photo by Tahir Palali
Photo by Alex Harvey Brown
A Thousand Cranes- album cover photo


Turkish & Greek Song from Cigdem's second album 'A Thousand Cranes'; recorded live in Athens with guest singer Matoula Zamani
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Medley of two Rebetiko, Zeybekiko songs in Greek. Hamburg International Music Festival @ Elbphilharmonie, May 2019
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Line up

  • Ant Romero (Percussion)
  • Colin Somervell (Doublebass)
  • Michalis Kouloumis (Violin, Guitar)
  • Nikos Baimpas (Kaun, Santouri, Musical Director)
  • Vasilis Korakakis (Bouzouki)


Çiğdem Aslan is an Istanbul-born singer who sings in many languages and regional styles, including Turkish, Greek, Kurdish, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Romany and Ladino. Her musical journey started within the family. Coming from Kurdish-Alevi background, in which music is one of the pivotal elements of the culture, she grew up with the rich sounds of her culture and then gradually met with the other sounds of Istanbul and beyond.
While studying English literature at Istanbul University, she regularly performed Rebetiko, Sephardic and other ethnic music of Turkey.

In 2003 she moved to London and joined Dunav Balkan Group, which alongside various workshops broadened her repertoire and skills.
In 2008 she joined She’Koyokh; "Britain’s best klezmer and Balkan music band" Songlines
She also performs folk songs from different regions of Anatolia accompanied by Tahir Palali on kopuz/baglama and herself on frame drums.

She studied music at Goldsmith’s University.

Cigdem has been performing and touring her albums 'Mortissa' (2013) and 'A Thousand Cranes' (2016) which have been released from Asphalt Tango Records. Both albums focuses on Rebetiko and Smyrnaic songs from Asia Minor and Greece mainly from 1930s.

The albums received great reviews from all around the world; including the Guardian, NPR, Songlines, fRoots, Evening Standard, New York Music Daily; and entered the World Music Charts Europe from top ten and stayed there for months. 'Mortissa' was chosen as one of the best albums of 2013 by fRoots and Songlines Magazine which nominated and shortlisted Cigdem in the 'Best Artist' category for Songlines Music Awards 2014.

In 2014 Mortissa won the prestigious „Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik/ German Record Critics Award"

Cigdem is in high demand for collaborations, European tours and cultural radio and TV appearances.

"... What a voice!
From deep Billie Holiday notes to great emotional crescendos containing all the heartbreak of the world,
you cannot take your eyes or ears off of her."


Royal Albert Hall, London
Elbphilarmonie, Hamburg
Opera de Rennes, France
Southbank Centre, London
Cadogan Hall, London
Barbican, London
Glatt&Verkehrt Festival, Krems
Palau de la Musica, Valencia
Jazz Cafe, London
WOMAD (UK & Spain)
Concertgebouw, Amsterdam
Pergamon Museum, Berlin
Gasteig, Munich
Union Chapel, London
World on Three, BBC Radio 3
Loose Ends, BBC Radio 4
Cerys on 6, BBC Radio 6
Traumzeit Festival, Duisberg (DE)
Snape Proms, Aldeburgh (UK)
Warsaw Cultural Festival, Warsaw (PL)
Jewish Culture Festival, Krakow (PL)
Buskers’ Bern, Switzerland
Radio France, Paris
Libèration, France
Polish Radio, Warsaw (PL)
Mawazine Festival, Morocco
Les Nuits de Fourvière, Lyon (FR)
Førde Festivalen, Norway
TFF Rudolstadt, Germany
Palace of Arts, Budapest (HU)
Boğaziçi Üniversitesi, Istanbul (TR)