Saturday, 20 September 2014

Çiğdem Aslan brings the Aegean Blues to Britain

Çiğdem Aslan & band live in Paris. Photo: Yassine Hamrouni

It’s been an incredible 12 months for Çiğdem Aslan. Described by the Guardian as, “one of the best British-based discoveries of the year”, she released her debut album Mortissa last October to critical acclaim and then found herself nominated in Songlines’ Best Artist category alongside World Music legends Manu Chao and Mulatu Astatke.

The front cover star of T-VINE issue 7, Çiğdem has beautifully reworked the rebetiko and smyrneika sounds of the 1920s and 30s for Mortissa ('a strong independent woman'). Both in her studio recording and live renditions, she sings effortlessly in both Greek and Turkish, her sublime vocals and theatrical stage persona perfectly suited to these once outlawed songs of the Aegean, which were popular with the underclass in the hash dens and music houses of Athens and Istanbul during one of the most turbulent periods in the two countries’ history.

Of Kurdish origin, Çiğdem was born and raised in Istanbul, and her music reflects the cultural mosaic she has grown up with. Previously best known as the lead vocalist of British Balkans band She'Koyokh, the soulful singer has a way of connecting her audiences to songs even where we don’t understand any of the words.

Her ability to bring the Aegean Blues to a whole new audience has prompted Making Tracks to claim Çiğdem is, “creating the same kind of buzz about rebetiko as Mariza did for fado, Yasmin Levy did for Ladino song, and Amira for Bosnian Sevdah.”

If you’ve not had the chance to see Çiğdem live, do! Having toured extensively Europe’s festival and live music circuit throughout the year, she concludes with 11 dates in the UK, kicking off at the Brighton Dome on Sunday.

See Çiğdem Aslan live this autumn 2014
21 Sep Brighton Dome
24 Sep Bristol
25 Sep Birmingham
26 Sep York National Centre for Early Music
27 Sep Gateshead

01 Oct Milton Keynes
02 Oct Bury Saint Edmunds
03 Oct Pontardawe Cardiff
05 Oct Manchester
07 Oct Cambridge
16 Oct Vienna

Bestselling author Louis de Bernières appears as a special guest at Çiğdem’s London show on 28 September

Her London show at Union Chapel the following Sunday features bestselling author Louis de Bernières, whose blockbuster Captain Corelli's Mandolin made him a household name. His book Birds Without Wings was set in the historical town of Kayaköy near Fethiye. De Bernières will set the scene for Çiğdem’s concert by talking about his love for the region, the music, and what led him to write the book.

Look out for the new edition of T-VINE (out at the end of September) for our exclusive interview with Çiğdem. Mortissa is available from all good music stores.

London show date: Sunday 28 September 2014
Venue address:  Union Chapel, Compton Terrace (off Upper Street), Islington, London N1 2UN
Start time & duration: 7pm
London ticket prices: Standard Tickets £15 / VIP tickets £25 (front 5 rows, allocated on a first-come-first-served basis) / Tickets on the door (Standard only) £17.50 - cash only
London show & tickets:  Union Chapel
Artist info:


Related stories:
Çiğdem Aslan: Mortissa album launch, 7 October 2013

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