Beytocan, born as Beytullah Güneri, was a Kurdish singer and musician whose work left an indelible impact on the Kurdish community and beyond. Born on 1 October 1955 in Silvan, Diyarbakır, he navigated significant challenges, including imprisonment and exile, to become an iconic figure in Kurdish music. He passed away on 12 September 2023 in Stockholm, Sweden, at the age of 67.
Early Life and Challenges
Beytocan was born in Silvan, Diyarbakır, and moved to the center of Diyarbakır with his family when he was just eight years old. His life took a dramatic turn following the 1980 Turkish coup d’état, when he was sentenced to 15 years in prison. However, he was freed in 1987 and subsequently moved to Istanbul.
The Birth of “Beytocan”
Upon his release and relocation, Beytocan met Selami Şahin, who suggested he adopt the stage name “Beytocan” to release his poems and music. Given that Kurdish works were banned in Turkey during that period, Beytocan had to tread carefully. He released a satirical album called 21 March Yan Mirin, Yan Diyarbekir, which covertly circulated among Kurdish militants.
Political Exile and Return
The 1990s saw Beytocan leave Turkey due to political reasons, seeking refuge in Sweden. After spending 23 years abroad, he returned to Turkey, but the stay was brief, and he moved back to Sweden shortly thereafter.
Health and Final Days
In 2021, a tumor was discovered under his tooth. Despite surgical attempts to remove it, Beytocan passed away in Stockholm on 12 September 2023.
Beytocan’s music continues to be celebrated for its emotive power and cultural significance. Some of his notable albums include:
- Te nadin min (2001)
- Bist û yekê adarê (2001)
- Etuna dile min (2011)
Beytocan’s life and career were a testament to resilience and the power of art to transcend political and cultural barriers. Even though he faced imprisonment and exile, his music found a way to reach people, becoming an important part of Kurdish cultural history.
The life of Beytocan is a compelling story of struggle, resilience, and artistic expression. Even in the face of enormous challenges, including political strife and health issues, his music and message remained unquenchable. While he may have passed away, Beytocan’s legacy will continue to resonate in the hearts of those who found solace and inspiration in his work.