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traditional, worldmusic
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  • Cigdem Aslan (vocal)


(Pronounced Cheedem) is a rising star in the revival of rebetiko, the bitter-sweet, devil-may-care songs of an exiled underclass, sung in hash dens and 'Café Amans' of Athens, Piraeus and Istanbul from the 1920. With strong roots in the port of Smyrna/Izmir, rebetiko is a culture shared by Greeks and Turks that developed in mainland Greece following forced population exchanges, and was famously outlawed in both countries for its association with the underworld and being too 'oriental' in outlook.
Çiğdem Aslan stepped onto the international stage with her debüt album "Mortissa" as a bright young star in her own right.The Guardian Newspaper described her as “one of the best British-based discoveries of the year”, going on to say, “Her success is down to her reworking of the old songs with a blend of delicate soulful vocals, subtle theatrics and a stage persona that could switch from stately to slinky and flirtatious…” London’s Evening Standard named her “a lioness of Greek and Turkish song” who “transformed the Vortex into a rebetiko club, with the audience sipping raki and hanging on every note. Her charismatic performance also included other spectacular musicians.” The album was also Songlines Magazine Album Of The Year 2013 and was nominated as Best Album in the fRoots Magazine Critics’ Poll 2013.
Her second album "A thousand cranes" formed a mesmerising sequel to her debut. Taking its name from tourna/τούρνα (crane); a migratory bird which holds strong symbolism in many cultures and mythologies. As the albums metaphor would suggest, Çiğdem’s music migrates across time and border, taking us on a journey exploring songs from Athens, the Balkans and South East Anatolia. The album was recorded in Athens' historical studio AntArt, with musical direction from famed producer Nikolaos Baimpas, bringing together meldies of the past with a modern and crisp sound.