Kurdish singer awarded by distinguished American music college

She has collaborated with Yo Yo Ma and Silk Road Ensemble, Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor, and Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – Kurdish singer Aynur Dogan is to be honored with the Master of Mediterranean Music Award on Thursday by the Berklee College of Music in Boston, United States.

The College’s Mediterranean Music Institute (MMI) will be holding its annual Spring concert where it will launch its Women in Action initiative, a move to “raise awareness of female artists,” read the Berklee website.

“By recognizing great talents such as Aynur, who has overcome many difficulties in her career and has persevered in her quest, we try to set an example of a new generation of women musicians,” said Javier Limón, the artistic director of the Mediterranean Music Institute.

Dogan will receive the award at the MMI’s Spring concert at the Berklee Performance Center.

Accompanying her will be the MMI Consort, a band of Berklee students from the Mediterranean.

Western influences on Dogan include artists John Coltrane, Mari Boine, and Tracy Chapman.

She has collaborated with Yo Yo Ma and Silk Road Ensemble, Iranian kamancheh player Kayhan Kalhor, Syrian clarinetist Kinan Azmeh, Turkish composer and DJ Mercan Dede, and many other notable artists of the Mediterranean and beyond, the Berklee said.

Dogan was born in a village in the Kurdish province of Dersim in Turkey.

She grew up with the myths and poetry of the Alevites, a religious minority in which music plays an important role in passing along faith and tradition, the website noted.

Her music is based on these folk songs, many of them hundreds of years old, and focuses on the life and suffering of Kurdish people, and especially Kurdish women.

Her family fled from a then-intense warfare between the Turkish Army and Kurdish separatists to Istanbul in 1992.

While Dogan’s work helps preserve Kurdish folk oral traditions, she also blends the music of her heritage with modern Western styles to create a sound of her own.

A Turkish court banned one of her songs, Keça Kurdan (the daughter of Kurds), in 2005 on the grounds it incited Kurdish women to fight in the mountains, thus serving “terrorist propaganda.”

The ban has since been lifted.

The same song was central to another failed case in 2009 against a radio station which a Turkish prosecutor sued for allegedly “creating enmity among the public.”


Editing by Karzan Sulaivany