Bayir, Olcay

Kurdish - Turkish singer/songwriter from Turkey based in London.

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Olcay Bayir is a singer/songwriter from London, of Kurdish Alevi origin from Turkey. Born into a Turkey’s south not far from the Syrian border, Olcay’s soul is rooted in the deeply emotional music of Anatolia and influenced by its various traditions, including the rich music of the Alevi community. From an early age Olcay sang and wrote songs. Around her she experienced also Armenian and other cultures that coexisted for centuries in Anatolia; her great-grandmother had Armenian roots. As a teenager, she moved to London with her family, starting anew. With little understanding of English, music was a lifeline. She went on to study operatic singing at university, but realized that classical music was not her path. Instead, she brought the power of a trained voice to the music of her homeland in her first album Neva – Harmony (Riverboat, World Music Network, 2014), sung in multiple languages. Her second album Rüya – Dream (or ARC Music, 2019 and Kalan Muzik in Turkey) featured her own songs. Both albums were well received in industry press. Nominated for best newcomer in the Songlines Music Awards 2015 for her debut album Neva, Olcay has been described as “ one of the finest, most intriguing singers on the on the British world music scene, with a style that reflects her complex history” (The Guardian, March 2019 )


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  • WOMEX 2022


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