Olcay Bayir: Rüya – Dream for Anatolia

Olcay Bayir’s extraordinary second album begins with an endless walk on a narrow road, the trek drawn from an Alevi allegory of life’s journey. The artist has a parallel story: Born in southern Turkey, her musical Kurdish family—father and brother her first teachers—moved frequently around Anatolia and in every locale Olcay … More Olcay Bayir: Rüya – Dream for Anatolia

Fulya Özlem & Akustik Kabare: Mânidar Boşluk

The singer-songwriter Fulya Özlem spent years studying and performing abroad, tracing a path that includes English, Scottish and Irish folk, tango, Latin jazz, bossa nova, French and Spanish Renaissance compositions, Sephardic music and rebetiko before returning to her native Istanbul. On Mânidar Boşluk (The Conspicuous Abyss), her third album, she explores something that was always part … More Fulya Özlem & Akustik Kabare: Mânidar Boşluk

Ferhat Tunç: Kobani

The Kurdish-Turkish singer-songwriter Ferhat Tunç has achieved artistic success, but he has also provoked criticism that goes well beyond negative reviews. Over the course of his 30-year career, he has been harassed, censored, fined, indicted, arrested, jailed and received death threats. As this review posts, he awaits trial in Istanbul on charges of “insulting the president” of Turkey and “propaganda for a terrorist organization” over his support for the Kurdish rights movement. The alleged crimes arose from Twitter … More Ferhat Tunç: Kobani

Gülben Ergen: Kalbimi Koydum

Notwithstanding its name, the Turkish music form known as Arabesque has Byzantine and Balkan influences as well as Arabian. Over the past 20 years a new form, Arabesque-pop, has emerged with the addition of more Western instruments. On her tenth album, Gülben Ergen— the Queen of Arabesque-pop—sings across a stylistic spectrum, from traditional melancholy songs to dance-pop rhythms. Despite the plethora of instruments—including baglama, oud, guitar, bouzouki, sax … More Gülben Ergen: Kalbimi Koydum