician), Ertas is seen as the last great proponent of a genre called 'Abdallik' -- a name referred to groups dealing with music native to his hometown.
After working for two years in Istanbul, he moved to Ankara, where he met his wife Leyla. They married despite his father's opposition. The couple has three children.
Ertas went trough difficult times when his fingers became paralyzed in 1978, leaving him penniless as he was not able to perform and pay for treatment.
The musician regained his health when he got treated in Germany where his brother lived and started performing at weddings and local events of the Turkish community in Germany.
Ertas took up a teaching position in Germany for two years but returned to Turkey after 23 years, welcomed by crowds.
UNESCO recognized Ertas as a living human treasure. The folk singer refused the state artist title, which was offered by then-President Suleyman Demirel.
Ertas was awarded an honorary doctorate by Istanbul Technical University's Turkish Music State Conservatory in 2011.
Erol Parlak, professor at Ankara Music and Arts University, published two volumes -- titled "Garip Bulbul Neset Ertas -- on Ertas' biography and songs.
His famous songs are: "Yalan Dunya", "Vay Vay Dunya", "Kirsehir'in Gulleri", "Neredesin Sen", "Gonul Dagi", "Muhur Gozlum", "Zuluf Dokulmus Yuze", "Yaraladi Bu Ask Beni", "Yolcu", "Iki Buyuk Nimetim Var", "Hapishanelere Gunes Dogmuyor", "Evvelim Sen Oldun, Ahirim Sensin", "Seher Vakti", "Askın Beni Deli Eyledi", "Deli Boran", "Dertli Yoldas", and "Dinek Dagi".