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SOAS Concert Series - From Istambul to Smyrma - Çiğdem Aslan
Istanbul-born singer Çiğdem (say Cheedem) brings an authentic voice and exquisite styling to the poignant songs associated with the Greek and Turkish diasporas created after the forced population exchanges in the early 1920s. Born out of hardship yet full of resilience and with a devil-may-care attitude this repertoire shares the music, lyrics and sentiments of rebetiko and Western Turkish styles; a heritage belonging to both communities. Çiğdem Aslan is one of few young female singers today focussing on an authentic interpretation of the tradition with a programme in both Greek and Turkish. A revival of interest in rebetiko today, not least in Istanbul, is one way in which two famously divided peoples are rediscovering their common history and culture - often in a side street bar over a strong drink and singing along to distant yet not-forgotten lyrics.