A Kurdish woman voice resonate in London 

Olcay Bayir is an Alevi Kurd born in Dîlok. Her family moved from Dersim. When she was 16, her father had moved to London due to political reasons. She has lived in London ever since.

She studied opera at Middlesex University in London and was involved in opera for a while. Although she was involved in opera for a while and was an opera singer, she became interested in Kurdish and Anatolian traditional music. She combines her knowledge of western music and opera. 

We can observe all these colours and harmony in her all albums. Bayir reinterprets Kurdish traditional music. She also writes her own compositions. There are Kurdish, Turkish, Armenian and English songs in her album. 

Olcay Bayir has recently released her new album. The name of her album is “Tu gul î”. Before her last album, she used to give her albums Turkish names, but in this album she gave a Kurdish name. There is a strong Kurdish effect on the album. In the album, Bayir has 4 Kurdish, 3 Kurmancı, 1 Zazaki. 

Husna”, “Edlê”, “Ay Dîlberê” and “Setero” are included in this album. As we know, “Husna” is a song from the Maraş region and belongs to “Garip Dost”, which we listened to years ago. This song is also sung by other singers. Bayir brings together her knowledge of opera music, Western music and Kurdish music in this song, as in others before it. Bayir’s orchestration can be seen not only in this song but in others as well, combining two sides of music. “Husna” is a musical lament about a girl named Husna who is forced to marry a man she doesn’t want. 

There is another song mentioning the tragedy of a girl like “Husna”. This song is Turkish and named “Ağ Elime Mor Kınalar Yaktılar”. 

Except for this song “Daha Senden Gayrı” Aşık Mı Yoktur?” Aşik Rûhsatî and “Ötme Bülbül” is in Turkish that are adapted from poems of Pir Sultan Abdali.

The album of Bayir includes the suffering of the Kurdish and Anatolian people, women and those who can’t raise their voices. Three Armenian songs are examples of this. Both in the  the origin of Bayir Dersim, Dîlok and around the city are the places where became home to Armenians like Kurds. With these 3 songs, Olcay Bayir shares the suffering of the Armenians who have been struggling with genocide for the past century.

Bayir makes listeners feel the pain of women in “Husnayê” and “Ağ Elime Mor Kinalar Yaktilar”, but also makes them happy with “Edlê”, which is dance music. 

Olcay Bayir uses her opera training and music knowledge in many ways.  

She works with some of the best Western musicians. Bayir is known in the London music world thanks to her choice of instruments, arrangements and interpretations of songs. The Guardian’s Robin Denselow called her one of the best and most interesting singers in London. 

The rise of Kurdish songs in her new albums show that she wants to turn her Kurdish origin and introduce this tradition first to London and then to the world. The “Tu gul î” album, released and distributed by ARC Music, is one of these steps 

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This article was translated by Betül Demir


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